Splash ground omitted from Mayfield Heights pool design; DiCicco returns after COVID-19 battle

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — During a City Council Committee-of-the Whole meeting Monday (Nov. 8), council members heard about the latest changes in plans for the city’s anticipated new community center/swimming pool.

Christopher Trotta, of the build and design firm LevelHEADS, met with the public at the current community center Oct. 25 to inform residents of the plan as it stood at that time.

On Monday, Trotta told council members that plans now have the new community center building being moved by 30 degrees so that it will be constructed further away from existing power lines at the site, which is several feet west of the current DeJohn Community Center, 6306 Marsol Road, and just south of Interstate 271.

The building, which will shelter the pool area from the freeway, will also be parallel to I-271, which will allow builders to maximize the water detention area behind the building.

“We think it’s safer that way,” Trotta said, noting that the gymnasium — the gabled roof of which will be the tallest portion of the structure — would be the closest part of the building to the power lines, and that construction workers would not have to be in close proximity to those lines.

In another change, designers have eliminated the splash grounds that had been planned for the pool area, a move that will shave about $500,000 from the project’s $17 million budget.

“It (the splash ground) was the lowest on the list from the standpoint of the community needs and wants for the aquatic center,” Trotta said. “But some of the features (of the splash ground) — the water features — we’re going to put in the zero-depth pool, so we’re not really losing that capability.”

Trotta said removing the splash ground would improve aquatic center safety, as well as allow an enlargement of the planned playground area.

The south side of the community center will feature a patio upon which yoga classes and other activities can be held, and a 6-foot-tall fence will be installed to lend privacy to residents of neighboring Sunningdale Road to the west.

Trotta said the community room in the new center will be able to accommodate 225 people with tables and chairs, and 500 people with just chairs. The gym will be capable of holding 720 people for events.

When asked by Councilman Michael Ballistrea, Trotta said demolition of the current community center will likely take place in the late first quarter of 2022, perhaps in late March.

Trotta noted that construction costs are rising and work is being done with construction manager, Albert M. Higley Co., to keep the project within budget.

Council is receiving regular monthly updates on the project’s planning from Trotta.

DiCicco is back

Mayor Anthony DiCicco took part in his first council meeting since late August after being hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19.

DiCicco told those assembled that he is “not 100 percent,” but that he was glad to be back. While he was hospitalized, DiCicco also experienced the deaths of his mother and father.

DiCicco, with the assistance of oxygen, said he is now working his regular amount of time at City Hall and at his family business, DiCicco & Sons Funeral Home, 5975 Mayfield Road.

Among his duties during Monday’s council meeting, an emotional DiCicco read aloud a resolution commending late Councilwoman Donna Finney for her service to the city.

Finney, a onetime Mayfield school board member, served as a council member from 2006 to 2013, and again from 2016 until her death from cancer on Sept. 9. Finney was City Council president in 2018 and 2019.

DiCicco read the resolution as several of Finney’s family members stood before him.

Local business news

During the meeting’s mayor’s report, DiCicco talked about businesses soon to open or already opened in Mayfield Heights.

Coming to Golden Gate Shopping Center will be clothing store Ross Dress for Less, a chain of discount department stores headquartered in California. Also, just opened Nov. 4 at 1547 Golden Gate Drive, is Guitar Center, which moved from its former Mayfield Road site within the city.

Meanwhile, BIBIBOP Asian Grill will be opening soon at the Eastgate Shopping Center off SOM Center Road, and pet grooming salon Barking Broadway has opened at 5823 Mayfield Road. Barking Broadway had formerly been located at 5199 Mayfield Road.

Also, Larry Ottino, developer and owner of the Mayland property, 5868 Mayfield Road, was in attendance at Monday’s council meeting. Ottino said that Starbucks recently opened on the former site of Sonic, and that construction is expected to start this week on Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. At its Monday meeting, council approved a canopy for the Raising Cane’s drive-thru.

Further, Ottino said work is expected to begin Thursday (Nov. 11) on the main road into the shopping center. That main road will be located directly across Mayfield Road from Mayfield Ridge Road.

Ottino said Sheetz, the gas station/convenience store/custom food shop, will likely begin construction at Mayland in February.

Election results

Mayfield Heights voters re-elected four at-large incumbents to fill the four council seats up for election this year.

Tentatively winning re-election were Councilmen Donald Manno, Robert DeJohn and Michael Ballistrea, as well as Councilwoman Susan Sabetta, according to final, unofficial Cuyahoga County Board of Elections results.

A recount will take place, as Manno, with 1,353 votes, finished just nine votes ahead of fifth-place finisher — and Finney’s daughter — Jessica Finney Brown.

Read more from the Sun Messenger.

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