Lead pipe replaced, baseball fields revamped: Our Towns

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Nearly two dozen Cleveland Heights homes will have their lead pipes replaced with copper, and Lakewood revamped its lakefront ball fields.

Here’s what else is happening around Northeast Ohio:

Cuyahoga County

BRECKSVILLE/BROADVIEW HEIGHTS: The Brecksville-Broadview Heights Community Band and Community Chorus will perform joint summer concerts Monday at the Brecksville Human Services Center, 1 Community Drive, and June 10 at the Broadview Heights Recreation Center, 9543 Broadview Road. Both shows start at 7 p.m. Admission is free.

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS: Water lines will be replaced for free at estimated 22 homes on North Park Boulevard. Residents recently learned that their current water lines may be made of lead. They will be replaced with lines made of copper. Cleveland Water officials assured any affected customers that “first and foremost, our water is safe,” even in lines that predate 1954, the year the city stopped installing lead. Cleveland Water recently sent letters to affected residents. “Our records indicate that (your) property may have a water service line that is made from lead or galvanized steel,” the letter stated in part. “While we take actions to keep drinking water safe and protect customers from the risk of lead, we know that any amount of lead presents a risk. Which is why we are proactively working to replace lead service lines free for our customers.” Crews are expected to soon start work on the replacement lines. Once work begins, it may take three or four weeks to replace all of the lines.

EAST CLEVELAND: The group Jazzkeepers will perform in concert at 4 p.m. today at the Greg L. Reese Performing Arts Center of the East Cleveland Public Library, 14101 Euclid Ave. Jazzkeepers features accomplished vocalists Evelyn Wright and Mike Cady, Dr. David Thomas (piano), Kip Reed (bass), Chris Burge (saxophone) and Bill Ransom (drums). Doors open at 3 p.m. Admission is free. Seating is limited. Information: call 216-541-4128.

LAKEWOOD: Renovations have been made to the Lakefront Field baseball field along Lake Erie. “It’s a heavy-usage field not only for our youth activities but with everything that’s been going on in Lakewood Park,” said Leslie Favre Krogman of the Lakewood School District. “It needed a little love, so we went in, leveled it, flattened out the infield and kind of regraded everything. We put in a couple of different base distances to not only accommodate in-house programs but travel (teams) as well. It really looks awesome. We have a new infield material that we put down.”

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS: Polaris Career Center has been awarded a DeWalt Grow the Trades grant to enhance five Polaris skilled trades programs. The grant will fund new tools and equipment for Automotive Technology, Building Services and ground Maintenance, Construction Trades, HVAC/R and Welding Technology. Polaris was selected as one of 70 organizations to be supported by the DeWalt grants through Stanley Black & Decker. The Polaris enterprise includes Polaris High School, practical nursing training, adult education, off-campus programs and more with a focus on career technical education.

NORTH ROYALTON SCHOOLS: Fifteen North Royalton and Broadview Heights residents have applied for a vacant position on the North Royalton School District Board of Education. The seat was left empty when board member John Higgins resigned, effective May 20, to take a job in Cincinnati. The board, under district policy, has until June 19, or 30 days after Higgins’ resignation date, to select a replacement.

OLMSTED TOWNSHIP: Township Trustee Tom Cole revealed during the trustees’ recent State of the Township address that the new Nature Preserve and Dog Park will open June 29. Located on 30 acres at 27180 Schady Road near Sharp Road, the dog park will consist of two fenced areas: a two-acre site for large dogs and a one-acre location for dogs under 30 pounds. The roughly $900,000 project includes the dog park, a walking trail around it and a parking lot. A $300,000 Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant helps cover the cost.

PARMA: The city has received another $475,000 from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) to help pay for the second phase of the Krueger Avenue sanitary sewer project. NEORSD contributed $1 million last year to Phase 2, an endeavor estimated to cost $2 million that will construct new sewers on Krueger Avenue from W. 48th Street to W. 44th Street. The work is in its beginning stages and is expected to be completed near the end of the year. The three-phase Krueger Avenue sanitary sewer project began with the now completed first segment between W. 48th and W. 54th streets. The final phase includes adding 4,000 linear feet of new sewers linking to State Road. Construction is scheduled to begin next spring and last for more than a year.

SOUTH EUCLID: City engineer Anthony DiRenzo said that delays should be expected when the Dominion gas line replacement project begins on Mayfield Road Monday. Work will be done on the north side of Mayfield Road from Belvoir Boulevard east to Sheridan Road. “During working hours, there’ll probably be one lane (of open traffic) in each direction,” DiRenzo said. “And then, hopefully at the end of the (day’s work), the road will be opened up to full traffic. They may shut down one westbound lane, which will be the curb lane, the northernmost lane on Mayfield, just to store equipment.” DiRenzo said that the contractor hopes to complete the job before school starts in August.

