CLEVELAND -- Positively Cleveland, the Convention and Visitors bureau for Greater Cleveland, LAND Studio and several community partners unveiled the first iteration of a beautification project incorporating the work of local designers and fabricators on Prospect Avenue near East 4th Street in downtown Cleveland's Gateway District.
The initiative, called Curb Appeal, calls for both short- and long- term physical enhancements throughout Downtown to improve the perception that nearby attractions are close and easily accessible by foot.
Curb Appeal furthers the nearly $3 billion investment in travel and tourism infrastructure development and demonstrates that a significant visual impact can be made with a relatively small investment to create a clean, friendly and seamless pedestrian experience.
The enhancements, which will visually connect the area between the Cleveland Horseshoe Casino, 5th Street Arcades and nearby attractions such as East 4th Street, include:
- The addition of 11 colorful planters along Prospect Avenue to brighten the streetscape
- The addition of two,custom-fabricated park,mobiles, located in the walkway between 5th Street Arcades and Quicken Loans Arena to create spaces for people to gather
- A 70-ft mural on the side of the Residence Inn Downtown, sponsored by Sherwin-Williams and designed by local artists, featuring a series of "spirographs" to add color and welcome guests to downtown's vibrant Gateway District
- A series of artwork in the May Co. building storefront windows, designed by a group of American Greetings artists, to celebrate this important landmark
"Our research tells us that the visitor experience traveling between our attractions is just as important as what happens inside the four walls of the attraction," said David Gilbert, President and CEO, Positively Cleveland. "We know Cleveland has world-class assets that provide a great experience for our visitors; we now need to make sure that the spaces between them provide a welcoming experience, too."
Enhancing Cleveland's public realm was one of six key initiatives aimed at improving the visitor experience identified at the 2011 Destination Cleveland Travel and Tourism Summit. The main takeaway showed that connecting the gaps between attractions empowers residents and visitors to explore the city when driving, walking or using public transit.
The importance of the on-street experience was highlighted in the perception research conducted with visitors and residents. The research showed that lighting, public art, greenery and improved conditions of roads and sidewalks can increase perceptions of cities as being clean, safe and welcoming.
The Prospect Avenue demonstration project was supported by $100,000 of in-kind and financial contributions from both private and nonprofit organizations including Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Historic Gateway Neighborhood Corporation, American Greetings, Medical Mutual, Huntington Bank, The Lucile and Robert H. Gries Charitable Fund, The Adcom Group, The Sherwin-Williams Company and The Residence Inn Downtown.
"We are thankful for the support and dedication of all our partners in helping to create a positive first impression for those who are visiting our city," said Gilbert. "We are not only changing the pedestrian experience, but also hopefully inspiring other Cleveland neighborhoods, districts, attractions and restaurants to enhance the spaces outside their front door, as well."
Plans for additional curb appeal enhancement projects will be announced at a later date.