The View From City Council
April 5th City Council Meeting Rundown
Lakewood will be receiving $50.29 million in emergency funding from the American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden last month. We will discuss the possible uses for these funds at a future Finance Committee meeting. I am interested to know if these funds can be used for such things as mitigating the necessary future water rate hikes per our Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan, providing rent or down payment assistance, and providing home improvement assistance.
Director of Planning & Development Shawn Leininger, on behalf of the Administration, requested that Council formalize the Public Art Task Force as the Public Art Advisory Board. The Public Art Task Force was established in 2015 and subsequently provided guidance on the City’s public art strategy which resulted in the Spectacular Vernacular Public Art Program, numerous partnerships with local organizations, and the incorporation of public art in our facilities, parks, and streetscape projects. Formalizing the Public Art Task Force will ensure that we are able to continue to sustain the City’s public art program.
Mayor George informed Council that NOPEC awarded Lakewood $147,149 in grant funds to assist us in achieving greater energy efficiency and to expand energy infrastructure. We have previously used funds from NOPEC to replace streetlights with energy-efficient LED lights. A portion of these funds are from the Community Event Sponsorship Program and such funds will be provided to LakewoodAlive to support its Front Porch Concert Series.
Curtis Block Building Roof Repair
The City awarded Sibley Inc. a $40,000 contract to repair the roof of the Curtis Block Building. The contract is to be paid out of the Economic Development Fund. This necessary repair should slow the water infiltration, while the City continues to work with stakeholders to determine the best way to preserve the building. The City is currently working with CASTO regarding the building’s preservation, with the goal of preserving the building in its entirety.
El Arepazo Latino
It looks like the former Burgers 2 Beer location on Detroit Ave. is not going to be vacant any longer! El Arepazo Latino is planning to serve a mix of Latin foods starting at the end of May. To learn more, please read the recent Cleveland Scene article at https://tinyurl.com/6m28ewpn. I am excited to welcome this new addition to our community.
Kauffman Park Upgrades
The Planning and Development Department notified City Council that Cuyahoga County awarded the City a $50,000 Community Development Supplemental Grant to be used for Kauffman Park upgrades! This grant will be used to pay for a portion of the water pump feature and the picnic shelter. The Planning and Development Department has worked closely with the community for years and was excited to announce that construction of the new additions to Kauffman Park should begin this summer. The new additions include:
- replacement and relocation of the playground equipment, adding nature play elements;
- adding a water play feature (hand pumps and channels);
- adding a new picnic shelter;
- repurposing the grass blade decorative bike racks;
- adding a new 6ft asphalt path around the play area with pedestrian scale lighting;
- looping the existing water line to improve function; and
- replacing the asphalt path into the park from the parking lot with an ADA compliant concrete pathway.
Thank you to the Planning and Development Department staff and community members that made this all possible!
I was saddened, horrified, and furious to learn that another shooting occurred at Madison Park. Many of you have contacted me to share your concerns, fears, and recommendations on how to ensure that Lakewood remains a place where all feel welcomed and safe - thank you. I am heartened by the influx of engagement that has resulted from these events and am taking the time to carefully consider each and every recommendation I have received from community members.
I do not support the permanent removal of the basketball hoops as a solution to the recent criminal activity, as I have repeatedly stated. I have yet to be presented or find any evidence that there is a causal link between basketball courts and criminal activity, in general. Last week, Mayor George notified members of Council that it was Chief Kaucheck’s recommendation to temporarily remove the hoops. Mayor George shared the facts and circumstances behind this decision, and I found her explanation reasonable and appropriate. Unfortunately, I cannot yet share the reasoning behind this decision because it could jeopardize an ongoing investigation. I respectfully ask for your patience as the investigation continues and I am confident that, when appropriate, Mayor George will share why this decision was made.
Safety is at the very foundation of what makes Lakewood a place that we love and why so many aspire to live here. Councilmembers Sarah Kepple, Tess Neff, and I have submitted a communication to Council outlining how we would like to see this issue approached. You can find the communication at https://tinyurl.com/pv3jshpw.
Jason Shachner is the Ward 2 Lakewood City Councilmember. He is currently serving as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Lake County Prosecutor's Offices' Criminal Division. He can be reached at Jason.Shachner@lakewoodoh.net or at (216) 714-2150.
Jason Shachner, Ward 2 Councilmember
Jason Shachner is the Ward 2 Lakewood City Councilmember. He is currently serving as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Lake County Prosecutor's Offices' Criminal Division. He can be reached at Jason.Shachner@lakewoodoh.net or at (216) 714-2150. If you are interested in subscribing to the View from Ward 2 Newsletter please visit https://mailchi.mp/shachnerforlakewood/newsletter.