Public Square provides a unique event location for Cleveland that supports and enhances our diverse city. We further support the continual regional and national branding of Cleveland by connecting events that demonstrate the cultures, amenities, and perspectives of our community.
The Group Plan Commission is a non-profit civic-focused organization that programs, manages and operates Public Square in partnership with the City of Cleveland, LAND Studio, Greater Cleveland Partnership, and Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
The vision of the GPC is to create world-class public spaces that transforms downtown and the lakefront, while redefining how Clevelanders connect with one another and paving the way for future growth. Public Square provides a unique event location for Cleveland that supports and enhances our diverse city.
We further support the continual regional and national branding of Cleveland by connecting events that demonstrate the cultures, amenities, and perspectives of our community.
We promise that all details will be accurately completed to ensure a successful event, while providing exemplary customer service with personal integrity.
We strive to expand our public outreach for continual improvement through equal access to programs and events without bias to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.
Normally Scheduled Event Hours
Public Square is Closed 12:00 am (midnight) to 6:00 am daily.
Closed for events Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, and New Year’s Day.
Procedures for requesting an event in Public Square
A. COMPLETE THE “EVENT REQUEST FORM” to ensure the accurate and prompt processing of the reservation request. The reservation from may be submitted via our website here: EVENT APPLICATION
CLASS 1 EVENT
Evening and weekend events
General public will be in attendance
Admission fee or ticket sales is required for admission
Alcohol will be served
City of Cleveland Police are required for the event
Special requirements and/or services as defined by GPC are needed for the event
Events with specialized set up or audio/visual requirements as defined by GPC
Vendor information or Exhibitor Tables
Cleveland Foundation Skating Rink requests
D. CHANGES – Any changes to the original reservation request must be submitted a minimum of five (5) working days prior to the program.
E. CANCELLATIONS – The cancellation of a program must be done a minimum of three (3) working days prior to the program. Responsible parties will be held financially accountable for all charges that would have been incurred because of commitments made to facilitate the event if proper notice is not provided to GPC.
1. General Space Use
b. Make space decisions that are consistent with the GPC ’s Master Plan, Strategic Priorities, and/or other planning documents.
The Space Use Policy shall be applied in an impartial and consistent manner to all constituents. These procedures are applicable to all visitors to Public Square, with the expectation that while on city property all are required to adhere to the standards of conduct applicable to city ordinances and abide by all pertinent policies and city regulations.
2. Non-Discrimination Statement
GPC is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in all facets of business operations. No person will be denied opportunity be subject to discrimination in any project, program, or activity because of race, sex (including pregnancy, religion color, age, national origin, veteran and/or military status, genetic information, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital status, or parental status.
2. Space Requests
The ultimate responsibility for the event, and for all liability for any personal injury or property damage resulting from the event, rests with the external organization.
A rental contract may be completed only with fulfillment of the following conditions:
a. If the event is open to the public, the organization does not bar participation in the event because race, sex (including pregnancy), religion color, age, national origin, veteran and/or military status, genetic information, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, marital status or parental status.
b. GPC spaces may not be used in any manner to state or imply that the GPC is endorsing any message or position taken by the external organization.
c. The proposed event must comply with all GPC policies and procedures.
d. Non-Profit Organizations
e. A nonprofit association or corporation is defined as being organized for purposes other than generating profit, with no part of the income distributed to its members, trustee, directors, or officers. The nonprofit organization must provide a tax-exempt number prior to issuance of the Facility Use and Service Contract with GPC. The organization is responsible for all associated Direct Costs as outlined in Section I. General Policies.
4. Abandoned Property
Abandoned property is any product and or material(s) left behind by the Licensee, Contractor, or Attendee(s). Upon the event conclusion, any product that has been left behind and/or not picked up will be considered abandoned property.
GPC will make reasonable efforts to contact the owner of the property but reserves the right to dispose of property without liability. The Licensee shall be held liable for any fees incurred to discard abandoned materials.
5. Abusive and Destructive Behavior
6. Advertising and Promotion
7. Alcohol and Beverage Sales
GPC is the “front door” to the city and as such it is vital that all events are well-organized and reflect the best entertainment and community involvement that we can provide. These events benefit residents and business, creating a sense of local identity, uniting diverse groups and raising community awareness about the GPC.
b. Licensee Responsibilities
The LICENSEE agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the GPC and its trustees, administrator, officers, employees, representatives and agents from any and all claims, damages, losses, demands, actions, causes of actions, judgments, citations, violations, and any other costs or expenses arising from and related to the sale or furnishing of alcohol at the intended event, breach of any of warranties and /or representation, and violations of applicable laws. The LICENSEE is solely responsible for understanding and abiding by all state and local laws and regulations related to the use and distribution of alcohol.
