Organizations working to redesign Shaker Square showed their refined plan for the Cleveland business district to more than 200 people during a public meeting June 30 at Atlas Cinemas.
The design, which is not necessarily final, calls for a realignment of Shaker Boulevard that would direct east-west traffic around the perimeter of the square. Organizers presented a traffic study with data showing the realignment would add 16 seconds to the trip, though Tara Turner, senior director of development and communications for LAND Studio, one of the organizations leading the redevelopment talks, said a trip might take less time because the plan calls to replace the stoplight with a stop sign. She described public reaction to the plan at the June 30 meeting as “a mix.”
“It was optimism and a feeling of comprehensiveness, like we’ve done our due diligence in this process, which ... we feel good about, as well as some mixed feelings about what the realignment of Shaker Boulevard might do to the area and the skepticism that goes along with that,” she said. “I would say it was, overall, positive.”
The realignment of Shaker Boulevard will allow for more green space on the square. The plan also calls for new parking garages behind buildings on the square; a multi-use, north-south walkway through the center of the square; play areas, including a splash pad for children; barriers to prevent cars from ramming into the square; and better lighting and traffic control to improve safety.
The unveiling of this more refined redesign plan follows a series of public meetings in February that presented four options for the 90-year-old square’s makeover. Shaker Square is owned by The Coral Co., whose president is Peter Rubin. Also involved are Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, a community development funding intermediary that invests in community revitalization work in the region, and national architecture firm Hargreaves Associates.
Turner said the next step in the process will be for the organizations to continue to have discussions with community members to further refine the design. She estimated the implementation of any design would start in 2020 or 2021 and in the short term, the organizers plan to add holiday lighting and murals to the square. She said there are no dates yet for the future discussions, but encouraged people to engage with the organizers on Twitter at @ThisIsSHSQ or on Facebook @shakersquarecleveland.
“If we don’t continue to listen to the community and make a place the community wants, nobody is going to use it,” Turner said. “We want to make something we know the community will use.”