Mayor Vic Collova
Welcome to Garfield Heights. Our caring community was founded in 1919 and nearly 100 years later, we have 28,849 residents, according to the 2010 United States census.
This urban suburb began as a rural, mostly farming community, part of both Newburgh and Independence townships. During that time, the area was home to a group of German immigrants who established a settlement called German Corners, now recognized with an Ohio Historical Marker on Turney Road
History records also indicate that President James A. Garfield visited our community as a child because his uncle lived on Turney Road. Garfield Park, now part of the Cleveland Metroparks system, was named after the late president. However, it was real estate developers who came up with the name Garfield Heights. The story is they wanted a more attractive name for an area once known as South Newburgh Center.
As the greater Cleveland area prospered, Garfield Heights became a place where people with a variety of immigrant histories, primarily Italians, Bohemians and Polish, came to raise their families. They established their own churches and schools and became active in creating a strong community. Our town continues to have a diverse population of people and we have numerous activities and programs that provide a strong and nurturing environment for residents of all ages.
Also important to Garfield Heights is our favorable business climate that continues to attract a mixture of industrial, commercial, retail and office developments. This successful union of residential and business interests has helped expand the number and scope of facilities, services and activities.
Our city is conveniently located in the center of Cuyahoga County, near the intersection of Interstates 480 and 77, within 15 minutes of downtown Cleveland and our region’s cultural, educational, and entertainment attractions. We also are only 15 minutes away from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.
Garfield Heights has a variety of religious and education options, a public library, quality recreation amenities, and numerous restaurant and shopping choices. Marymount Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic regional hospital, is located here.
Our city is a vibrant, full-service community and specific information about each department, as well as news items, can be accessed through links on this website. Please feel free to contact any member of my staff for assistance. My direct office line is (216) 475-4388; or e-mail me at email@example.com.
From the Desk of Mayor Vic Collova
As I begin my second term as your mayor, I am humbled by the support I have received from my hometown community the past four years. We have not had an easy time, and I am proud of the contributions and sacrifices of all of the people living and working in Garfield Heights.
To celebrate the beginning of the next elected mayoral and city council terms, there will be an official swearing-in session at 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 1 at the Civic Center. The oaths of office will be administered in the main dining room and the entire community is welcome to attend.
Immediately following the swearing-in ceremony, I invite everyone to participate in the city’s annual Holiday Lighting celebration. It includes music, the lighting of our outdoor holiday displays, refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus. Children also will have the opportunity to get their pictures taken with Santa at the annual Holiday Skate with Santa for Garfield Heights residents from 6-8 p.m. at the Dan Kostel Recreation Center ice rink.
Garfield Heights continues to attract businesses and I am happy to report that a new Save A Lot store is now open at Garfield Boulevard and Turney Road. The new owner invested a lot of money in renovating what many will remember as the old Medic Drug or Silverman’s store. We encourage this type of rehabilitation project as well as new construction such as the Dunkin’ Donuts opening soon on Turney near McCracken Road.
I have received some phone calls from people wanting to honor their loved ones, so we are creating a walkway of engraved bricks behind our new Welcome Wall at the Turney Road fire station. Information about the Walkway of Recognition Project will be available on our website, www.garfieldhts.org, and at the Civic Center where orders can be placed.
Ours is a giving community, and so I am joining with the members of AFSCME Local #2729 to provide hats and gloves for the needy children in our community. Residents can drop off warm winter gear at the Civic Center, Recreation Center, Fire or Police station through Dec. 20.
Also, the annual Shop with a Cop fundraiser is underway. This program started at the Garfield Heights police station and thousands of children have been treated to holiday shopping sprees since its inception. Our department and officers from neighboring communities really go all out to make kids in need feel special each year. Tickets are $1 each and six for $5 and can be purchased at our Civic Center or from some of our police officers.
We are approaching the holiday season and I hope we can be a little kinder to one another and to support those in need. We look forward to a new year here in Garfield Heights as we remain a strong and caring community.
To view the archives, please click here.
Mayor Clarifies Auditor’s Scorecard
The financial health of Garfield Heights has improved dramatically since we were in fiscal emergency several years ago. Last week, the Ohio state auditor issued a new “Fiscal Physical” tool to help cities and counties stay fit.
A Cleveland.com writer wrongly interpreted the auditor’s scorecard and mistakenly reported that Garfield Heights is headed for financial trouble. That is not the case. While we certainly still face challenges, the city has materially improved its financial performance since 2009 and continues to make impressive strides in its effort to operate in a fiscally healthy and disciplined manner.
My administration and our city council members are very proud that we are successfully managing the resources of the city. We have had to deal with severe cuts from the state, orchestrated by Gov. John Kasich. And the reductions in the collection of local property and income taxes hurt us considerably as well. This loss of money is beyond our control. But, I can assure everyone we are dealing with it in a responsible manner.
