Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley reports the city made advances in 2020 despite the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic and the effects on both health and the economy.
“I’d like to thank my employees, my directors, my chiefs, our residents, our business owners and Eastlake City Council for working through this,” Morley said during a recent State of the City Address at a Willoughby Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce meeting. “Until we’re fully (vaccinated), a lot of events are already being canceled this year until we get a grip on this thing.”
Final numbers for 2020 in regard to Eastlake’s finances are still in working progress, Morley said, but he believes the city will still have a good carryover into 2021. The city is looking at a possible $1.4 million loss of revenue from 2020 into 2021, but he said for the end of 2021 things will be positive.
In 2020, the city refinanced some of the bonds on Classic Park, home to the Lake County Captains. The stadium was to be paid off in 2031, but that will now happen in 2026, Morley said.
The Captains did not play last year as Major League Baseball cancelled all minor league seasons due to the pandemic. But, Morley noted that for this year the Captains have been moved up a class, meaning more-developed players will be on the roster.
A schedule for this year is on the forefront.
“They will start at least a month later than last year, but then they will go a month later in the fall,” Morley said. “They’re working with the county with the mass gatherings to see how many people will be allowed into the game, so we’re looking forward to that.”
Eastlake is still looking to have its markets and car shows this summer, the mayor said. The city has been working with the county during the mayors and managers meetings on Tuesdays to go over possibilities for this summer’s events.
“We’re staying positive,” he said. “We’ve been working as a group since last March when we found this out. It’s just not one group, it’s all of us working together to get through this pandemic.”
Meanwhile, stormwater improvements have been made in the harbor area over the last two years at a cost of about $6 million Morley said. A new pump station has been put in and a new sewer system is to come by September. In addition, Stevens Boulevard was started last year and will be finished this year all the way to the Willoughby border into the Lakeline border.
Three new firefighters will be hired this year, while two police officers were hired last year and plans are being made on possibly hiring another this year.
Morley said the city received a grant for the Erie Road Park for $475,000.
“We acquired Borac’s Landing from Western Reserve and we are going to make that a park,” he said. “We’re going to be working on getting a path from Eastlake to Willoughby on the river’s edge.”
New homes went up in addition to the Chagrin River ridge development. With the former Washington and Taft Elementary School buildings down, roughly 60 homes are being planned to be put in those areas, Morley said.
“We’ve also had about 10 houses built on the lake even with the erosion that’s been going on,” he said.
Bevcorp LLC will be coming into Eastlake from Willoughby, with the need of a bigger facility. The business will be going into the former Lake Business Products building, Morley said.
“We also had Stakes — an incubator of Jakprints,” he added. “They’re going to have 400 employees in the old Walmart.”
Morely noted the plaza at 36091 Vine St. has seen promising growth in the past year with the opening of I Love You to the Moon and Back Bakery and Legends Seafood N Chicken, and is optimistic about future businesses planting roots in Eastlake.
“We’re looking forward to more businesses and restaurants coming into the city hopefully this year.”