Some of these ideas for improving Shaker Square are
almost without cost, others are "big ticket" items. All
but one have been
previously mentioned on these pages. So here they are, in no
1 - Early Bird Dinners
Dewey Forward tells me that the
Senior Wednesdays on the Square
promotion he and I started in 2008 is working well. (Zanzibar is the most recent place to sign on.)
That got me to thinking that thousands of persons
over 65 live around the Square, yet there is no
restaurant on the Square that offers an
incentive for older residents (or anyone, for that
matter) to come to dinner earlier.
It could be a different menu or a lower price.
Even simple practices such as including salad or dessert with
meals ordered before a certain time could increase
business, with the early diners leaving before the
after-work crowd showed up. (NIGHTTOWN has done this
quietly and successfully for years.)
2 - Promotion
We've never understood why almost all the Square's
promotions are large crowd events that bring families,
many with young children, to the Square - often at times
when our restaurants are
busy, parking is hard to find, and the stores are
Ads and promotions geared to holidays
Fathers Day and Mothers Day?
Shaker Square gift
Radio, television and
internet ads for the Square?
(Have you ever heard or seen one? I haven't.)
promotions, each week for a different quadrant of the
Square? Why by quadrant? So greater traffic at one
store might lead to more business at its neighbors.
(postscript: In November 2009 The Coral Company
announced that there would be no holiday tree-lighting.)
All Coral Company's Meters Should Give Free Short Term Parking
Early in 2007 the
Coral Company helped businesses on the Square when
it changed its 60 meters around the Square to give
free short-term parking.
But their parking meters behind the
northwest quadrant stores (Grotto, Subway, US Bank, etc) did not
change. Let's do the whole job and make them free for
short-term parkers too!
(Postscript: since that time the Coral Company has
doubled the parking meter rates and only about one in
four still offers a free 15 minutes.)
4 -Cleveland's Parking Meters Should Give Free Short Term Parking
Cleveland's parking meters along Shaker Boulevard east and
west-bound do not give free short term parking. We've
learned that no city meters do that and the city code
would need to change. That, it seems to us, would
benefit all of Cleveland's stores and restaurants: from
the Square to downtown and west to Kamm's Corners.
In September 2007 at SHAD's annual meeting,
Councilman Ken Johnson said he
was working on it. We're waiting Mr Johnson ...
but not patiently.
Sadly, in April 2015
the City of Cleveland changed its ordinances on parking.
Rates were doubled (they had not changed for about 15
years) and sadly, even though Councilman Johnson was
chair of the committee involved, THERE WAS NO PROVISION
FOR FREE SHORT TERM PARKING!
you know that Cleveland allows free
short-term parking? Two examples at
Playhouse Square at Euclid and East 14th, in
front in front of Starbucks and the
theaters, and also at Euclid and East 17th
in front of the Urban Studies Building.
Tale of Two Cities page we point out how 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 long-term revenues from
sales, property and payroll taxes. Or, said less
positively: avoiding long-term declines in tax
With the buildings on Van Aken almost empty, perhaps
Cleveland could replace them with parking.
The only new
investment at the Square is a traffic enforcement
6 - A
"Hot Line" Phone Number for the Square
Yes, we all 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 take out our mobile phones
and call a number -- but we don't know what number to
Each quadrant now has
a directory of stores and restaurants. How about adding
a Coral Company "hot line" number to these new
7 - A
Visitor Center for the Square
The University Circle
area plans to add nearly 1,000 units of housing over the
next several years. To help support that, they have
opened a Visitor and Living in the Circle Center on
Euclid Avenue near Mayfield Road. Would such a place be
great for the Square?
Have a look at their Center, then read our
Outdoor concert space
is fine, but to build community we need indoors, day and
evening, year-round space too. To learn more, please see
our page About Public
Spaces and Community. And whatever happened to the
$500,000 grant that the Cleveland Foundation made in the
fall of 2004 for improved public spaces at the Square?
There was a design competition, then silence.
9 - Let
Merchants Do Their Own Promotion
As we understand it, businesses on
the Square pay a monthly amount for promotion to the Coral
Company which spends their money (though frankly
we don't know on what). Change that practice.
Set up a separate promotion fund and let the merchants
control the spending. After all, the Coral Company is a real estate
developer, while many of the store owners and restauranteurs have
skills and experiences that can help the Square. They are nearly all
"locals": tough, smart, creative business owners.
We think this more
participatory, less paternalistic approach to marketing
the Square will get better results than what we've seen
in recent years. And when the Coral
Company sells the Square and leaves,
the businesses on the Square will be able to run the
Square's promotions themselves, like a real Merchants
branch library at the Square (new)
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. Why Shaker and not
Cleveland? First, the Cleveland Public Library has just
opened a new branch at Shaker Boulevard and East 116th
more... Second: Shaker Square and all who live
nearby pay our school property taxes to the Shaker Heights
City Schools, which includes support of the Shaker
Heights Library, and not to Cleveland. It need not, at first, be a big
commitment. Even a place to enter book and film requests
and to return loaned items would be a help, and they
could be in a cooperating business or, even better, in
our hoped for indoors community space.
See you on the Square.
August 8, 2009
9/14/11, 7/5/13, 2/17/14 and 4/23/14, 5/28/15