Council approves funds for City Hall expansion project

by Melissa Martin

May 7 city council meeting

Renovation of the city’s former police station is set to get underway this year to make way for additional administrative office space, according to Brecksville city administrators.

The part of City Hall that once housed the city’s police department has remained empty and unused since 2019, when the department outgrew the facility and was relocated to a newly constructed 15,000-square-foot facility, located across from City Hall on a 2.4-acre Brecksville Road site.

The new police station was constructed with additional square footage that houses a regional dispatch center occupied by Chagrin Valley Dispatch, which oversees the city’s emergency dispatch services along with those of the city of Independence and several other surrounding communities. It also includes a two-story jail and a 75-foot-long firing range that allows officers to train with all types of firearms.

As the city continues to grow, Service Director Joe Kickel told city council that the highly anticipated expansion of City Hall is set to get underway. Prior to the buildout, the city first had to remove the asbestos-containing ceiling and floor tiles.

The police side of the building, Kickel said, is composed of cinder block walls as opposed to the administrative side of city hall that is composed of drywall and metal-framed studs.

“We will basically be [thickening] the walls to resemble the other side of the building with drywall, new carpeting, new doors. The police department currently has steel doors, and we’ll be putting in new wood doors,” he said. “Mostly cosmetic work.”

Council approved a blanket vendor purchase requisition in the amount of $50,000 for the buildout. Kickel said most of the work on the new office space will be completed by city employees.

Kickel said the new space will include a handful of new offices to house city employees, along with a new employee lunchroom, copy room and more.

Council also authorized the purchase of a new cooling unit known as a ductless split evaporator for the server room of the Chagrin Valley Dispatch facility. Kickel told council one of Chagrin Valley’s server units recently went down and the company has been operating on just one in the weeks since.

“There’s always more than one for redundancy in the event that one unit does go down,” Kickel explained.

The cost of the $12,527 unit, which will be purchased from Trane U.S. Inc., will be billed back to Chagrin Valley Dispatch and will be repaid as part of the company’s monthly rent, Kickel said.

Adult-use cannabis

Council also approved and ordinance amending Section 1189.01 of the Planning and zoning code by adding a subsection to prohibit adult-use cannabis activities in all use districts.

“This is an exact duplicate of what council did with the medical marijuana prohibition,” Matty said. “This prohibition will prohibit the cultivation, processing and dispensaries, along with the medical marijuana.”

Matty told council that it does not have authority to affect what’s referred to as ‘home grow,” so a person in a residence can have six plants. If there are two persons in that home, they can have 12 plants.

“What this affects is no retail dispensaries,” he said, “no retail or wholesale processing and no wholesale cultivation.”

The legislation will be forwarded to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections for placement on the November ballot. The ballot issue will require approval of at least 55% of the electorate to pass. ∞