The ultimate responsibility for the event, and for all liability for any personal injury or property damage resulting from the event, rests with the LICENSEE.
If at any time the organizer is found to be in violation of any alcohol related Laws/Ordinances, or City policies or procedures, all sales and/or consumption of alcohol will be stopped immediately up to and including eviction from the event site. If alcohol service is stopped, the service of alcoholic beverages will be closed for the remainder of the event time.
Neither the LICENSEE nor the dining service provider will receive any profit from the service of alcoholic beverages.
c. GPC Responsibilities
Service Area: Alcohol must remain within the clearly defined and fenced service area and may not be carried outside of this restricted area at any time. It is the responsibility of the organizer, GPC , and Police to ensure all guests strictly adhere to this policy. The area where alcohol is served or sold must be both monitored and actively managed in a manner to prevent alcohol from being provided, sold, served or obtainable to minors, guests who are at risk of over consumption, and to those not invited or included to/in in the event.
Service begin and end times will be clearly defined within the Space Use and Service Agreement, posted on the service bars, and will be strictly adhered to by all listed parties.
The exact location and number of entrances/exits will depend upon the size of the enclosed area and expected attendance and must be approved by the City of Cleveland Fire Department and GPC event staff.
GPC maintains appropriate and proper Liquor Liability Insurance and is responsible for any additional insurance coverage that is required for a unique event.
Containers: All spirituous liquor, wine, wine coolers, beer, or similar products MUST be served in plastic or paper containers (recyclable or compostable preferred) at the point of sale. NO glass or Styrofoam containers are permitted for any public event.
d. Pricing and Profit from Alcohol Sales
Pricing with the current listed rate will be outlined and defined within the Space Use and Service Agreement. Service pricing is not dependent upon an entrance fee, cover charge, registration, ticket entrance, donation, raffle, silent auction, or similar charges.
All profits from alcohol and beverage sales, whether through a cash or hosted bar, remain with the GROUP PLAN COMMISSION.
e. Security and Police for Events With Alcohol
City of Cleveland Police shall solely determine and control security arrangements for all events where alcohol is served, including but not limited to, the type, placement, and use of security personnel at the requesting organization’s cost.
Police have ultimate authority and discretion, in consultation with GPC administration, to shut down any unauthorized event, and/or any event that has not fulfilled necessary requirements, or any event where safety and/or security is threatened.
8. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
9. Amplified Sound
Amplified noise and/or music must be approved in advance by GPC. GPC reserves the right to require any group whose noise levels disturb another group within the property to reduce their sound to a reasonable level that does not disturb any other group. If you feel that your event will have high noise levels at any time (including bands, shouting, singing, or other noise), please notify a representative with GPC .
Sound levels are to remain compliant with, and are not to exceed, occupational noise standards set forth by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration [OSHA] throughout the duration of the event. The GPC reserves the right to establish acceptable decibel levels for amplified sound events, and reserves the right to interrupt and if necessary, terminate performances in order to remain compliant.
10. Animals in Public Square
All animals must remain on a leash at all times while inside Public Square. North East Ohio Regional Sewer District’s (NEORSD) sponsored program, “Pick Up Poop” (PUP) is strictly enforced within the area.
11. Cancellation of Scheduled Events (FORCE MAJUERE)
Any event scheduled by GPC may be cancelled by GPC due to: An unexpected event that either partially or totally destructs facilities, subject to acts of God, inclement weather beyond normally encountered conditions, war, terrorism, outbreaks of disease, epidemic, government regulation, disaster, fire, strikes, civil disorder, inoperability or reduction of availability of transportation service, unavailability of water, electricity, or other necessary utilities, or any other similar cause beyond the control of the parties making it inadvisable, illegal, or impossible to facilitate the event on Public Square.
12. Commerical Sales, Informational, or Sampling Tables
Sampling is defined as the free distribution of a commercial product or souvenir. Distribution of alcohol or tobacco products is expressly prohibited. The distributed item must be appropriate, be procured through a safe method of distribution, and not be in conflict with existing contracts with GPC.
