LISTER, JAMES M. (9 March, 1907-September, 1983) was born in Cleveland and grew up in Twinsburg and LAKEWOOD, graduating from Lakewood High School. He earned a B.A. degree from Harvard University and both a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in landscape architecture from Cornell University. In 1935, he was honored with the Prix de Rome award in landscape architecture and pursued advanced study for two years in Europe.
Lister began his professional career in 1937, working on the planning for the New York World's Fair, and then returned to Cleveland in 1938 to join the staff of the City Planning Commission. In 1945, he became the Head of the city's Freeway Planning Bureau and in 1948 the Commissioner for Design and Construction. His work helped shape the early right-of-way decisions and designs for Cleveland's SHOREWAY and other freeways. From 1949 to 1956, he served as Director of the City Planning Commission.
In 1956, Lister was appointed by Mayor CELEBREZZE as Cleveland's first Director of Urban Renewal and served in this capacity until 1966. During those years a great many important things happened in the redevelopment of the city's neighborhoods, UNIVERSITY CIRCLE, and downtown Cleveland, and Lister was in the middle of most of those decisions. Under his vision and leadership the ERIEVIEW Urban Renewal Project was undertaken which laid the foundation for the revitalization of the downtown.
During his 28-year career with the city, Lister served under Mayors FRANK LAUSCHE, THOMAS BURKE, Anthony Celebrezze, and RALPH LOCHER, advising them on development matters.