Cleveland Civitism, or love of place.
We have heard Council President Kelley speak of the word, "Civitism" or "love of place" to describe how many Clevelanders feel about our great city. Whether you call Downtown home, or work here, or travel here, or visit here, this emotion fills us with pride when our local sports teams win...and bind us together when they lose. However, there are other landmarks and recent improvements that also fill us with pride, including the recently renovated Public Square.
It is through that lens of civitism that we write about last Wednesday's Cleveland City Council Transportation Committee meeting. We thank Council for calling the meeting to get an update on this issue as emotions have run high in the aftermath of the decision that Public Square will "remain closed to buses." Recently the Plain Dealer/cleveland.com came out in support of the closure while Cleveland Scene Magazine came out against. And there have been many heated social media exchanges between folks with the best of intentions that challenge our continued civic, and hopefully civil, discussion.
If you're not at the table, you're whats for dinner...
However, the importance of these last few weeks shows the glaring oversight in the lack of a community voice in the discussions when the design was originally proposed, despite all claims to the contrary. There would not be so much support for the decision to close the square had those voices been heard and recognized originally. Conversely, there would not have been a sizable protest last Saturday on the square vocalizing against the decision otherwise. Whether for or against, the community response plainly speaks to this issue.
We need to step back and get over ourselves. The fear of our organization is that the recent electoral process continues to fuel micro-aggressions between ostensibly opposing positions for reasons other than finding a productive purpose. The civil discussion has gone astray. But there is an opportunity for mitigating the consequences. What is certain is that if the the concern is safety of children in the splash pool/ice rink or if GCRTA is losing millions by adding additional minutes to go around the square, lets address those safety concerns and also mitigate, at a minimum, those expenses as soon as possible by working with the City on signalization to help relieve the congestion. The recent news that the City is working with a consultant on this last issue is helpful.
Let's get the redesign of the redesign right.
Now THAT is true love of place.