13. Concealed Weapons Law
14. Damaged Public Square Property of Equipment
Any damages to the Public Square property should be reported immediately to a Public Square representative, or an Ambassador from the Downtown Cleveland Alliance.
The Licensee shall be responsible for reimbursement to GPC for all repair and replacement costs arising from negligence or abuse by the organization. The non-compliant organization shall be responsible for reimbursement to GPC for all repair and replacement costs arising from negligence or abuse by the organization.
The GPC is not responsible for the loss of any decorative materials, displays, gifts, favors, or other items left behind at the event conclusion.
16. Diagrams and Dimensions of Event Space
17. Drones, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
UAS Pilot Operators must adhere to the following:
a. Out of safety concerns for guests and visitors to Public Square, as well as concerns for individual privacy, GPC prohibits the operation or use of UAS/drones by the general public, including recreational users and hobbyists.
b. Regardless of flight purpose the GPC must receive and approve an “Event Request Form” 30 days in advance of the requested event date. It must include the payload function, size, and weight.
c. Operators must provide a copy of their insurance coverage when submitting the Event Request Form.
d. UAS/drone operators must hold a valid FAA remote pilot certification.
e. All UAS/drone flight operations must be conducted in accordance and abide by all FAA Part 107 regulations.
f. The contractor must agree, as a part of its contract, to indemnify and hold GPC harmless from any liability stemming from personal injury or property damage arising from the contractor’s UAS/drone operations.
g. Access points or any devices that might interfere with Wi-Fi located in Public Square are prohibited.
h. Fines or damages incurred by individuals or units that do not comply with this policy will not be paid by GPC and will be the responsibility of those persons involved.
In accordance with City of Cleveland Ord. No. 330-16
a. Anyone who launches, operates, or causes to be launched or operated, any unmanned aircraft system within the limits of Cleveland, Ohio, must be able to present, immediately upon request by any member of the police or fire force, a current certificate of aircraft registration issued by the Federal Aviation Administration for the unmanned aircraft system.
b. No person shall launch, operate, or cause to be launched or operated, any unmanned aircraft system in any airspace within or over:
1. A five (5) mile radius of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport;
2. A five (5) mile radius of Burke Lakefront Airport; or
3. Any area of the City of Cleveland that the Federal Aviation Administration Determines to be a restricted area, either by way of a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), Temporary Flight Restriction, No Drone Zone, or other means.
c. Division (b) of this section shall not apply to any person who has previous approval
(Ord. No. 330-16. Passed 4-25-16, eff. 4-27-16)
490.99 Violation; Penalties
Whoever violates division (a) of Section 490.03 of this chapter is guilty of a minor misdemeanor. Whoever violates division (b) of Section 490.03 of this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on the first offense, a misdemeanor of the third degree on the second offense, and a misdemeanor of the second degree on the third and any subsequent offense.
All violations will be forwarded to the Federal Aviation Administration and reviewed for possible violations of federal civil and criminal statutes.
The Department of Public Safety will enforce and ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter.
(Ord. No. 330-16. Passed 4-25-16, eff. 4-27-16)
18. Electrical Services
19. Expressive Use - Free Speech Policy
2. Maintaining the personal security of all persons present on Public Square and protecting the property of Public Square.
b. The free speech area is located at the Speaker’s Terrace, south side of the Moses
The GPC recognized the constitutional freedoms guaranteed by the United States and Ohio constitutions, including freedom of speech, press, and assembly. The GPC also recognized she need to preserve and protect its property, employees, and visitors to Public Square, and to ensure the effective operation of the business and related activities of the GPC.
c. Expressive activities on GPC property may be subject to reasonable regulation with regard to the time, place, and manner of the activities. The GPC employees will not consider the content of expressive activities when enforcing this policy. No policy can address every possible activity or situation that may occur on GPC property, and the GPC reserves the right to address such situations as circumstances warrant.
d. Expressive activities carried out under this policy shall not be considered to be a speech made by, on behalf of, or endorsed by the GPC.
e. During normal business hours, or if the area is currently in use for an official GPC event, amplification may be restricted if it unreasonably interferes with GPC normal activities or noise ordinances are violated.
f. Prohibited Activities
1. Any event or activity that significantly disrupts the ability of the GPC to effectively and peacefully provide Licensee services or conduct any of its other business and support operation is prohibited. Examples include but are not limited to, excessive noise, impeding vehicle or pedestrian traffic, and conduct otherwise unlawful.
