I’d like to start this month’s report with a THANK YOU to our residents for your overwhelming support of Safety Services Levy. This levy will provide the funds to renovate the former Meister Media building into a new home for our Willoughby Police Department. It will also provide needed funds for capital equipment and improvements for both our Police and Fire Departments.
With the passage of the tax levy, we’ve already issued a letter of intent to purchase a new ladder truck for our fire department. This vehicle costs about 1.4 million dollars and will take two years to build. The truck replaces a 26-year-old truck that has reached its useful life. We’ve also interviewed architectural firms that will assist in renovating and expanding the Meister building. As the planning for our new station moves forward, we will include progress updates on our website.
We are also pleased to announce that Willoughby has received a 1.7 million grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to purchase 105 acres along the Chagrin River from Andrews Osborne Academy. This acquisition requires the city to establish a conservation easement on the property, ensuring the land will never be developed. Along with other grants totaling about 4 million dollars, Willoughby will start the Chagrin River Trail project connecting Daniel Park to Todd Field, including the creation of wetlands, vernal pools, and other sustainable measures to help improve water quality for the Chagrin River. We have selected the SmithGroup as our design consultant to help plan this exciting addition to Willoughby.
Along our lakefront, we continue to focus on Osborne Park improvements. We are hoping for a grant that will provide additional funding for planning. We are also working on assembling the funding for phase one improvements, including erosion control measures, repairing the failed slope, and native habitat restoration.
The much-anticipated Dukes N’ Boots is now open, and the reviews have been very positive. At the grand opening, Michelin-starred chef Dante Boccuzzi stated that of his ten restaurants, he had never seen such a positive and welcoming response from a community. The menu is a departure from his other establishments and features what he describes as “glori-fried chicken.” Dukes N’ Boots is another great addition to Downtown Willoughby’s continued focus on fine dining and entertainment.
Finally, we want to remind everyone of a few “good neighbor” behaviors. One is to remember to keep all dogs leashed when in public spaces. Some adults and many children are nervous around pets they are unfamiliar with. Also, if your pet has an accident, please clean up after them.
We also encourage our residents to follow city ordinances regarding the use of equipment and tools during early morning hours, the disposal of grass clippings and yard waste, and property maintenance in general. These ordinances are meant to enhance our property values and maintain the quality of life in our city.
We are looking forward to an exciting and entertaining summer!