CLEVELAND — A lot can happen in a decade. People measure those changes in so many ways: births and deaths, marriages and divorces, graduations and new jobs. Cities measure those changes in buildings erected and landmarks lost, trees planted and felled, residents who moved in and left. By those standards, it’s been such an eventful decade in Cleveland that visitors who return to the city after a 10-year break may not realize they’re in the same place.
1. Innerbelt Bridge
The changes are evident in all aspects of Cleveland life, starting with the venue by which most visitors get their first glimpse of the city, the Innerbelt Bridge. At the start of the decade, the span was falling apart. Weight and safety concerns forced the temporary closure to truck and bus traffic. Construction on the new spans began in 2011. ODOT built two bridges with five lanes each so traffic could continue to flow during construction. The bridge that eventually carried traffic westbound opened in 2013. The eastbound opened in 2016. Demolition of the 1950s era bridge occurred in 2014 and included a controlled demolition of a portion.
2. Hilton Hotel, Convention Center
Once visitors arrive downtown, much of what they’re seeing has changed in the past decade. In 2009, the Cuyahoga County Administration Building was located on the corner of Ontario and Lakeside. It was adjacent to the outdated Convention Center, whose malls were no longer able to host large events. Now a Hilton looms over the site of the Administration Building, and the new Convention Center has already played host to thousands of journalists during the 2016 Republican National Convention and to baseball fans from around the country for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game with the mall above hosting outdoor games and concerts during that event.
3. Public Square
Just blocks away, Public Square is virtually unrecognizable and the old Higbee Building has a new purpose after sitting vacant for decades. The redesigned Public Square opened in time for the 2016 Republican National Convention, and it now offers a respite of green space in the heart of the city, in 2018 earning accolades as one of the best public spaces in America. Meanwhile, the Higbee Building, which sat vacant for years, is now home to the Jack Casino. The casino opened in 2012 under the name the Horseshoe Casino.
4. Sports stadiums
The 2010s saw Cleveland’s first sports title in 50 years when the 2016 Cavaliers brought home the NBA title. The decade also saw the Cavs, Indians and Browns upgrade their stadiums by removing seats and focusing on creating a more fan-friendly environment. Fans who got used to seeing the Cavs at The Q had to get used to a name change from Quicken Loans Arena to the RocketMortgage Field House.
Even more change could be in Cleveland’s future. The city is in contention to be one of the first in the country with a Hyperloop, which would get people from Pittsburgh to Cleveland in nine minutes and Cleveland to Chicago in 30 minutes.