March 2024

article as printed in the March 2024 Willoughby Times

We are happy to report that our transformational projects continue to move forward. Last month, design team members, including the Chagrin Watershed Partners, The Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management, and the administration met to review field observations and discuss design alternatives. Funds awarded to the city from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate-Ready Coasts Initiative were used to purchase the 105 acres of riparian habitat along the Chagrin River. Once restoration efforts to ensure environmental sustainability and resiliency are completed, the property is intended to be a passive park and trail. As the design for this significant community asset progresses, team members will present their ideas for public review and comment.

As mentioned last month, we have submitted for State and Federal funding assistance for our second project, Osborne Park. The first phase of this work includes slope stabilization and installing erosion control measures.

We recently completed the schematic design for our renovated Willoughby Police Station. The process was lengthy and deliberate, with every group within the department involved in designing their spaces. The result is an efficient design meeting both regulatory standards and the needs of our police department. The renovated building will provide ample training facilities, a state-of-the-art dispatch center, a jail facility meeting current detention standards, and adequate spaces for our detective bureau, administration, and patrol officers. We are now evaluating the budget and looking forward to reviewing the project status at a City Council Meeting. The following steps are to complete the design development and working drawings. We hope to begin bidding on the work by early fall.

Two Leviton Level 2 CT40000 dual port (connector plug J1772) electric vehicle charging stations have recently been installed at the City Hall parking lot near the United Methodist Church. These charging stations can accommodate up to four electric vehicles and are now available for public use through the ChargePoint App on their smartphone. We are still working to identify an appropriate charging cost per kWh, which will be determined by usage. Electric car parking is only allowed while charging; no overnight (3 am-5 am) parking is permitted. The city was awarded a grant from the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) for the dual point pedestal stations, the 200-amp 120/140-volt service, and installation. The City of Willoughby is pleased to offer our residents and visitors this convenience. While charging, we hope you will take the opportunity to experience historic downtown Willoughby and Todd Field.

The city was recently awarded a second grant from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) for additional Level 2 charging stations and two Fast Charger Ports (DCFC). We are closely monitoring installation and maintenance costs as we expand this service.

In closing, please remember that April 8th is the Solar Eclipse. Willoughby will be sponsoring a Solar Eclipse Watch Party at Osborne Park from 1:00 to 5:00, where we’ll have music, food trucks, and 600 free pairs of solar eclipse glasses, distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.