“To Make Sure Your Community is a Safe Place to Work and Raise a Family”
After 30 years in public service, Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough reported his mission for the community remains the same after all these years: “To make sure your community is a safe place to work and raise a family and also improve the quality of life for the community.”
Clough’s comments came at his annual State of the City address, sponsored by First Federal Lakewood at LaCentre on March 10.
“I did not envision that I’d be around for 30 years,” he smiled. “But believe it or not, I still have fun.”
Growing from a semi-rural area to a burgeoning regional hub, Westlake’s development has benefited from controlled planning and shared civic vision. There was no Crocker Park 30 years ago, and downtown Westlake was anchored by a dry cleaning store at the corner of Dover Center and Center Ridge.
Today, Westlake enjoys good financial health and continues to open more businesses that ensure the municipality takes in more money than it spends.
“The city of Westlake didn’t resemble what it is today, or what it has become,” said Clough.
State of the City Highlights
– Dozens of new Westlake businesses opened in 2014. Highlights include renovations at Nick Mayer Lincoln and Lakewood Country Club (new clubhouse) as well as Ganley BMW on Sperry Road, Hyland Software’s expansion to the former Five Seasons Fitness facility, and development at The Dane Group.
– 2014 saw the approval of 435,421 total square feet of development. 133k in hotel space and 128k in retail.
– 2,508 building permits were issued with a value of $210 million. Commercially, American Greetings and Crocker Park lead the way at $149.2 million in current construction.
– Infrastructure improvements to the city included rebuilding the Bradley/Detroit intersection, Strawberry Lane/Marshfield Water Project, plus city-wide concrete rehabilitation, pavement crack and joint sealing and catch basin rehabilitation.
– Westlake Police received 31,721 calls for service. 4,620 arrests were made. There were 721 motor vehicle accidents. Police were also engaged civically in National Bike & Walk to School Days, Operation Medicine Cabinet, Bicycle Rodeo, Shop with a Cop program, and Adopt-a-Family program at Christmas.
– Westlake Fire Department received 4,513 calls related to fire, EMS Hazmat and service. 99 community classes were offered with 2,541 participants. Westshore CERT now has 310 members. The city also purchased a 2015 Pierce Velocity 100-foot Aerial Fire Truck.
– The Service Department received and completed 8,027 service calls in 2014. 17.6 miles of storm and sanitary sewer were cleaned. 9.7 miles of sewer were videoed. 718 storm and sanitary tees were located and repaired. 7,339 tons of recycling was collected. 8,800 cubic yards of mulch and humus was sold. 154 trees were planted and 1,119 were trimmed.
– The Community Services Department served an aggregate total of 16,183 patrons who took part in activities, programs, trips, groups and wellness programs. 84 organizations partnered to present programs at no cost. 108 volunteers gave over 832 hours of service. 5,962 rides were given to residents in need. $20,000 in emergency food distributions were made. 267 holiday baskets valued at $20,000 were distributed.
– The Westlake Recreation Center now has over 12,500 current members and welcomed 550,000 visitors in 2014. The Center made $80,000 in equipment replacement. 800 programs were offered with 8,500 participants. There are 2,100 Silver Sneakers members. Capital improvements included repaving the Rec Center driveway ($485,000), replacing the roof of the Aquatic Center ($850,000) and replacing the HVAC Pool Pak ($650,000). 18,500 rounds of golf were played at Meadowood and there were 11 organized leagues.
– Peterson Pool welcomed over 19,500 visitors with 474 memberships purchased. There were 686 Learn to Swim students.
– City communications include Information for Business online, the Mayor’s Newsletter, 1680 AM Radio Westlake, Community Cable TV Channel, city webcasts, Nixle Texting, and expanded social media. The City will launch a new website in 2015 at www.cityofwestlake.org.
– Westlake in Bloom brought 87 entrants plus 224 flower boxes and 40 Evergreen Cemetery Boxes
– Total assessed value of Westlake stands at $1.3 billion. Westlake’s property tax rate stands at 70.55, much lower than top ranked Shaker Hts. (133.89) and lower than all other West Shore communities. The city’s tax rate history has fallen through the years, from a 12.9 millage in 1985 to 9.52 today. Income tax collection has grown from $838,200 in 1977 to $23.6 million (total) in 2014. Westlake’s sewer rates also rank substantially lower than all other west side communities both commercially and residentially. Revenues continue to outpace expenses.
Westlake has grown from a community of 19,483 residents in 1986 to 32,723 today. The general fund balance has grown to $28 million against a debt of $14.6 million.
What’s Ahead in 2015
The current American Greetings/Crocker Park expansion will bring 595,000 square feet of development that will include 121,000 sq. ft. of retail space and 316 apartments. Coming is a Hyatt Hotel plus three restaurants (Bone Fish Grill, Yard House and Texas de Brazil).
Westlake’s goal, said Mayor Clough, is to embrace a LEAN philosophy: to “identify and then implement the most efficient, value added way to provide government service.”
His action plan calls for the continuance of quality and expanded services using existing financial resources, monitoring the capital plan, continuing to look at an alternate water provider and consider consolidation (including a Westshore Fire District).