LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS / Cleveland Heights City Council meeting highlights

JUNE 20, 2023 regular meeting

  • Public comment
  • Mayor’s report
  • Horseshoe Lake
  • Denison Park splash pad
  • Lead hazards
  • Other council actions
  • First readings, no vote
  • Council member comments
  • Committee of the whole

Present were Mayor Kahlil Seren, Council President Melody Joy Hart, Council Vice President Craig Cobb, and Council Members Janine Boyd, Tony Cuda, Gail Larson, Anthony Mattox, Jr., and Davida Russell. Also present were Addie Balester, clerk of council, and William Hanna, law director. The regular meeting ran 40 minutes. Including the Committee of the Whole, council met for two and one quarter hours. 

Public comment

A resident presented difficulties with neighbors including use of fireworks, speeding, loud music, and blocked driveways. He requested extra police presence, saying two visits from police had not solved the problems.

Dr. Brenda May spoke on behalf of Noble Neighbors to thank the city for declaring the former Hillside Dairy a blighted property and to urge a comprehensive, rather than a piecemeal, redevelopment plan for the Noble/Mayfield/ Warrensville triangle. 

A resident read a letter she had written to council about repairs at Cumberland Pool, specifically the baby pool, which has been closed since last summer, and both diving boards.

A resident praised the Juneteenth concert and celebration at Cain Park but declared her disappointment that Davida Russell was not permitted to speak, claiming a first amendment issue. The mayor responded that it was improper for the city or its representatives to use the Cain Park stage, or any city resources, to speak for or against any issue.

Mayor’s report

Mayor Seren thanked city staff for the first Juneteenth celebration at Forest Hills Park and reminded everyone of the Pride in the Park at Cain Park, June 24.

Horseshoe Lake

On first reading, council authorized amending the 2018 Stormwater Project Agreement with Shaker Heights and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) for rehabilitating the Shaker Lakes dams. The amendment will accept the NEORSD’s recommendation not to rebuild the Upper Shaker (Horseshoe) Lake Dam (as proposed in the 2018 agreement) and instead decommission the dam and return the lakebed to its naturalized state, including streams, non-invasive vegetation, plantings, trees, and other amenities (“Doan Brook near Horseshoe Lake Restoration Project”).

Denison Park splash pad

Council authorized the purchase and installation of a splash pad for Denison Park from GameTime through the cooperative purchasing program, total cost $476,418.18. The mayor thanked council for the opportunity to bring this amenity to the north side of town and spoke about upgrades at other city parks.

Lead hazards

Council amended “Lead Hazards” and other pertinent sections of the city code dealing with lead safe certification of rental dwellings built before 1978. Mr. Cobb recused himself because his wife’s lead testing business may create a conflict of interest for him.

Other council actions

Council approved a public services and improvements plan for the Coventry Village Special Improvement District (SID).

Council approved the 2024 Tax Budget. 

Council authorized an agreement with Cintas Corporation for paper products, mats, and cleaning and other supplies through the Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program for up to sixty months for approximately $25,000-30,000 per year. The mayor said this will standardize and streamline materials sourcing, thus saving money and keeping track of needs in all city bathroom facilities.

Council authorized an agreement with Gridics LLC to establish and maintain a zoning parcel record dataset for the planning and development department. This software will assist planning and zoning professionals with decision making and help developers do business with Cleveland Heights.

Using a consent agenda, council proclaimed July to be 2023 National Parks and Recreation Month and cancelled the July 3 and 17 council meetings for a city council recess.

First readings, no vote

Two items were presented on first reading with no vote. These will have a second reading at a special meeting of council on June 22, before the July recess:

  • Authorization to commit $1.5 million of the city’s ARPA funds to the Cain Park village Stramp Project. A stramp is a universally accessible pathway proposed to be located at the eastern end of Cain Park to take the place of the existing paved path.
  • An amendment of “Registration of Dwelling Structure by Out-of-County Owners” in the city code.

Council member comments

Ms. Larson reported the Municipal Services and Environmental Sustainability Committee spoke with the parks and recreation director about sidewalk snow removal and how to pursue funding and equipment. They are working on a program to reimburse homeowners for sidewalk repairs. The committee’s next meeting will be August 21, 10 a.m. 

Ms. Russell announced the next Commission on Aging meeting for August 2. She expressed reservations about the Cain Park stramp project. She spoke about the importance of voting on August 8 and noted that the council president had previously mentioned Issue 1, which will be on the August 8 ballot, in council meetings.

Mr. Mattox announced two Planning and Development Committee meetings in July.

Committee of the whole

Council met in executive session to consider the appointment of public officials and to discuss claims or disputes with an attorney.

LWV observer: Blanche Valancy

Meeting packets, legislation, and other information can be found on the city website at: https://www.clevelandheights.com/1142/2021-Agendas-and-Minutes 

Videos of council meetings can be viewed on the “City of Cleveland Heights, OH” YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/ClevelandHeightsOH

Read More on Cleveland Heights
Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 10:00 AM, 08.15.2023