Maple Heights, OH

Maple Heights Mayor Annette M Blackwell and School Superintendent Dr. Charlie Keenan Hold the State of the City Address

Brown on Cleveland

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Dr. Charlie Keenan and Mayor Annette Blackwell of Maple HeightsThe Brown Report Newspaper (Photo)

Maple Heights, OH. - In a well-attended auditorium, Maple Heights Mayor Annette M. Blackwell and School Superintendent Charles Keenan held their annual State of the City Address. With approximately one hundred and fifty people present, in ninety minutes, Blackwell and Keenan proved that when the city and schools partner, the community will reap the rewards and see a return on investment.

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Dr. Charlie Keenan Maple Heights City SchoolsCourtesy of Maple Heights City School District

"I care about the calls that I get from parents. The State Report Card is important but - make no mistake; I care most about what the family and community think," stated Dr. Charlie Keenan before addressing the crowd about the school district's progress. Dr. Keenan proudly spoke about several areas of achievement: improvement, gap-closing, k-3 literacy, and the graduation rate. Dr. Keenan informed the crowd the district's marks are the highest they have ever been in his 19-year tenure of being the Superintendent. "We are competing against ourselves. We have our challenges. How much did we show growth? We are meeting the education goals set by the Maple Heights School Board of Education and as required by the State of Ohio Department of Education."

As Dr. Keenan stayed away from politics, he recognized the school administrators and board members who were present for the event. Keenan also briefed the audience on the district's strategic plan: academics, diversity, equity and inclusion, communication, and fiscally transparent. New additions to the Maple Heights School District include a Communications Director and a Family Engagement Coordinator. "I am proud of our team, our staff. They have done some amazing things with our students as challenges have confronted us. At no time have we asked taxpayers for additional money. We made do with what we had and could build upon our strengths," stated Dr. Keenan.

As Dr. Keenan exited, he brought Mayor Annette M Blackwell to the podium.

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Mayor Annette M Blackwell, Maple HeightsCourtesy of Annette M Blackwell

"I can't sell the City of Maple Heights if our schools are not good. Great goods are a major part of economic development. This is a proud moment," said Mayor Blackwell. Before her presentation to the City, Blackwell introduced elected officials who were present: Mayor Matt Burke of Garfield Heights, Mayor Stan Koci of Bedford, Pernell Jones, County Council President, and Maple Heights Councilmembers. Respectfully, she acknowledged Maple Heights City employees by having them stand.

Mayor Blackwell discussed the enhancement of Stafford Park Improvement, a storybook trail and fitness path, forthcoming amenities, increased home appreciation value, a modernized city hall, replacing fire equipment, a yard recognition program, and road repair. Blackwell took the time and liberty to honor the business and citizen of the year for 2022. Congratulations to Maple Heights Catering Company and Dr. Terry Webb of the Christian Unity Baptist Church. Both entities received a plaque, and Dr. Webb also received a key to the City.

Mayor Blackwell also revealed that a Chipotle is coming to Maple Heights on Warrensville Center Road in District 7. "Everyone says that we have enough chicken restaurants; we have something different coming to add to our circle of eateries; we will soon have a Chipotle as well."

Mayor Blackwell also talked about new housing structures in Maple Heights. "A new home recently sold for $240,000.00 in District Two. We also have a new 53 - apartment(s) senior housing complex coming to District Five. We already have a waiting list," said Blackwell.

One of the major highlights of the evening was Blackwell's recognition of the Maple Heights Finance Department. The City of Maple Heights will be awarded the Audit of the State Award 2021 for having a Clean Audit. Six and a half years ago, Maple Heights was in a fiscal emergency. "Monthly, the state would come to our city and ask, what are you going to do about this matter," commented Blackwell. Naysayers thought that this was an impossible issue to tackle. It wasn't easy for Maple Heights; it was not impossible. Mayor Blackwell was able to put the right team together to combat the financial issues souring Maple Heights' finances. Under the leadership of the Finance Director, Tinita Tillman, and her department, they exceeded the state's expectations. According to Mayor Blackwell's report, every city account is balanced. Financial records show that the City has approximately $8 million in the general fund.

As Mayor Blackwell smiles, "I am super proud this evening. I have a great staff, a great team. Residents, businesses, and stakeholders can see a return on their investment," said Blackwell.

When Cities work with their School districts, they win.

Brown on Cleveland Congratulates the City of Maple Heights and Maple Heights school district for a progressive year.

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"Brown On Cleveland" features podcast host, former licensed social worker, an occasional National FOX News Network guest, and social justice activist Kimberly F. Brown. Brown is a former talk show host with WOVU.95fm. She has over 20 years of experience as an on-air radio personality. Brown is the Chief Administrator of The Brown Report Newspaper. Brown's background is in investigative reporting.

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