Garfield Heights, OH. - Mayor Matthew Burke of Garfield Heights held a Town Hall Meeting at the Garfield Heights Civic Center to connect with residents. With about 75 residents in attendance, Mayor Burke addressed the City's finances, Cleveland Metro Parks, the City's Website, Safety, the Building Department, Economic Development, and unkempt Businesses.
From a gleaming smile to a stern face, the Mayor of Garfield Heights took to the podium. "This City is a jewel in Northeast Ohio. I am not interested in the past; only interested in going forward. Our economic development team is progressing. We have more businesses coming to our City," said Mayor Burke as he took the microphone to address Garfield Heights constituents. As Mayor Burke set the tone for the evening, attendees knew it was time for the City's business. Mayor Burke explained the relationship between the Metroparks and the bike path safety zone. According to Mayor Burke, Cleveland Metro Parks will be expanding. The expansion will include a stretch to the popular tow path. He paused with caution as he explained the position of the raised bike path. "We must keep bikers safe. We have to make sure that this is carefully structured. We are not going to put anyone in harm's way," stated Mayor Burke. Other amenities include Iron Spring Pavilion, Restoration of the Garfield Pond, and the New Park at Wargo Farms.
The Mayor then proceeded to discuss the City's website. "We have to embrace technology. Eventually, residents can visit the site and find out what is happening within their Ward. Very shortly, every council member will have their web page. You will be able to connect with your council person. This will help you stay abreast on Ward issues," said Mayor Burke.
Mayor Burke further talked about the safety of the City, the newly formed Target Enforcement Unit and drone technology to help identify suspects, the City Charter Review Board, the 2.5 million dollars in the General Fund, and community engagement, which caused some attendees to scoff. One resident questioned Mayor Burke about how City Officials selected members for the Charter Review Board. Councilman Clifford Kelley intervened to answer this question. "I asked many people in my Ward, and no one wanted to volunteer their time. People made lots of excuses. I had to make a decision, and I did. Many people complain, but only a few will serve. Each Councilmember selected one person from their Ward, and the Council President selected two persons," stated Councilman Kelley.
Another resident complained about the filth on Turney Road by Garfield Blvd. "This area looks like a dump. How are you getting businesses in the City when that part of the City is crappy," said the concerned citizen. As Mayor Burke began to respond to the lady, he asked questions about who she had contacted. The lady replied, "the building department." As Mayor Burke took notes, a heckler from the back of the room yelled, "snitch," about the woman talking about her dealings with the Director of the Building Department.
Despite the bit of confusion, residents shared mixed feelings and spoke out in support of Mayor Burke. "I think you are doing a great job, Mayor. You are making a difference. Regardless of whatever you do, there will always be some naysayers. They will find fought in whatever you do. I fully support you," stated former Garfield Heights Ward One Councilman Mike Dudley.
Several seniors in attendance stated that they fully support the Mayor because of his open-door policy. "You can always talk to him. He will make the time if not too busy. I wish he could help us more with snow plowing and garbage collection. He is a good Mayor. Mayor Burke will play his guitar for us during our senior program," said the smiling die-hard senior.
Garfield Heights residents, business owners, and stakeholders can contact Mayor Matt Burke at Garfield City Hall at (216) 475-4388 or visit www.garfieldhts.org.