We are finally seeing good news as the summer season begins. As we continue to manage the COVID-19 crisis, we are planning for our economic recovery. Our community has shown incredible support for our local merchants, bars, and restaurants through these challenging times. As we work towards an economic restart, we encourage all our residents to continue to shop and eat local. Our economic development team is working with local businesses to ask what assistance we can provide to help stimulate activity. This is being accomplished in harmony with the Governor’s economic recovery/re-entry recommendations and includes our Lakefront District, Downtown and other area businesses.
For the past three months, we have been attending twice-weekly virtual meetings with the Lake County Health District and Lake County. These meetings initially focused on the management of the pandemic, coordination with our local healthcare providers and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE). They included all Lake County Mayors and Managers, and we had a live discussion with Governor DeWine. When it was apparent that the pandemic would not overburden the healthcare system, our discussions shifted to economic recovery strategies. These included the opening of public facilities, including our pools and the senior center, the start of our summer recreation programs such as sports leagues and camps, and other summer events. The challenge we continue to face was the limited guidance on these issues given the lack of experience with a crisis of this type and magnitude. As we receive updates, we will add them to our website, and we encourage everyone to visit it frequently, as it is the official source of City information. Many of the summer events have new dates, and website will be an important guide. You will notice, we updated and refreshed the website for an improved experience. We hope you enjoy the new format.
Last month recognized the retirement of Police Chief Jack Beckwith. City Council honored Jack with a resolution that noted his distinguished 28-year career as Patrolman, Detective, Detective Sergeant, Lieutenant, Patrol Commander, and in 2012, Chief of Police. Jack’s dedication, honesty and work ethic cannot be overestimated as he maintained the reputation of our department as one of the finest in the State of Ohio. Jack followed in the footsteps of his father who was a former Willoughby Police Chief. With Jack, Detective Sergeant Derrick Stewart retired after 26 years, and Patrolman David Scott retired after 25 years of service.
With Jack’s retirement, we are pleased to announce the promotion of Jim Schultz as our new Police Chief. Jim was born and raised in Willoughby and joined our department as a Patrolman in 1993. His 27-year career includes achieving the ranks of Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Lieutenant and Detective Lieutenant. Jim attended Northwestern University, is a graduate Bowling Green State University and the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. With Jim, other promotions include Sergeant Jim Lessick to Lieutenant, Patrolman Chris Scozzie to Sergeant and Patrolman Mike Fitzgerald to Sergeant. Congratulations to all and thank you for your service.