UH State of the City addresses University Square, recycling

Mayor Brennan presented this year's State of the City address at the University Heights Library on April 11.

University Heights Mayor Michael Dylan Brennan shared good news about University Square and curbside recycling, and proposed a year-round recreation facility, in his 2024 State of the City Address on April 11 at the University Heights Library.

University Square update. Early in his speech, Mayor Brennan recapped the recent news about University Square:

“Look. Perseverance and teamwork got this deal done. It doesn’t happen without that. As the old sayings go, ‘politics is the art of the possible,’ and ‘politics is about relationships.’ None of that happens without the relationships we have cultivated together: our team at City Hall, our partners in county government, and the school district, and our city council.”

In March, Target and Macy’s, the current shopping center ownership and the city of University Heights came to terms for the sale of University Square. As a result, the new owners may proceed with their 2019 plan for redevelopment, which includes over 200 new apartments, a renovated parking garage, restaurants, retail, and entertainment.

Construction should begin later this year.

Curbside recycling. The response to the new curbside recycling program has been very positive, and Brennan discussed the changes in detail in his address:

“This year, we will end the use of blue bags for recyclables. We will issue a wheeled cart to every household that requests one. We are obtaining an automated truck for curbside recycling collection.

“We will assist qualifying residents who seek assistance getting their cart to the curb. We will develop an education program for the new way to recycle in University Heights. We will increase our recycling volume and reduce our use of landfills. When Cleveland Heights implemented curbside recycling in 2022, it increased recycling by 70 percent.

“This is an opt-in program. Residents will not get a cart automatically. You must request one. There is no charge for this cart. You may request your cart on the city website.”

To opt-in to the program, go to www.universityheights.com/opt-in-to-recycle.

The future of Wiley. Mayor Brennan discussed the need and want for year-round recreation:

“To do that, we need a site, and there is no site more obvious than the former Frank J. Riley Middle School. . . .

“And what would the uses be? We know there is overwhelming demand for a community center, and Wiley has the space to meet the demand and fulfill it.”

Brennan said with two gymnasiums, an auditorium, and a cafeteria, the city could offer much of the desired recreation and more:

“We could offer indoor pickleball and basketball, offer year-round programming, a true home for the University Heights Symphonic Band, restore the home of the Heights Youth Theater, work with Gesu on its requests for practice and play space, have our own rain location for the city Summer Concert Series, and be able to provide the site for services and programming for seniors, youths, and all ages in between.”

Concert announcements. Brennan announced that Akron’s award-winning country band The Shootouts will headline this year’s Fall Fest on Sunday, Sept. 29, with special guests Yiddishe Cup. Additional entertainment will be announced soon.

In addition, the annual Summer Concert Series announcement video dropped during the mayor’s speech. The 2024 lineup includes Lauren Lanzaretta, Monica Robins and the Whiskey Kings, Crossfire Hurricane, Sunrise Jones, Radiate Live, Jason Patrick Meyers, and Carlos Jones & the PLUS Band. As always, the UH Symphonic Band will perform its two shows at John Carroll University.

“We. Not I.” Heights Poet Laureate Siaara Freeman kicked off the evening with an original poem about University Heights.

“A city is only as strong as a city’s hope,” Freeman said. “University Heights wanted to be more than Idlewood. And now, here we are—anything but idle and more concrete than wood.”

The complete text of Brennan’s address, as well as video of the speech, is available at www.universityheights.com.

Mike Cook

Mike Cook is the communications and civic engagement director for University Heights.

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Volume 17, Issue 5, Posted 10:03 AM, 04.19.2024