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NEWS: Green commitment in Cleveland’s Public Square renovation improves drainage, manages stormwater

UPDATE 2015 03/09: It all begins today. Roads closed officially at 6:00 a.m. this morning. This story took a closer look at some of the green-infrastructure components of the work that will take shape under and on the surface of the Cleveland Public Square renovation scheduled for completion in 2016.

On October 2, Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District Trustees approved a $3 million installment grant for the Public Square Renovation Project, a contribution that will increase the square’s greenspace and sustainability.

“Public Square is the heart of Downtown Cleveland,” said Julius Ciaccia, Executive Director of the Sewer District. “We’re excited to be able to connect our clean water work to the makeover of this historic, popular and heavily traveled area.”

The Public Square Renovation Project includes a $7 million investment in green infrastructure, which will remove approximately 3 million gallons of stormwater from the combined sewer system annually. Visible features will include additional trees, permeable pavers, and stormwater planters.  Below grade, a rainwater harvesting system will collect run-off to be used for all on-site watering needs.

RELATED: Road closures and detour routes associated with Public Square renovation

“As it exists today Public Square is 60 percent hardscape,” said Frank Greenland, Sewer District Director of Watershed Programs.

“The new design increases greenspace on Public Square by 30 to 40 percent, and 35 percent of the area will be permeable for stormwater. This will help reduce the amount of flow coming into our Westerly and Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plants.”

This investment complements the Sewer District’s Project Clean Lake program, which is designed to reduce annual combined sewer overflow volumes—a combination of sewage and stormwater discharging into the environment—from 4.5 billion gallons to 500 million gallons.

“The transformation of Public Square is an investment in our core infrastructure that will redefine downtown Cleveland,” said Jeremy Paris, executive director of the Group Plan Commission, a 501 (c)(3) organization established by the City of Cleveland and its partners to guide the renovation and long-term programming, operation, and maintenance of the restored Public Square. “The design is built around sustainability and underscores the importance of green infrastructure. A collaborative civic partnership has driven this effort. We are thrilled to add NEORSD as a lead partner that will help make this vision of a greener Cleveland a reality.”

In addition, the Sewer District and the Group Plan Commission will coordinate clean-water messaging and programming throughout Public Square.

“Investments in projects like Public Square Renovation give our organization an opportunity to share its clean water message,” said Constance Haqq, Sewer District Director of Administration and External Affairs. “We’re excited to have such a public forum to convey the work we’re doing to keep our Great Lake great.”

DOWNLOAD: Below is a copy of the presentation LAND Studio and the Greater Cleveland Partnership co-presented at our Board meeting this afternoon.

RELATED: Key Bank Foundation also recently announced it is contributing $4 million to the makeover project.

    Comments ( 2 )

  • Anonymous

    How can the public sewer district justify paying for this project? Don't commercial projects pay for their own sewers? Does public square have a current sewer problem? Please lower our rates by $3 million instead.

    • One of our major investments right now is Project Clean Lake, a 25-year $3billion program to reduce combined sewer overflow pollution in Lake Erie. This project will reduce sroenwater-runoff contributions to the combined sewer system in Cleveland where most combined sewer overflows take place.