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Cleveland City Council passes legislation to remove concrete barriers from Public Square

The city says the project will make Public Square 'more accessible to pedestrians' by changing safety measures while 'improving the aesthetics of the square.'

CLEVELAND — Cleveland City Council voted on Monday evening to remove the concrete barriers that have been at Public Square since 2017. 

The legislation allocates $1.5 million for the city’s share of the cost of the estimated $3 million improvement project. Council says the city and the Group Plan Commission will work with public and private entities to provide the additional needed funding. 

The plan was first introduced by Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb in March, but has been on his agenda since his campaign last year. The project seeks to make Public Square "more accessible to pedestrians" by changing safety measures while "improving the aesthetics of the square." 

The concrete barriers will be replaced by what Bibb's office calls "modern and removable bollards," which are cylinder posts that are positioned for safety purposes. Planters will also be installed. 

Council's vote to remove the barriers ends a five-year-long controversy that was a source of political football in the city of Cleveland. As Mark Naymik recently chronicled, the barricades were dropped on Public Square just after the space underwent a $50 million makeover in time for the Republican National Convention. 

Former Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson tried to keep busses off the square by blocking Superior Avenue. But federal transportation rules forced him to keep the roadway open to busses. Then Jackson, citing new Homeland Security concerns, ordered the installation of the barriers and concrete planters around the square to block vehicles from potentially jumping the curb.

They have remained there ever since.

3News' Mark Naymik and Ryan Haidet contributed to this story

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