Mayor's Corner: Improving And Celebrating Our Parks

Lakewood’s parks and greenspaces are rightly treasured and highly used by our residents. The City of Lakewood is always working to ensure that these jewels are consistently maintained. We also regularly evaluate how the parks are used, what updates are needed, and opportunities for improvements based on resident priorities and needs. This year, our Planning and Development Department is once again working through community input and engagement on potential updates to multiple parks.

At Lakewood Park, we are working through development of a Waterfront Access Plan that aspires to increase public access and exposure to our city’s greatest natural asset – Lake Erie. Outreach has been ongoing for months, and the City and our design team from SmithGroup recently hosted an open house that drew dozens to offer feedback on renderings of the proposed plans. The recommendations include exciting ideas to achieve the goal of building the connection between the people of Lakewood and our Great Lake. You can see the concepts here: https://www.lakewoodoh.gov/lakewood-park-waterfront-access-feasibility-study/. The City is excited about the potential to achieve this plan and will continue to refine it as we explore how to fund the recommendations.

We are also completing another planning process for Lakewood’s second largest city park, Madison Park. The result of this work, and partnership with the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission, is a master plan that lays out the future vision for this important and heavily used community asset. Once again, the team at City Hall was successful in securing outside funding for the plan, with over 85% of the costs coming from a Cuyahoga County Planning Commission grant. We expect the master plan to be adopted this Spring.

Even as we position our largest parks for maximum benefit, the City also is highly focused on our neighborhood parks, and public input is essential there as well. A community-wide online survey and an in-person meeting at Cove Community Center were both concluded recently regarding Merle Bunts. For Niagara Park, planning outreach is open now through an online survey and a public workshop on Tuesday March 26th from 3:30pm - 5:30pm in the Hayes Elementary School library. We all look forward to the ideas that develop to keep these neighborhood assets continue to shine.

All of these park planning efforts are key to maintaining the high standards for public assets that are part of our DNA here in Lakewood. The City will never rest on its laurels and always look at ways to creatively and cost effectively maximize the benefits of our parks. We can all look forward to seeing the concepts from these plans put into action in the months and years to come.

In related news, I want to close by expressing my gratitude to Lakewood residents for the fantastic response to the Tree Giveaway Program sponsored through the City of Lakewood’s Tree Advisory & Education Board. We had 100 trees to give away, one per household that applied, and those trees were rapidly claimed in a matter of hours. This is another example of how everyone in Lakewood can play a role in keeping our city beautiful and help maintain and build on our tree canopy. A healthy tree canopy has multiple benefits – from addressing stormwater volume and helping to clean the air to carbon mitigation and simply making Lakewood a more attractive place to live. Let’s all continue to do our part to care for and improve the health of Lakewood’s trees.

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Volume 20, Issue 6, Posted 6:47 PM, 03.20.2024