There is a move to bring a new vibrancy into Cleveland’s Public Square and push away dullness at the center of the city.

A nationally-known architect, James Corner, unveiled what he had been working on at the request of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on Thursday.

Under the plan, the square would become largely a green space with the square-dissecting Ontario Street blocked at the heart of the city. Superior Avenue, however, would continue to split Public Square.

I am a fan of the proposal. I have long looked at the Boston Common, which that city calls the anchor of its system of connected parks that wind through many of the Massachusetts city’s neighborhoods. Although Cleveland’s Public Square is only one-fifth the size of Boston Common’s 50 acres, the plan to add more greenery, making it more pedestrian-friendly, should certainly be supported.

Mayor Jackson has been a vocal supporter of the project that would carry a $40 million price to build. Although plans call for more trees throughout a new square, the money does not grow on trees.

“There is still work to be done, including securing the funding,” said Maureen Harper, Jackson’s chief of communications.

In the late-1950s and early-1960s, when I was a youngster growing up in Cleveland, downtown pulsed with activity. In those days, three major department stores, Higbee’s Halle’s, May Company and Sterling Lindner Davis, were major retail anchors of the area. When the city’s population was double what it is now, Cleveland and its square, was the center of activity in Northeast Ohio. As the suburbs began to grow and city residents left the city, the big downtown department stores went with the population.

The downtown Cleveland sidewalks that had been filled with people, shoulder-to-shoulder, as I remembered them during my youth, became less so.

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