LAKEWOOD, Ohio – The excitement tempered is how Lakewood Mayor Meghan George sees 2022, which finds the city doing its best while still in the midst of a pandemic.
“We are concerned about what this might mean for the city and the small business community, as well as for our residents,” said George. “There are a lot of uncertainties associated with the pandemic, but we are prepared as we have been for the challenge.”
One of the projects that should come to fruition in the new year is the opening of the much anticipated Lakewood Intergenerational Community Center.
The Adaptive Reuse Project finds that the former Cove United Methodist Church is being transformed into a new home for the city’s social services department.
The former church, which is slated to open in early 2022, will not only provide flexible meeting space that promotes connectivity and engagement for families and residents, but will also become the home of the senior meal delivery service. off-site in town.
“We are very pleased to bring all of our personal services department together under one roof,” said George. “It will really change the way we approach human services.
“Historically, these were separate facilities, separate staff working with older people or young people. It’s really going to bring everyone together in an intergenerational space. It will be a great addition to the community.
Another major project slated for 2022 includes the $ 4.5 million redevelopment of the Foster Pool in Lakewood Park to add a zero-depth entrance, slide and water jets, 25 and 50-meter lanes, a diving board, paddling pool, shade structures on the pool terrace, family changing rooms and a renovated pool house.
The facility will be closed after the summer season with the goal of reopening in 2023.
“The work of developing the next generation of Foster Pool begins,” said George. “We are also planning to explore a multi-purpose pier, which would provide residents with easier access to Lake Erie.
“And our Planning Department continues to partner with County Planning and residents to explore the potential of a lakeside trail along the Gold Coast shoreline. So a lot is happening in terms of our parks and green spaces. “
In addition to improvements to Infield Field Jimmie Foxx Field in Kauffman Park and George J. Usher Field in Madison Park, Lakewood is planning infrastructure improvements related to its Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan (IWWIP) on Avenues. Gladys and Andrews, as well as the resurfacing of Hilliard Road from Riverside Drive to Warren Road.
One project that should reach important milestones in 2022 is the development of the former Lakewood Hospital site located at the corner of Detroit and Belle avenues.
After the termination of a previous development and use agreement with Carnegie Management and Development Corporation regarding a mixed-use project on the land, the city began working with developer CASTO.
“We are very focused on making significant progress in the reuse of this site,” said George. “Our planning and development team continues to work hand in hand with developer CASTO to finalize the sitemap and ensure it aligns with our community vision.
“This includes a mixed-use project that contributes to our economic vitality and maintains our population, while also offering a public space component. Things continue to move forward as we negotiate the details of the important site for our community. “
Slowed down by supply chain problems linked to the pandemic and equipment shortages, the project remains a priority for the mayor with in reserve:
“We obviously want to move forward as quickly as possible, but also to know the importance of this in our community,” said George. “If it ends up taking a little longer than we all would like, that’s okay because we have to get it right. “
From a financial standpoint, in 2022, Lakewood officials will need to decide how the city will spend the second installment of its $ 47 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. In 2021, the city devoted $ 25 million to water and sewer infrastructure.
“We continue to analyze and research the best uses for the remaining ARPA dollars,” said George. “We are also still awaiting final directives from the Treasury.”
George delivered a hopeful but pragmatic message to residents as we approach a new year which, in nearly 24 months, still involves a pandemic.
“We are optimistic for the coming year, but we are also realistic,” said George. “We hope to adopt our budget which sets the tone for the coming year, but we also know that we have this omicron variant and potentially other variants that could come during 2022.
“So we need to be ready and nimble to pivot and deal with whatever comes our way in terms of COVID-19. “
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