Wade Park Oval
Cleveland, Ohio

After two years of community workshops and planning sessions, University Circle Incorported has begun construction on the Wade Oval Improvement Project. By next October, Wade Oval will have fresh greenery, a new performance space and a scenic walkway that promises to please old friends and attract new visitors to the heart of Cleveland's cultural district.

Wade Park encompasses The Cleveland Museum of Art, Fine Arts Garden, Wade Lagoon, the Cleveland Botanical Garden and Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

The project will entail construction of a subtle stage area built into the landscape, wider pathways around the park's perimeter, a wireless system with fiber-optic network compatibility, decorative light poles and more park benches, and drinking fountains and new waste receptacles.

An enhanced electrical system, a new irrigation system and new grass also are included.

Shaping the Future of University Circle, the UCI-lead strategic plan for the district, prioritized creating a more user-friendly pedestrian environment in the Circle. By making the area more welcoming, visitors will utilize more of the elements—museums, gardens, restaurants and shopping—instead of spending a few hours at just one institution, then going home. The first phase of CircleWalk—the plan to knit together the Circle’s many institutions with pathways, greenspace, public art, lighting, signage and more—was conceived to do just that. Because of Wade Oval’s strategic location and the opportunity created by the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s construction of the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse, Wade Oval is the initial focus and first phase of CircleWalk.

In late 2001 and early 2002, New York-based Project for Public Spaces (PPS) the preeminent public space planning organization in the country, conducted community workshops with neighboring residents, Circle institutions, and city officials. PPS incorporated many of the community's comments and ideas into a concept plan for Wade Oval (PPS Summary Report). MSi, a landscape architectural firm based in Columbus, has spent the last year translating PPS's findings and recommendations into a finished design for Wade Oval. While creating the design, MSi received assistance from the Wade Oval Advisory Committee, which, along with UCI, was made up of representatives from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Institute of Music, University Hospitals of Cleveland, City of Cleveland, Hessler Neighborhood Association, and Glenville Development Corporation.

Jan Moyer of MSH Visual Planners, designed the initial landscape lighting for Wade Park. Tec recently provided electrical engineering design and implemented the lighting program in the Wade Oval.