Park is vandalized; crosswalks ordered

by Sue Serdinak

October 4 village council meeting

The Richfield Village administration is moving forward with plans to construct basketball courts in Richfield Woods Park. Parks and Recreation Director John Piepsny introduced Kevin Labadie of Site Technology to describe a court that his company, based in Stow, would build in the park, just north of the Johnson Barn.

Labadie said the court would be regulation size and have baskets on the long and short sides so it could be divided to accommodate four smaller courts.  An area of 94 feet by 60 feet would be asphalted. The court would not be lighted.

Council had first reading on an ordinance to pay Site Technology $93,437 for the project.

Piepsny also said that vandals damaged the self-propelled merry-go-round and a slide in the park. He asked Jamie Snider, of North Royalton-based Snider Recreation, to describe the equipment that his company could install in their place. The equipment would be designed for use by children 2-12-years old.

Mayor Michael Wheeler said that the playground equipment is old, and it is time to replace some of it.

Councilperson Jeff Stoppenhagen said that cameras should be installed in the park. Wheeler said that the administration is already looking into that.

Law Director Alejandros Cortez advised council that the site plan for work at Richfield Woods should be referred to the planning commission.


Service Director Scott Waldemarson reported that Perrin Asphalt will create crosswalks at three locations in the center of town: Broadview Road at Richfield Heritage Preserve, West Streetsboro Road at Humphrey Road and West Streetsboro Road at the Parker–Serdinak trailhead.   

Flashing beacons have been ordered for the crosswalks but will not arrive until next spring. The total cost of the crosswalks with beacons is $46,000.

Sewer Line

Richfield’s main sewer line along Brecksville Road, north of Townsend Road, is deteriorating.

“The cast iron pipes were put in 30 years ago,’’ said Waldemarson. “The gases are cutting through and causing leaks. We’re abandoning that line and putting in plastic force main pipes.” 

Council suspended readings and passed legislation to accept the bid of J.S. Bova Excavating for $1.3 million to make repairs to the village’s sanitary force main line.

Waldemarson warned that work would be needed on other parts of the sanitary sewer system in the near future.

Safety forces

Following the recommendation of Fire Chief George Seifert, Wheeler swore in two fire medics for part-time positions.  Quentin Brown served as a Marine for six years in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Philippines.  He is also employed by Cleveland Fire as a medic and member of their SWAT team. He has an associate degree in Applied Science and Emergency Medical Service.

Alex Bartfai recently graduated from Medina High School and Medina County Career Center and works part-time for the Medina Fire Department.

Seifert said there continues to be a shortage of fire medics and he is pleased that Bartfai is starting his career with the Richfield department.

Police Chief Michael Swanson reported that officer Robert Gaydosh submitted his retirement.  Gaydosh has been a police officer for 26 years, 22 in Richfield.

Council passed legislation to allow Gaydosh to keep his service pistol as a gesture of gratitude.

IRS non-penalty

Finance Director Sandy Turk reported that three IRS agents arrived at the village finance office and presented a $44,000 bill for a shortage of tax payments. Turk said the village staff provided bank documents that showed the village had paid the amount owed. The IRS concluded that their agency had applied it incorrectly.

This happened while the department was operating with a reduced staff because one employee was on an extended sick leave.   

Replacement truck purchased

Council approved the purchase of a 2023 Ford Ranger pickup truck from Montrose Ford for $32,653, using the Ohio cooperative purchasing program.  The truck replaces a 2022 truck that was totaled. No one was injured in the accident.

Wheeler said that the insurance payment on the totaled truck covered the cost of the new one.

Council approved a collective bargaining agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local 4410 providing a 3% general wage increase, effective Jan. 1, 2023.  This is the same increase negotiated with the Fraternal Order of Police this summer.

Council approved applying for an Urban Canopy Restoration Grant through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the USDA Forest Service. Councilperson Ralph Waszak said they are requesting $7,500.

He said of 40 trees donated by Winar Associates this year, 39 survived. He said it was a real challenge to water them in the summer.

Planning and Zoning Director Brian Frantz reported that phase 2 of the Briarwood development has started.

He also said the sledding hill on Broadview Road, south of Hawkins Road, would be seeded this fall. Wheeler added that the rest of the park would be completed in 2023.

Michael Maney and Adrian McNeal, representing Kinetic, addressed council to advise that Windstream has rebranded to Kinetic and converted their copper wires to fiber. They have brought back the retail team to this area.

Wheeler added that every house in the village of Richfield now has the capability to get the one gigabyte microfiber line and two gigabytes will be available by the end of the year.  ∞