SOUTH EUCLID-LYNDHURST SCHOOLS: Dominick Kaple will become superintendent of the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Schools District Aug. 1. He will replace Superintendent Linda N. Reid, who will retire after serving 12 years in the job. City Council surprised Reid with a resolution thanking her for her service during its recent meeting. She introduced Kaple, who has worked for the district for several years, first as principal of Memorial Junior High, and currently as an assistant superintendent.

WESTLAKE: Bocce ball is now being offered free of charge at Westlake Community Services, 28975 Hilliard Blvd. The center welcomes participants who will need only to check in upon arrival. Sessions run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesdays are dedicated to females, Wednesdays to mixed groups and Thursdays are specially arranged for beginners. Participants of all skill levels are welcome, including those who desire instruction.

Geauga County

AQUILLA/CLARIDON: Aquilla Village officials are discussing the possibility of the village dissolving its status as an independent corporation and rejoining Claridon Township, the Geauga County Maple Leaf reports. Aquilla residents could be asked to vote on the matter in the November election. “We are just discussing the possibilities,” Village Council member Libby Savel said, explaining that talks are in the beginning stages. The major issue driving the discussion is whether the village can maintain sufficient revenue to cover its expenses. Aquilla Village is located in Claridon Township. In 2021, Village Council voted to separate from Claridon and create its own entity largely for tax revenue purposes. Geauga County Commissioners granted the village request for the separation.

Lake County

PAINESVILLE: The city recently opened its new dog park and splash pad at Kiwanis Recreation Park, the News Herald reports. City Council President Jim Fodor said that Recreation Park is “becoming a central place for not only Painesville but the surrounding area as well.” The dog park includes a small dog area for those under 25 pounds and a large dog area for those that weigh more. Rules are located at the entrance of each section. The splash pad includes water coils, dump buckets, water arches, jet sprays, water shooters, an orbit spray, a sprin brella and a water worm. Funding for the dog park and splash pad came from sources including the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, NatureWorks grants, the Painesville Community Improvement Corporation and the American Rescue Plan Act.

PAINESVILLE TOWNSHIP: The city will build two pickleball courts and a new playground at Clyde C. Hadden Park, the News Herald reports. The work is expected to be finished by the end of summer or early fall. Township Trustee Gabe Cicconetti said that the township has received “many requests” for the pickleball courts. “Pickleball’s popularity has exploded, and we are happy to be able to provide a local space to play the sport,” he said.

WILLOUGHBY HILLS: The city is requesting funds to help put sidewalks on its west end around the Chardon Road commercial area, the News Herald reports. If approved by the Lake County Planning and Community Development Department, the Community Development Block Grant request would go to the county commissioners for final approval. The grant would cover $349,225 of the $451,725 total project cost. Willoughby Hills would pay the balance. The proposed sidewalks would be built on Chardon Road from the Richmond Heights border to Bishop Road. Within the grant application, the city expressed the need for sidewalks by citing safety concerns for senior citizens, people with disabilities and children who use the roadway.

Lorain County

LORAIN SCHOOLS: Lorain City School District Treasurer Tia Kearney recently reported to the Board of Education that projections show the district will be more than $81 million in the hole in five years, the Morning Journal reports. She showed that while revenue decreases from $130 million in 2024 to $91 million by 2028, expenses increase from $112 million in 2024 to $129 million by 2028. The district may need to ask voters to pass a levy to provide funding. “We’ll be making some recommendations as to what the next steps would be on a levy,” Lorain Schools Superintendent Jeff Graham said. “Our financial situation is real, but it’s also part of the natural flow of a school district. I’m optimistic. We have a very engaged community, but we have to be respectful to our taxpayers. We’ll be evaluating programs that were implemented due to COVID and look at what worked and what didn’t. We’ll look at what we can afford, and we’ll come up with a plan.”

NORTH RIDGEVILLE: With the recent adoption of the Ridgeville Ready Master Plan, city officials have embarked on a process to modernize the city’s planning, zoning and subdivision regulations to ensure that future development meets the goals of the city and its residents. The city is asking residents to participate in a survey that will allow them to share their priorities and preferences for the regulations that will guide future development in North Ridgeville. To take the survey, which is available through June 16, go to nridgeville.org and click onto the link at “North Ridgeville Zoning Code Community Survey.”

