Plans for dog park move forward, council approves traffic studies

by Laura Bednar

Nov. 8 city council meeting

The city has discussed creating a dog park for several years and has finally decided to move forward with the project. City council members approved a $32,000 chain link fence to be installed around the park, which will be located behind the t-ball field and service department storage area in Elmwood Park, according to Recreation Director Tom Walchanowicz.

He said more people have been bringing dogs to the park since the start of the pandemic and the recreation department received complaints of dogs defecating on baseball fields. The hope is that the new park will corral dogs away from the fields into their own space.

“It’s a terrific idea, long overdue,” said Councilperson Jim Trakas. “I propose we engage the public for a naming contest of the dog park.”

Walchanowicz said the department is seeding the area this fall and the plan is to expand the t-ball parking lot. “We feel it’s off the beaten path so we don’t need key card admittance [to the park],” said Walchanowicz.

The park is expected to be complete in May of next year.

Traffic studies

DLZ Ohio Inc. will conduct traffic engineering studies at three areas in the city for $49,500. City Engineer Don Ramm said the first area is examining the proposed drive-thru lane expansion at McDonald’s on Brecksville Road.

Councilperson Anthony Togliatti asked what the impetus of the study was. Mayor Greg Kurtz said it was safety issues caused by cross-pollinating traffic from PNC Bank, McDonald’s and The Nest Schools daycare center. Togliatti asked if the city would pay for the McDonald’s lane expansion and how the project payment would be determined. Kurtz said the hope was to take the traffic study results to the three businesses in that area and recommend they contribute funds to the project and split the cost with the city.

The second area to be studied is the W. Pleasant Valley and Brecksville roads intersection, to consider the impact of adding an exclusive right turn lane to go north onto Brecksville Road. The final area is Pleasant Valley Road near the former Kichler Lighting building. Currently, drivers are merged from two lanes to one, and Ramm said the geometry of the area is confusing, resulting in residents complaining of near accidents.

Togliatti was the sole dissenting vote on the legislation.