2. No activity may damage GPC property. Prohibited actions include but are not limited to driving stakes or poles into the ground, affixing items to a building, and attaching anything to sidewalks, paved areas, or any part of any building, structure or fixture. Leaving trash, litter, materials or pollutants in any area is prohibited.
3. Any person in violation of the Free Speech Regulations may be subject to an order to leave GPC property, and subject to intervention with City of Cleveland Police.
20. Fire, Pyrotechnics, Open Flames
The use of pyrotechnics will be coordinated through the GPC, in conjunction with the Cleveland Fire Department and a licensed pyrotechnic vendor.
Organizations disregarding this policy will be subject to immediate termination of their event by the GPC.
21. Food Sales, Donations
All donated food must be processed or prepared in a licensed food service operation, or in an establishment or place, meeting equivalent requirements of the Ohio Department of Health.
A letter of donation from the licensed food operator must accompany the Event Request Form.
Any type of gambling on Public Square is strictly prohibited.
23. Insurance Requirements
c. GPC is not responsible for, and has no liability to the LICENSEE, LICENSEE’S agents, employees, contractors, members, guests, participants, attendees or spectators for any loss, theft, damage, personal injury, delay, annoyance, inability to hold the event as planned or other casualty, and LICENSEE hereby waives any claim against GPC for any such liability, except to the extent that such liability, loss, or damage is determined to be due to the negligent acts or negligent omissions of GPC, its agents, employees, contractors, or subcontractors while acting within the scope of their employment, as set forth in Ohio Revised Code 2743.02.
24. Irrigation Service
25. Minors in Public Square
It is imperative that minors be supervised appropriately to keep them healthy and safe while visiting Public Square. All programs and activities that involve minors fall within the scope of this Policy including: programs sponsored by the GPC or third-party entities, at all Public Square locations. Program sponsors shall understand and comply with all requirements of this policy.
This commitment reflects the GPC ’s adherence to its mission, to its various policies supporting its mission, and to relevant state and federal laws. Within that commitment, they place high importance on creating a secure environment for children. To that end, the GPC has adopted a comprehensive policy for child protection and reporting of child abuse, as well as procedures on mandated reporting requirements.
Anyone who contracts to use GPC spaces for an event that includes interaction with children, including without limitation Public Square staff, volunteers, and representatives, as well as third-party vendors and their employees, representatives, or volunteers, shall carefully review and abide by this Policy and procedures regarding child protection and the reporting of child abuse.
26. Parking Requirement
27. Pavement Loading and Weight Restrictions
ALL vehicles are expected to follow the Public Square Pavement Loading Restriction Guide and are not permitted to park on grass or walkway area(s).
A copy of the Pavement Loading Restriction Guide is available here for DOWNLOAD.
28. Photography for Special Events
29. Police and Event Security
Their decision will be based upon, but not limited to, the category of the event as described in the Space Use Policies, alcohol on premises, number of attendees, expected attendance, previous history, or an admittance fee.
City of Cleveland Police have ultimate authority at their discretion to shut down any unauthorized event, and/or any event that has not fulfilled necessary requirements, or any event where safety and/or security is threatened.
The Downtown Cleveland Alliance maintains a staff of Clean and Safe Ambassadors throughout Public Square between 7:30am and 11:30pm. Ambassadors are available to assist with any incident or question your attendees may have. Ambassadors also have an open line of communication to the CPD.
The rental/use of Public Square does not include costs associated with Event Security. The GPC may coordinate Event Security personnel on an exclusive basis, and the expenses will be passed on to the Licensee.
30. Political Program and Activites
GPC spaces may not be used in any manner to involve the GPC as endorsing a partisan political position, avoid the appearance of institutional endorsement of a particular issue, candidate, or political party.
