The City of Willoughby has many assets, one of which is our lakefront. We are proud of the north end of our City and especially pleased with the recent improvements made in the area. Property owners along Lakeshore Boulevard near Lost Nation Road have been making significant investments, and these are stimulating others to do likewise.
Several years ago, J.T.’s Diner accomplished a beautiful transformation of an existing building into their relocated restaurant along Lakeshore Boulevard. The diner always noted for their excellent breakfasts and unique service has been a tremendous success. Recently Brandt’s Candies known for their exceptional handmade candies invested in a new storefront on Lost Nation. During a tour of their facility, Brandt’s owner, Barb Phillips, explained the care and attention that goes into each confection. This year, Jim and Charlotte Colwill completed a significant renovation to Charlotte’s Ice Cream. This extensive remodeling included both the interior and exterior of their store. Both Brandt’s and Charlotte’s utilized The City of Willoughby’s storefront remodeling grant program to assist with their projects. Another example of a north end improvement is the Sunoco gas station located at the intersection of Lost Nation and Lakeshore. This extensive renovation refreshed a worn corner property and is known as much for their exceptional hummus and corned beef sandwiches as their fuel.
Local community groups, including the Willoughby Lakefront Business Association, have also been working to bring events to the north end. They are the sponsor of the Osborne Park Market and Flea and Kathie Pinkerman has done an excellent job promoting this market. This market is every Wednesday from 4 pm – 7 pm through September.
The City has also been an active participant in the continued improvements to this area. The construction of Osborne Pool provided a catalyst to other park improvements including a new parking area with better access to the lake, a walking trail, a new play structure, and a new pavilion. This year’s improvements include new benches and electrical service for the recently completed pavilion.
Our lakefront, like many along Lake Erie, has been a recent victim of significant erosion. Our Service Department has investigated erosion control measures and costs associated with them. These costs, estimated at over four hundred thousand dollars, would represent about half of our annual capital budget. The capital budget is the fund we use to purchase police, fire, and service vehicles as well as pay for building maintenance. Furthermore, there are no other funding sources for erosion control measures. However, there may be a solution that will provide additional amenities for Osborne Park and residents as well as manage the erosion. The first is the creation of a Lakefront Special Improvement District (SID) with its ability to finance erosion control improvements, possibly over 30 years. The second is we have a unique opportunity to do a broader planning effort and include other park and lakefront amenities. We are reviewing our Osborne Park Master Plan for opportunities to couple erosion control measures with other park improvements which may provide other funding sources.
The lakefront is an important part of our community and we look forward to continued growth and success in this area.