More park improvements, development ahead for Richmond Heights, mayor says (2024)

Richmond Heights moves forward into 2023 seeking to improve upon what its 2022 goals.

Mayor Kim Thomas said her No. 1 priority after taking office was putting residents first.

“It starts by identifying and meeting the needs of our residents and working toward removing the barriers to serving residents. I firmly believe you must serve before you lead,” Thomas said. “I enjoy serving our residents. They help me identify the needs of the community.”

One major push that they’ve made to help address the concerns of their residents in 2022 was to reinvest in city parks.

The city was awarded funding for six projects from the American Rescue Plan Act in the amount of $630,000.

One of these projects awarded $100,000 to replace the porch at the farmhouse in Greenwood Farm Community Park after years of deterioration. Through this renovation, the porch will become ADA compliant.

With the support of state Sen. Kenny Yuko, Richmond Heights has been able to secure $50,000 from the state capital budget to assist them in building a gazebo at Greenwood Farm. Thomas said she is excited about the gazebo since it will allow them to host more events with additional gathering space.

“As we plan for future events, we also must plan for extra seating, which will require upgrading our picnic tables, grills and benches,” she said. “In 2023, we will invest in our parks to ensure that our residents have greenspace, a place to relax, meet new friends and enjoy the scenery.”

Thomas said that 2023 also comes with introducing new businesses to the city.

More park improvements, development ahead for Richmond Heights, mayor says (1)

In 2022 there was a lot of discussion during council meetings with officials from Belle Oaks about the $260 million mixed-use development planned within the city limits. The newest development to Richmond Heights from DealPoint Merrill, Belle Oaks, will be a multi-family and mixed-use space with walkability to dining spots and retail shopping.

Belle Oaks will include 798 market-rate apartment units across several buildings. Thomas said construction is scheduled to begin in 2023.

“We are excited to see the project come to fruition within the next few years and intend to work closely with Belle Oaks throughout 2023 to help the project move forward,” she said. “We believe it will generate lots of business and foot traffic for our community.”

More park improvements, development ahead for Richmond Heights, mayor says (2)

In addition to the construction of Belle Oaks, a new Mejier will join the Richmond Heights community. The supercenter will be approximately 150,000 square feet located at the southeast corner of Richmond and Wilson Mills roads. Though plans will further develop in 2023, the new Meijer project will be complete in 2025.

Thomas said that in addition to the new businesses in 2023, city officials will continue to work with University Hospitals to ensure that residents have access to healthcare.

On Aug 12, University Hospitals discontinued inpatient, emergency, radiology, surgical, and other ambulatory services at Richmond Heights Outpatient Campus. According to Thomas, this led to an influx of residents calling city hall with concerns that they would no longer have access to healthcare.

“UH remains dedicated to the Richmond community and will be opening a new wellness center in 2023 that will include programs for wellness and safety, maternal and child health, food security, and workforce development,” she said.

“UH has already formed a Community Advisory Board that will collaborate with us in designing the programs most important to our community members. UH has arranged several upcoming events to support mental health.”

One of these events will take place on Jan. 4 as UH clinical leaders will be collaborating again with the Richmond Heights Police Department to sponsor a regional training session for officer wellness. The session will be open to any police officer in Northeast Ohio.

Additionally, in January UH is launching a free eight-week grief counseling program for the Bedford and Richmond communities. The program will focus on coping with loss, including losing a loved one and employment.

Though the upcoming year will have its challenges Thomas said that she is confident that city staff and council can work to improve their city.

“The biggest challenge Richmond Heights faces heading into 2023 is playing catch-up on road repairs, rebuilding our deteriorating salt bin, renovating our service garage, and replacing some of the vehicles that are 25 years or older, and the outdated equipment,” shes said. “This will require spending additional funding from our general fund, support from the county/state or grant funding to serve our residents better and provide them with the resources our communities deserve.”

More park improvements, development ahead for Richmond Heights, mayor says (2024)


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