Game Plans

There was a focus on development projects around CLE this past week.  Some sound positive, battles are being fought over others.

Seeing plans for the Flats East Bank is good.  As often mentioned, our waterfronts remain one of the biggest sources of potential that is always somehow missed.  I remain cautiously optimistic, but past failures there do stick in the memory.

For Public Square, the center of debates on renovations for some time now, a new proposed layout has been shared.  This one will shut down Ontario creating two rectangular halves instead of four separate quadrants.

Out of all the plans that I have seen for the Square, I dislike this one the least.  It’s better than those presented a couple years ago by far.  I like the idea of the play fountain and public performance spaces.

Some reason, every plan for Public Square falls short of the picture in my head.  This coming from someone with little knowledge of landscape architecture.  My problem might be trying to picture it as Millennium Park of Cleveland, when it will have to be its own thing.  Whatever happens, I hope that space can become what its name implies, a place for Cleveland’s public to enjoy together.

Of course most of the focus lands on the casino, whether for purposes of the skywalk or the questions over the planned phase two.

I didn’t like the idea of the casino before it was built.  Since opening, I’ve been happy to see it drawing foot traffic to Public Square.  I’ve not been inside, but casinos aren’t my thing.

What bugged me in the lead up and still irks me now, the feeling that Rock Gaming will try to run things around town; that they want to be catered to.  That doesn’t fly for me.  This is Cleveland, not Horseshoe Cleveland.

How soon after planning started did they ask to change the river?  The same river that our commerce flows through.  Now that they are trying to buy the Higbee building, will they still feel like building the second phase, or was that all smoke?  Bottom line, I don’t trust them.

I’ve never been big on Dan Gilbert.  Maybe because he’s not a native Clevelander.  I don’t know.  But there is something about him that makes me question whether his motives are for Cleveland’s best interests.

During the campaign for the casino vote, he appeared on Sound of Ideas to defend his plan and views for the casino.  The entire time, he cited examples from his native Detroit, how the casinos provided all these benefits.  We all know how well Detroit is doing.  To me, it all sounded like empty promises of a great new hope for Cleveland.  And many people ate it up.

The casino is there, so be it.  But I don’t really expect to see phase two built any time soon, if at all.  I also don’t expect Rock Gaming to keep the city in mind unless it satisfies their business plans.   I only hope the city keeps that in mind.

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