SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) — A new plan to redesign Cleveland’s historic Shaker Square is creating excitement and apprehension among residents and business owners.
“I love it here, I shop here, I live here, it’s convenient,” said Shaker Square resident Davon Bain.
In June, a design firm unveiled a concept to revitalize Shaker Square. It proposes more green spaces and open areas, but would also include closing part of Shaker Boulevard, which cuts through the middle of the Square.
“When you start to disassemble the major artery of commerce, you see failure,” said Brandon Chrostowski, founder and president of Edwins Restaurant.
Chrostowski is one of several merchants and residents opposed to closing Shaker Boulevard. He said even when the street is blocked temporarily for activities, it is harder for drivers to navigate the area and businesses lose money.
“It not only helps the business, it not only you know, keeps the side streets safer from cars speeding down it, it just keeps the place vibrant, we can build a great square around leaving it open,” he said.
Planners said they have spoken to more than 1,500 people about the design proposals.
They said right now, nothing is final.
“It would close just that small section of Shaker Boulevard, right there and make this more into a roundabout, take away the traffic signals and provide just some stop signs, it would ease the flow of traffic, it would actually make commuters, commuting time a little bit shorter,” said Tara Turner, senior director of development and communications for LAND Studio.
Turner said there will probably be another public meeting in the future. She added that designers may also meet with some of the residents and merchants that oppose the plan on a more personal level.
“If it is absolutely clear to us that the best way to make this be a transformational place would be to keep the road open, then that’s what we’ll do…we haven’t figured it out yet,” Turner said.
On Saturday, those who oppose the current proposal are holding a rally to make their voices known.
It will be held on Shaker Square is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Saturday near Edwins Restaurant.