The city's plans for improvements to Public Square began in 1999, when it applied for its first grant to help with funding. By late 2002, the city applied for additional grant money. The grant money totaled half of the project's projected cost, the city then funded the remainder of the project. Initial scheduling of the project had work starting in Fall, 2003 and completion by Spring 2004.
By 2003, it was clear that the project would not begin on schedule. The majority of the grant money awarded to the city was tied up in a federal highway bill, which had become a political wrangle between Congress and the Bush Administration. Until the bill passed, any grant money the city was awarded was not paid. The city then chose to delay the project until all of the funds were in place. Before construction even began, two factors had already increased the cost of the project. The cost of repairing the fountain, which was vandalized in 2002, and the indecision of what to do with the decaying Iron Block buildings. While waiting for funding to come through, much of 2004 was spent wrangling as to the buildings' fate, as well as a redesign of the project to include or not include the buildings. The city eventually decided to demolish the block, which added to the cost of the project. The demolition took place in early 2005.