Welcome to Beachwood 2019. 2018 was a year of new beginnings. We welcomed a new Mayor, two new Councilpersons and new Council leadership, a new Law Director, and a new Communications Coordinator. As a team, Council, our Directors and I began exploring projects and city management in light of new technology, changing demographics, new economic development trends, and increasing efficiency while expanding the services provided to our residents, businesses and visitors.
Safety, fire, and rescue services are our highest priority. In 2017 Council authorized the addition of 5 new police officers and an Assistant Chief position in 2018. We are also creating a K-9 unit. Chief Haba has been working on increased security at Beachwood Place and throughout the city utilizing both increased personnel and new technology. Early this year, the administration will propose a new Police Station for discussion by Council. 2018 marked the opening of our new Public Safety Center that replaced fire station #2 and also includes training facilities, the dispatch center and an emergency operations center.
In 2018, we established the position of full time communications coordinator now staffed by Lynn Johnson. Through Lynn’s efforts we have greatly increased our social media presence and continued to move forward with a complete website redesign. We have also created a successful and expanding block party program to help neighbors meet one another and build an improved sense of community.
2018 marked the completion of the work of the Citizens Charter Review Committee. These residents provided suggestions to update our City Charter, a project that had not been done for 20 years. Their suggestions were modified by Council and approved by Beachwood voters in November. We also completed a major revision to our Zoning Code which, among other changes, expands the potential uses in Beachwood Place and Commerce Park to increase development opportunities and our competitiveness.
This was a very active year for Council. They approved a program that will help complete all of our sidewalks in a 3-4 year period. They approved a dog park which should open in late spring or early summer. They have approved the continuation of our senior rubbish curbside pickup with our partner, Village in the Heights. At Council’s direction, Beachwood’s housing rules and employment practices now include protection against discrimination of the LGBTQ community. Council passed progressive legislation to allow city employees paid parental leave. In an effort to achieve greater efficiency in our operation, including cost-reduction and green practices, Council has approved the hiring of Municipal Solutions to do a City wide operational audit. Finally, at the end of the year, Council passed a landmark piece of legislation, based on an idea put forth by Bryden’s third grade students to pay for seatbelt installation on new school busses up to $250,000.
Our Community Service Department continued to break records with over 1000 residents enjoying our Aquatic Center on Memorial Day, more than 6000 people attending the 2nd annual Beachwood Fall Festival and 3000 kids and parents celebrated the 19th year of Honkin’ Haulin’ Hands-On Trucks at the Public Works Center. Our Public Works Department continued to provide unmatched street maintenance, snow removal, rubbish pickup and city beautification including our winter light display. In 2019, they will do so under the supervision of our new Department Head, Chris Arrietta.
2018 marked the opening of several new businesses in Beachwood including Hello Bistro, Bomba Tacos and Rum, Lindey's Lake House and Diamonds Direct-all at the Beachwood Life Style Center. We welcomed the Aster luxury apartments and 2400: 12 newly constructed luxury townhomes on Richmond. This year our Economic Development Department conducted a series of meetings with major developers to determine interest in a public-private partnership for Commerce Park. And we are holding meetings with Brookfield Properties, the new owner of Beachwood Place to offer our assistance in development
The state of the City of Beachwood is vibrant, dynamic and forward thinking. We are building on our past successes, continuously improving the quality of life for our residents and committed to expanding our strong commercial base and dedicated to planning ahead to insure we remain a premier city for decades to come. Thank you to our Council, Directors, employees and residents for all of your hard work and support. We are all excited for an even greater 2019.
YouTube: Beachwood 2018 Year in Review video