Ten Ways to Improve Shaker Square

Some of these ideas are low cost, others are "big ticket" items.  Here they are, in no particular order.

1 - Security

To change the widely-held perception that the Square is unsafe it needs a greater police presence, better lighting. more alarm boxes and more cameras. Cleveland, in its own interest, needs to spend more and invest more.

2 - Promotion

Aside from the North Union Farmers Market, a great boon to  the Square, there has been a decline in large crowd events. No problem there. Night-time events brought crowds to the Square when parking was hard to find and the stores were closed.  Here are some promotion possibilities:

  • Ads and promotions geared to holidays such as Fathers Day and Mothers Day

  • Shaker Square gift certificates

  • Radio, television and internet ads

  • Saturday daytime promotions, each week for a different quadrant. More traffic at one store might lead to more business at nearby stores.

  • Early-bird dinners. Thousands of older persons live around the Square, yet none of its restaurants offers an incentive for them to come to dinner earlier.

3 - Free Short Term Parking

Cleveland's parking meters along Shaker Boulevard east and west-bound, like those all the way west to Kamm's Corners,  do not offer free short term parking. Changing the city code in that regard would help all of its stores and restaurants.

The meters on Coral Company land - there are 60, all around the Square - were changed in 2007 to give 15 minutes of free parking. It was a boost. But in 2012 the rates doubled and most stopped offering free short term parking.

4 - More Parking

Shaker Heights helps local businesses with free short-term parking and small parking lots, and Cleveland does not. Cleveland Heights also offers free short-term parking and parking structures at Coventry Village and on Lee Road.

How about it Cleveland? The payback: collecting more from sales, property and payroll taxes. Said differently: avoiding long-term declines in tax collections.

5 - A "Hot Line" Phone Number

We know to call 911 when we see something that needs immediate police, fire or EMS response. But what do we do if we see something on the Square that we think is messy, wrong, dangerous or broken? Many of us who see the Square as "our space" would be glad to call a number -- but we don't know what number to call. Each quadrant now has a directory of stores and restaurants. How about adding a "hot line" number to these directories?

6 - A Visitor Center

The University Circle has a Visitor and Living in the Circle Center on Euclid Avenue near Mayfield Road. Would such a place be good for the Square?

7 - Community Space

Indoors, day and evening, year-round space can help build community. See our page Public Spaces and Community.

8 - A Merchants Association

Businesses on the Square (some may be exempted) pay a monthly amount for promotion to the Coral Company. We suggest setting up a promotion fund controlled by the business owners. Nearly all "locals", they are smart, creative men and women. We think returning to a merchants association format will get better results. When the Square changes hands, its businesses will continue running its promotions, hiring the talent needed.

9 - A Special Improvement District

In 2016 there was talk about a Special Improvement District (SID) for the Square. That's a way a defined area can assess an additional tax on its property owners and direct how those funds are spent. (FYI, Coventry Village has a SID.) I've heard that the Coral Company is open to the idea.

10 - A Library "Outpost"

When this page was posted it had only nine suggestions and we invited visitors to submit a tenth. Here it is.

Have a branch of the Shaker Heights Library at the Square. (The Square and many streets around it, while in Cleveland, are in the Shaker Heights City School and Library District.)

It need not be a big commitment. For a start, a safe place to pick up and return books, video and audio items would help. It could be in a cooperating business or, even better, in our hoped for indoor community space.

How and when did Shaker Square, in Cleveland, become part of the Shaker Heights City School District?  Click here.

See you on the Square.

Arnold Berger

August 8, 2009
updated 9/11, 7/13, 2/14, 4/14, 5/15/, 8/18, 1/19

 
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