Gazing into Dave’s Market’s Shaker Square-facing windows, you expect to view tasty treats. Instead, you see the rump-side of shelving. “The vendors and offices do what’s best for them internally, and don’t necessarily think about how to leverage the square,” says Wayne Mortensen, director of design and development for Cleveland Neighborhood Progress. Mortensen and Tiffany Graham, senior project manager for Land Studio, are part of a group that wants to change that dynamic. With $400,000 in funding, the group, along with landscape design firm Hargreaves Associates, is working on a new design that aims to make people use Shaker Square in a radically different way. The goal is to make the square work better as a gathering space for nearby residents and to complement the already-thriving businesses such as Fashions By Fowler and Dewey’s Fair Trade Coffee in the 100-percent-leased square. “If you’re coming to Shaker Square, you’re going to a specific place on the square,” says Graham. “There is a request for there to be some spaces in Shaker Square where you can bring your kids and just be in a public space.” After getting input from the square’s businesses, ownership and nearby neighborhoods, the group is set to incorporate the best ideas from those plans into a final proposal to be unveiled in June. Here’s what we’d like to see make the final design.
Close Shaker Boulevard
Commuters: don’t freak out. Closing this main artery sounds scary. But in exchange for taking a loop around the square instead of through it, you could get a brand-spanking-green stretch of park. The planners are looking at two different ideas for an ovular grassy patch that would stretch across the square’s southern end. Frisbee, anyone?
Connect The Dots
Put on your sneakers: we’re taking a walk. So far, all concepts include connector trails that would run north and south from the square down the grassy median of Moreland Boulevard to connect the neighborhoods south of the square to the Lake-to-Lakes Trail north of it. One concept would even create a north-south plaza straight through the square for seamless running, walking and biking.
Add A Stage
Shaker Square is already bursting with great events such as the Garlic Festival and North Union Farmers Market. In the summer, bands jam out to crowds in lawn chairs. But each event must contend with limited electrical hookups and temporary stages. One idea planners are considering creates a permanent stage with dedicated electricity, so the square can keep its events at full volume.
Your dinner at Edwins is over. Your full belly has lulled you into a Frenchified stupor. You get in your car and back out when, oops, where did that bus come from? You’ve been in this auto-menage-a-deux too many times before. One idea the designers are considering could cut down on such safety hazards by changing the square’s head-in parking spots to parallel ones.