Medina County

BRUNSWICK: Sunday at the Farm, the outdoor market sponsored by the Brunswick Area Historical Society, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday from June 9 to Oct. 6 at Heritage Farm, 4613 Laurel Road. The market will feature various produce items, baked goods, homemade jams, crafts and more. Tours of the farmhouse will be available. Information: go to facebook.com/SundayAtTheFarm or call 234-803-4753.

HIGHLAND SCHOOLS: School District Superintendent Catherine Aukerman is confident that the district will not need to make major changes to its student transportation practices, the Gazette reports. The district has taken measures to correct a shortage of bus drivers. “(It) was dire circumstances because we have 10 drivers that are retiring and at the time, none in the pipeline,” Aukerman explained. Highland Schools recently held a Drive a Bus Day, giving people the chance to test-drive a school bus with the goal of hiring those who qualified for the work. Also, the district has attracted the interest of potential drivers with incentives such as a $2,500 signing bonus and paid training. Three drivers are now being trained for the job and Aukerman said others who attended the Drive a Bus Day are interested in applying. “We have narrowly avoided any major changes (in student busing) for next year,” she said.

MEDINA SCHOOLS: The City School District Board of Education has voted to place a 7.5-mill, 10-year emergency operating levy on the November election ballot. The decision comes after voters rejected a proposed 6.5-mill continuous operating levy paired with a 2.83-mill bond issue last November, then rejected a proposed 7.5-mill continuous operating levy in March. Board member Rebecca Parkhurst said that the board will need to go into the community and educate residents on the needs of the district and how school funding works. The board has recently made $4 million in cuts across the school district.

Portage County

RAVENNA: The city will hold its 225th Anniversary Celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, The Portager reports. The downtown event will include food trucks, musical entertainment, promotional items, a meet-and-greet with Mayor Frank Seman and City Council, a time capsule that will be buried to mark the anniversary and more. Ravenna was founded June 11, 1799. The celebration will be held in conjunction with Main Street Ravenna’s Art on Main event, a free art and music festival from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. downtown.

RAVENNA SCHOOLS: The City School District has hired Kristen Plageman to fill its vacant treasurer position, the Record-Courier reports. Superintendent Laura Hebert said Plageman will start on the job July 15. Plageman has been director of strategic initiatives for the Parma City School District since 2019. The search firm that helped Ravenna find Plageman, Finding Leaders and the Educational Services Center of Northeast Ohio, is now working with the Board of Education to find a new superintendent. Hebert recently announced that she plans to retire in July.

Summit County

AKRON: Brian Harding was sworn in as the city’s new police chief Tuesday. He had been acting police chief since January, when former chief Steve Mylett retired. After being administered the oath of office by Mayor Shammas Malik, Harding said his primary goal as chief is to foster meaningful relationships with residents. “Regardless of what community you live in, your voice matters, and your concerns will be heard,” he said. “Building these relationships is just not about earning trust, it is about creating a shared vision for a safer, more prosperous future. … Each member of the Akron Police Department family, every community member and all our stakeholders play a vital role. Let us move forward together, united by a shared purpose to create a safer, more inclusive community.”

COPLEY: Township Trustees have voted to prohibit all types of cannabis-related businesses in the township, Akron.com reports. Ohio voters passed Issue 2 last November, legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. Trustee Scott Dressler said Copley’s prohibition does not affect the legality of personal-use marijuana. State law, however, allows municipalities to ban recreational marijuana businesses. Several dozen Ohio communities, including some in Northeast Ohio, have at least temporarily banned the businesses.

MANCHESTER SCHOOLS: The Local Schools District Board of Education has selected Gary Hinton as the district’s next superintendent, Akron.com reports. He will replace a former superintendent, James Robinson, who agreed to temporarily serve in the role last August, when Superintendent Shaun Morgan announced that he was “retir(ing) from education.” Hinton will begin as superintendent Aug. 1. He will work alongside Robinson from June 24 to July 31 to familiarize himself with the job. Hinton, 41, a Manchester High School graduate, has most recently served as the principal at East Canton High School. Manchester Board President Steve Rector said the district had roughly 30 people apply for the superintendent position.

NEW FRANKLIN: City Council has approved Dave Perkowski’s plan to develop four acres of his 47-acre Sorrick Farm property at 365 Center Road into a wedding and event center, Akron.com reports. Perkowski has said he plans to convert a house and barn on the property into the event venue, with some of the house space offered as a rental. He said that the event center would be operated by an on-site management company that has yet to be named. Some residents have expressed concerns with the plan, citing the potential for noise, traffic and impaired drivers on Center Road and Kaylin Drive during events.

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