Future of Grant Street debated; former mayor praised

by Sue Serdinak

April 16 village council meeting

Planning and Zoning Director Brian Frantz, landscape designer Rob Morgan and traffic engineer Kevin Westbrook presented a plan to Richfield Village Council for Grant Street and the roadways surrounding the Masonic Lodge and the brewery that is under construction.

The plan shows Grant Street re-opening with two-way traffic and permeable pavers as the surface. The north/south section of Grant Street is planned as a one-way street southbound, from Route 303. The plan includes parallel parking along a section of the Green.

Frantz said one-way roads have a calming effect on traffic flow. He said vacating Grant Street east/west was considered, but the fire department was opposed because the closure would limit access to the new brewery and older buildings in the area.

Instead, the road would remain open but could be closed with three bollards during special events. People could congregate or sit at tables with the road closed.

“Those buildings [Fellowship Hall, Richfield Historical Museum and Masonic Lodge] are pretty old, and we need quick access,’’ said Fire Chief George Seifert. “We can live with one-way streets.’’

Police Chief Michael Swanson said people often ignore signs and drive the wrong way on one-way roads. He suggested installing curbing that would deter wrong-way drivers where the street curves west.

Councilperson Marty Kryszynski warned that traffic flow from the new parking lot near the library would be hampered, because the new road built south of the brewery is not regulation width for a public road.

He also warned that winter weather makes bollards a poor choice, and each bollard must have drainage.

Councilperson Jeff Stoppenhagen said that Cleveland uses bollards in many public spaces.

Morgan added that drainage would be needed for the permeable pavers, and the pavers would decrease the amount of water detention needed overall.   

“I think done right with drainage … the bollards will work. The big problem is storing them when they are not in use,” said Service Director Scott Waldemarson.

Seifert said bollards prevent drivers from turning into an area where people congregate, and safety forces could easily remove them, if necessary.

 “We’ve proven that we don’t need east/west Grant Street.,’’ said Councilperson Rick Hudak. “If we need bollards, we need to do it. This is going to attract more events.”

Said council President Ralph Waszak, “I like where we are with this. We are creating a Green. What we do with the bollards and one-way street can all be changed.”

Residents Pat Healey and Dan Holahan spoke against making Grant Street one-way.  Healey said it would hamper traffic leaving the library parking area. Holahan said it is too far for people leaving the library to exit onto Broadview Road to get to W. Streetsboro Road.

New sewer fee

Council had first reading on an amendment to an ordinance that imposes a linear foot charge on properties tied into the village sewer system. An ordinance was passed in 1997 to impose a 20 cents per linear foot charge against property owners accessing the sewer system. The charge was never enforced.

The current ordinance reinforces the prior ordinance and was changed to require payments be made quarterly. The ordinance also requires that properties outside the village pay the same fee plus 10%. The ordinance would go into effect on July 1.  

Finance Director Sandy Turk provided a chart of sewer fees charged by surrounding communities. According to the data, Richfield sewer fees, including the additional linear foot charge, would be fourth from the lowest out of nine communities. Broadview Heights and Brecksville were higher.

In a letter to council, resident Debbie Bluso Rogers questioned the legality of the village not enforcing the fee that was ordained by council in 1997.

“It leaves the perception of misuse,” Rogers wrote.

Waszak thanked Rogers for the letter and said they will look into the legality of the issue.


Council had first reading on an ordinance to create a tax increment equivalent fund for a truck terminal property at 2920 Brecksville Rd. that Saia Trucking purchased from Pawuk and Associates.

Saia plans to make millions of dollars of infrastructure improvements to the terminal and with the legislation, the company would pay for the improvements in lieu of paying property taxes for 30 years. The Revere Local School District and the Cuyahoga Valley Joint Vocational School District would continue to receive full tax payments.

Dispatchers recognized

Swanson and Seifert both recognized the dispatchers that serve the community. They said they are “the glue” that holds everything together at all times, and they go beyond their prescribed duties.


A resident reported on an unusual, eroded portion of state Route 303 east of White Pine Drive. The village service department put a temporary plate over the section of road and called ODOT because it is a state highway. ODOT declared the road unsafe and closed it in both directions, indefinitely.

Cannabis sales

A special committee of council met to discuss whether retailers that sell cannabis should be permitted in the village.

“It is the recommendation of this committee that we should not allow those facilities,” reported Councilperson Sue Ann Philippbar. 

Council as a whole voted to extend the moratorium on issuing zoning certificates for such shops for six more months while new legislation is prepared.

Don Larsen tribute

Mayor Michael Wheeler asked for a moment of silence on the passing of former Mayor Don Larsen. Waszak invited each member of council to reflect on the impact that Larsen had on Richfield or them personally.

Some said Larsen encouraged them to get involved in village government. All had extreme praise for his work for the community.

“He did it not for ego, not for power or not for money, he did it to serve the community,” Waszak summarized.

New fire engine

The fire department parked the new fire truck outside Town Hall so council members and visitors could see the $800,000-plus vehicle. It was impressive. ∞

Photo: The proposed plans for Grant Street show permeable pavers and bollards. Grant Street north/south would become one-way. Sketch courtesy of Richfield Village.