Public Square renovation to wrap up in 1 year

Published: Jun. 3, 2015 at 6:24 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 3, 2015 at 8:08 PM EDT
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The major project costs $32 million. (Source: WOIO)
The major project costs $32 million. (Source: WOIO)

DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - June 1, 2016 is the hopeful completion date of the $32 million Public Square renovation project. With 364 days to get it done, we checked on where the project stands now.

"Taking full advantage of the days," says Jeremy Paris, executive director of

, which is leading the project for the city and county. "Everything is on schedule to be done a year from now, in time for the

. It's funny, it's a year out now."

The work that's happening now is less than exciting. A ton of underground utility work has to be completed now that the old square has been ripped up. Utilities and duct work that hadn't been touched in decades is now replaced. Once that's completed, it will be time to start turning the square into a walkable pedestrian park with performance space, gardens and light retail.

Now let's talk about funding. The last major piece of that pie fell into place just recently when the County Council voted to use TIF funding for the project. That's money that was earmarked to be spent on the upkeep of the Higbee Building over the next few years. Instead,

, which is the parent company that owns Higbee and runs the casino, wanted to be good partners and let that money leave the Higbee Building to go straight into Public Square to the tune of $7.5 million.

"We have the resources we need to get the job done at the world class way we want it to be done. We're still out there making sure we have the capacity for maintenance and programming to make sure it's successful generations out," said Paris.

What they mean by programming is they're making sure they have money in place to not just open the square and walk away, but make sure they can have events and things to do year 'round.

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