Rust already in Public Square renovations? Executive Director responds

Posted at 4:39 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 20:42:29-04

There are questions being raised about the new Public Square project in downtown Cleveland and the quality of work being done. We received an anonymous tip about possible rusting already happening, so we went digging for answers.

The director of the project said it's not true but we wanted to show you the video we obtained that outlines the concern.

The Public Square renovation is a $50 million project that's been months in the making.  Everything is being redone to make it a brand new, inviting area for people to enjoy.

The tip said that there's rusting happening around the benches on the east side of the project. The video we obtained shows line after line of stains on the base of the benches. There are so many lines right where the metal portion of the benches attach to the wood.

We asked Jeremy Paris, who is the Executive Director of the Group Plan Commission that oversees the renovation, to go on camera and explain what the stains are. He sent us this statement:

“As we undertake the final stages in the transformation of Public Square in partnership with the City of Cleveland, the Group Plan Commission is focused on ensuring that the quality of the work and materials on the project are protected not just now, but for years to come.  The benches installed on pre-cast concrete in Public Square have been treated with a material to protect and seal the wood. This is an essential part of ensuring its long-term durability.  As part of a managed process, after the wood is treated, some of the material will temporarily bleed onto the concrete. The concrete will be cleaned throughout the process.  We are completing this procedure as one of the final stages of construction before Public Square opens to Clevelanders.”   

We sent pictures of the video to local experts with the iron workers and the carpenters unions here in Cleveland. Both questioned what materials were used, but declined to say for certain what they thought the stains are.

Paris told us a gentle cleaner will be used to wash off the stains completely before public square opens again which is slated to be sometime before the Republican National Convention.

We are going to stay on top of this so that if you see staining like this when you come for a visit, you can let us know if it's similar to what you've seen in our report.