UH voters narrowly approve park bond issue

Voters in University Heights approved a $1.8 million bond issue to fund a new city park on the former site of the Fuchs Mizrachi School. By a vote of 1,688 (52.4 percent) to 1,531 (47.6 percent), residents narrowly passed the bond issue to fund the “constructing and equipping of a public park area and related improvements.”

The park bond issue is for a period of 15 years, and Mayor Infeld said it will cost homeowners $25 per $100,000 valuation—the same amount that UH residents have been paying to fund the construction of the Purvis Park pool 20 years ago. That bond issue will be paid off in December 2014.

Commenting on the bond issue’s passage, Infeld said, “I am very pleased that the community supported the establishment of a park at the former school site on Fenwick Road. A park will introduce a new community asset in University Heights and I look forward to seeing many happy people using the park in the future.

“Our next step will be to issue a Request for Proposals, for detailed drawings of the park, for inclusion in a bid package for contractors bidding on the park construction project. At the same time we will convene the citizens’ park committee for further definition of park features and selection of playground equipment, etc.”

Discussions about a park on the Fuchs Mizrachi site have unfolded since 2012, when the City of University Heights purchased the property for $600,000. At a March 2012 town meeting, the majority of residents in attendance indicated, by a show of hands, their support for purchasing the former school property to create a park. The next month, UH City Council voted 6-1 to purchase the former school, with then-Vice Mayor Frankie Goldberg abstaining, citing a conflict of interest. Subsequently, a UH citizen’s committee formed to determine the use of the property. The city paid approximately $230,000 for school building demolition and asbestos abatement.

In the month’s leading up to Election Day, the opinions of city residents and council members, as expressed at various city meetings, were divided on the park, with some saying that the park plan was being rushed, and others of the opinion that, after two and a half years, it was time for council to submit the issue to voters.

At its July 14 meeting, UH City Council passed a resolution, by a vote of 5-1, to put the bond issue before voters on Nov. 4.

Kim Sergio Inglis

Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer. She lives in the Shaker Farm Historic District in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 11:38 AM, 11.05.2014