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History, Group Plan Commission

Speakers Terrace in Public Square
Speakers Terrace in Public Square

The Group Plan Commission is a non-profit organization with a long history.

By developing and linking signature public space, the Group Plan Commission is reshaping the heart of Cleveland. Take a look back at the history of our organization that spans more than a century.


On August 17, 1903, famed architects and planners Daniel Burnham, John M. Carrere and Arnold R. Brunner – the original Group Plan Commission – presented “The Group Plan of the Public Buildings of the City of Cleveland,” or Group Plan of 1903, an iconic vision that has shaped the heart of our city for more than a century.

Based on the designs of great civic centers in Paris, London, Vienna, and Florence, The Group Plan called for “no little plans” and outlined the development of a series of public spaces flanked by the city’s major civic and government buildings.

Cleveland’s leadership, including then-Mayor Tom L. Johnson, embraced the concept and quickly moved forward with implementing the vision.

This helped spur a downtown renaissance that redefined Cleveland and propelled the city into a period of accelerated growth that would last more than a half-century. A CENTURY LATER

More than a century later, as Downtown Cleveland prepared itself for new growth and investment, Mayor Frank Jackson appointed a new Group Plan Commission (GPC) to update the Group Plan of 1903 for the 21st century. This Commission was charged with reimagining our signature public spaces and connecting catalytic developments such as the Flats East Bank, Cleveland Convention Center, Global Center for Health Innovation, and the Horseshoe Casino. Its 2011 report articulated a bold yet achievable vision for several compelling projects to transform Downtown Cleveland for today’s Clevelanders and for generations to come. The three priority projects are The Mall, Public Square, and a Pedestrian Bridge.

MOVING FORWARD The physical revitalization of Public Square Square is complete, and work is on-going to maintain The Mall.

Programming and activation of both spaces also continue.

The Commission has prioritized the construction of a pedestrian bridge which is the key connection between Downtown and the lakefront.

Working with partners including the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and LAND Studio, GPC has brought together public, private, and philanthropic resources to complete these projects, complement the $3 billion in development in Cleveland’s Downtown core since 2010 and spur an additional wave of transformational development.


DOWNLOAD | Group Plan Historical Brochure

2.a. Group Plan Historical Brochure
Download 8X14 • 1.11MB



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