Mayor's Corner: Many Accomplishments In A Difficult Year
Happy Holidays from all of us at City Hall! The past year has been filled with many achievements for our city, even as the pandemic continues to affect our lives. As we bring 2021 to a close, I’d to spend a few lines highlighting some things we can all be proud of accomplishing here in Lakewood over the past 12 months.
Rising to the Challenge of COVID-19: It’s hard to remember, but when we began the year, vaccines were still not in general distribution and protocols were still very restrictive. Despite this, our city workers truly rose to the occasion and made sacrifices to keep services in place while also keeping us all safe. I am also grateful to all of you who have offered kind words and thanks to our staff – it means so much to all of us.
Caring for Those in Crisis: Our continued response to the impact of the pandemic included using some of our federal COVID dollars to provide rental assistance that kept people in their homes. The funds are dedicated exclusively to low-income recipients who are at risk of losing their housing due to the pandemic and have helped hundreds of our neighbors weather this storm.
Fiscal Excellence: Our commitment to fiscal excellence, transparency, and stewardship at City Hall was recognized externally this year when both the Ohio Auditor of State and the national Government Finance Officers Association both presented awards to our Finance Department.
Affordability: Using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars, we were able to reduce the previously approved water and sewer rate increases by dedicating $25 million toward necessary water and sewer infrastructure needs. This puts real dollars in every ratepayer’s hands by lessening the water and sewer rates now and in future years.
Census Results: We received news this year that our united efforts to get an accurate census count succeeded. Lakewood once again topped 50,000 residents – beating estimates to ensure we continue receiving key federal dollars and our people are fairly represented in government. It also means we are the third largest city in the county, and the 17th largest in the entire state.
Public Space Improvements: Several of Lakewood’s parks saw major improvements this year, including Madison Park, Kauffman Park, and Clifton Prado, and our effort to make the Detroit Sloane intersection more pedestrian and bike friendly and welcoming is just wrapping up.
Investing in Safety: A top priority we all share is safety, and this year the City continued to make sure our first responders are staffed and outfitted to keep residents safe. From modernizing and renovating Fire Station 2 to adding 40 new cameras across the city, we have invested in keeping Lakewood safe.
Listening to Lakewood’s Priorities: Over the year, many of you have approached me and my administration voicing thoughts about issues as they have arisen, and we have done our best to be responsive. Whether it was safety concerns at Madison Park, a need to improve field conditions for those involved in recreation programming, or general ways to improve services, our goal was to listen first, and then find the best solution possible within the budget to make changes quickly for impact. I hope you have seen some results that have made a difference.
I’ll close by saying it was a joy to see so many of you recently at Light Up Lakewood, where the weather was fantastic and thousands turned out to celebrate. What a great way to bring people together. I hope that you and yours all have a wonderful holiday season.