Public Square Foundation
In the 1970s, urban planner Lawrence Halprin brought his imaginative renewal ideas to Cleveland. Halprin recommended turning Euclid Avenue into a pedestrian mall and remaking Public Square into a more park like space. Iris Vail, wife of Plain Dealer publisher Thomas Vail, and others of The Garden Club of Cleveland women held a “Beautification Ball” in the Arcade in 1975 to raise $100,000 to finance a specific blueprint for the square. They hired Don M. Hisaka of Cleveland and Sasaki Associates of Massachusetts to design the new Public Square, but then decided they did not like his minimalist, modernistic vision for the space. Instead, they spearheaded a more traditional park-like redo of the northeastern quadrant as a demonstration. Over the ensuing decade, Public Square was remade quadrant by quadrant as city, county, state, and federal funds, along with Cleveland Foundation and Garden Club monies--in all $12 million, augmented the original $100,000 raised by The Garden Club of Cleveland.