Although the weather may not have been the best, from a community and city standpoint, April finished in terrific fashion. I’d like to thank Councilmen Lowery, Smolic and Ziegler, and an army of volunteers for going out with me and Service Director Fornaro to cleanup eight of our local seniors’ and veterans’ properties. In addition, thanks to Teresa Szary from the Community Center for organizing and coordinating the day. Sgt. Mike Valenti of the Kirtland Police Department also lent a hand picking up brush and raking leaves on that damp and chilly Saturday. I know the recipients of the service were more than appreciative.

Some sad news to report as Kirtland recently lost a respected and dedicated servant to the community, Mr. Robert Murch. A lifelong resident with more than forty years of service on the Kirtland Board of Zoning Appeals, Mr. Murch will be sorely missed. Thank you to Bob for his commitment to Kirtland and our condolences to his family.

May is off to a great start as Sue Grazia was appointed to fill the Ward four City Council seat recently vacated by newly appointed Common Pleas Judge, Jeff Ruple. Mrs. Grazia, another lifelong Kirtlander, will make a terrific councilwoman. Sue first joined city government in 2016 when she was appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals by former Mayor Davidson. Bringing a fresh perspective, and one of a successful local businesswoman, I welcome the opportunity to work with Mrs. Grazia in her new role.

Over the last several years, we’ve worked to gather input about the needs and direction of our city. Our residents have suggested we energize a town center that is livable, walkable and offers shopping, dining, and professional services. Many seniors have told us they would like to downsize and stay in Kirtland. And we know that new revenue sources are needed to fix our roads.

Appreciating community feedback, we have been working with Marous Development Group and Kirtland native, Ray Sankovich, sharing with them our residents’ ideas.  As a result of these discussions, we now have before us a conceptual plan that includes a food market, dining, a coffee shop, as well as other retail and services consistent with a small-town commercial district. In addition, the plan would include office space and residential living opportunities suited for seniors and professionals seeking to reside in a small-town center.

In the coming weeks and months, with input from the community, we will work to refine this conceptual plan. We see this as an exciting first step that could help Kirtland reestablish a downtown that best serves our residents.

As always, May will be a busy month with community volunteer opportunities. Kiwanis will hold its annual Veterans Memorial cleanup on May 20th at Kirtland City Hall. Thanks in advance to Kiwanis, the Garden Club of Kirtland, and the Barber Williams American Legion Post for beautifying the memorial and grounds.

This year’s Memorial Day parade will kick off from Kirtland High School at 11 a.m. and will proceed to City Hall for a ceremony honoring soldiers who paid the ultimate price to ensure our freedom. I had the honor to ask former U.S. Army and Kirtland  Police Lieutenant, Jamey Fisher, to be the event’s speaker.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing many of you at the upcoming events.