31. Prohibited Items in Public Square
Lumber larger than 2” in width and ¼” thick, including supports for signs
Metal, plastic, or other hard material larger than ¾” thick and 1/8” in wall thickness including pipe and tubing
Any air rifle, air pistol, paintball gun, blasting caps, switchblade or automatic knife, knife having a blade two and one-half (2-1/2”) inches in length or longer, cestus, billyclub, blackjack, sword, saber, hatchet, axe, slingshot, BB gun, pellet gun, wrist shot, blackjack, metal knuckles, nun chucks, mace, iron buckle, axe handle, shovel, or other instrumentality used to cause property or personal damage
Any dangerous ordinance, weapon, or firearm that is prohibited by the laws of the State of Ohio
Any explosives, explosive device, or incendiary device
Fireworks and rockets
Sound Amplification Equipment
Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems
Containers of bodily fluids
Mace, Pepper Spray or another chemical irritant
Umbrellas with metal tips
Any projectile launchers, such as water guns and water cannons
Rope, chain, cable, strapping, wire, string, line, tape, or any similar material, in lengths greater than 6’
Glass bottles, ornaments, light bulbs, ceramic vessels, and any other frangible container, regardless of whether the container holds any substance
Locks including, without limitation, padlocks, bicycle locking devices, chain locks or similar devices, but not including: an integral component of a conveyance or structure; locks when utilized by the owner of private real property to secure permanent or temporary fencing; or locks attached to a bicycle
Any gas mask or similar device designed to filter all air breathed by the wearer in an attempt to protect the respiratory tract and/or face against irritating or noxious gasses or other materials. This prohibition on gas masks shall not apply to any person wearing a medical oxygen mask that fits over the nose and mouth of the person and provides oxygen from an oxygen tank to the person
Tents and other shelters, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, mattresses, cots, hammocks, bivy sacks, or stoves
Coolers or ice chests
Backpacks and bags exceeding the size of 18” x 13” x 7”
Non-plastic containers, bottles, cans, or thermoses
Grappling hooks, sledgehammers, hammers, and crowbars
Handcuffs, including flexible handcuffs
Any other item determined by the Chief or Director to be a clear and present danger to the safety of others.
The prohibitions of this section shall not be applicable to:
Persons possessing an item listed above when the person or his/her employer maintains a place of employment within the Event Zone; and, the possession of said item is in the normal course of the person’s licensed business or employment and to be used within place of employment;
Persons possessing an item listed above when the person resides within the Event Zone; and (ii) the possession of said item kept and used within the person’s residence;
Law enforcement personnel or other local, state, or federal government employees possessing a prohibited item in the course of their authorized duties; and,
Any licensed medical professional in the performance of their medical duties.
”Public Access Areas” shall mean any space in the Event Zone, excluding spaces designated as the Secure Zone, that is open to access by the general public, including Streets, Sidewalks and Public Grounds.
It is unlawful for any person, with the intent to obstruct the public’s ability to freely move about on rights-of-way, sidewalks and other areas to which the public has access, to possess or place any tool, object, instrument, or any combination thereof, that is adapted, designed, or intended to be used for obstructing the public’s ability to freely move about on rights-of-way, sidewalks or any other area to which the public has access.
This shall include, but is not limited to, tripods, bipod, pole, any sections of pipe or containers filled with or wrapped in weighted material such as concrete and/or containing handcuffs, chains, carabiners, padlocks, road stars, or other locking devices.
32. Recorded, Live Presentations
The Licensee is responsible for all fees due to ASCAP/BMI, SESAC, etc. for recorded or live musical performances.
33. Recreational Devices
34. Rental Equipment Expenses
Requested equipment that is not in GPC’s inventory will be rented from an approved rental contractor. The Licensee is responsible for all affiliated rental equipment costs, which will be reflected within the contract.
35. Revoking Event Reservations
GPC may revoke approval for use of any Public Square the area is misused, or any of the provisions of the event procedures are violated. Future applications, or facility reservations already scheduled, will not be approved if the organizations’ scheduling privileges have been revoked for misuse.
All sign/banner placement requests for Public Square property, must be approved by GPC prior to placement. Signs, decorations and related materials may not be taped, wired, tacked, stapled, nailed, or afﬁxed in any manner, without prior approval.
No solicitations or collections are permitted on Public Square, whether for charity or otherwise, without written permission from GPC. This also includes the sale of any type of merchandise.
38. Special Use Permit
Special Use permits may be denied or revoked when the property authorized under the permit is used for any purpose other than the permitted function, when there has been a violation of these regulations, or when the Director of Public Works determines that the proposed activity is not in the best public interest.
39. Tent Installation and Placement
Anchoring or drilling into any area of Public Square is strictly prohibited. The placement and location of event must be approved by GPC.
40. Tobacco, Smoke Free Area
Tobacco use, including the sale, advertising, sampling and distribution of tobacco products and tobacco related merchandise is prohibited on all GPC grounds.
Access our planning tools to learn more about the steps you'll need to complete to host an event in The Square.