We spoke with the auditor’s office last week about the new “Fiscal Physical” tool and its 2015 preliminary report. “The detail of the report shows you have made progress,” said Benjamin Marrison, director of communications for the state auditor. “It is obvious how proud the Garfield Heights mayor and staff are of the progress they have made in improving the city’s fiscal health.” “The state indicators provide a snapshot of the fiscal health of each city and county in Ohio. In Garfield Heights, the indicators reflect that real progress has been made,” Marrison said.
The auditor’s office reports that local leaders throughout Ohio have performed well in navigating the financial storms they’ve faced. As mayor, I am pleased that the state auditor’s office is proactive in its efforts to provide tools to local governments to assist us in evaluating our financial condition. But, I also feel it should be more vigilant as to presenting the financial health indicators within the proper framework and context of the city’s historic and current financial performance.
Basically, what the state auditor’s office reported, we already know. The analysis provided by the state auditor’s office is nothing new to the city administration. We continue to budget and forecast in an extremely conservative manner. Garfield Heights scored in the “positive outlook” category for half of the auditor’s financial health indicators. And we are diligently working to improve what the auditor’s office considers less than positive indicators. The state auditor’s office reports that 82 percent of Ohio counties and 92 percent of Ohio cities have at least one “cautionary” or “critical” indicator.
Here in Garfield Heights, our bills are paid on time. Our loan payments are made on time and our debt has been cut in half since 2009. We are in much better shape financially than we were when I became mayor. I can assure everyone living and working in Garfield Heights that my administration is committed to our city being a financially stable and healthy community.
Highlights from Mayor Vic Collova’s 2015 State of the City Address
Mayor Vic Collova presented his annual State of the City Address in January at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The event is sponsored by the Garfield Heights Chamber of Commerce. For highlights of the mayor’s speech, click here.
Summer Fest 2015
More than 700 people enjoyed the Summer Fest and Safety Fair at the Garfield Heights Civic Center on Sunday, Aug 23. The event featured music, games, food, prizes, a community room filled with local groups and organizations, pony rides, face painting, an ice cream social hosted by the Garfield Heights Historical Society, K-9 demonstration, Metro Life Flight helicopter and more.
Sponsors included Fanton Logistics, Inc., OHM Advisors, Inc., Terrace Construction, Turney Auto Parts, Specialized Construction, Inc., Cleveland Clinic Marymount Hospital, EGi enerco group inc., The Fedeli Group,1-888 OHIOCOMP, Bedford Heights Airgas, Inc., Best Equipment, NOPEC, Great Lakes Billing Associates, Inc., Boyas Excavating, Royal Landscape Gardening, Inc., Tomlinson Industries, Jursich’s McDonald’s Restaurants, Golubski Deliberato Funeral Home, Inc., Hans’ Freightliner, Ward Three Councilman Michael Nenadovich, Ward Four Councilman Eugene Glenn, Cintas, Firefighters Local 340, St. Monica Catholic Church, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Sterling Professional Group, City of Garfield Heights Employees.
To view the pictures from this event, please click here.
Highlights from Mayor Vic Collova’s 2014 State of the City Address
Mayor Vic Collova presented his annual State of the City Address on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The event is sponsored by the Garfield Heights Chamber of Commerce. For highlights of the mayor’s speech, click here.
Marymount Hospital Community Service Award
Marymount Hospital President Joanne Zeroske, Lenny Piazza, Chris Piazza, Jeannie Collova and Mayor Vic Collova
Marymount Hospital presented its annual Community Service Award to Chris Piazza for her generous contributions to the city of Garfield Heights and numerous organizations and causes. The award was presented on Dec. 9, 2014 during the Marymount Hospital Community Advisory Council meeting.
Known throughout the community as someone with a big heart and “can do” attitude, Chris left a legacy here. A retired city worker, she started the Garfield Heights Green Up Project when she grew tired of looking at a weed-laden flower bed outside the employee entrance to the Civic Center.
“We can do better than this,’” Chris said, and she brought flowers to plant from her own garden. "It was only a couple of flowers, but people started telling me that seeing them brightened their day." From there, the idea blossomed. Since the city could no longer afford to plant flowers or hire landscapers, Piazza asked if she and a group of volunteers could do it themselves. Local media helped get the word out for volunteers and donations. "It's my way of giving back, and it's amazing how many other people feel the same way," Piazza said.
The group spurred the revitalization of landscaped areas at the Safety Forces Memorial that honors fallen firefighters and police officers at the Garfield Heights Civic Center, the clock tower area on Turney Road, the Veterans' Memorial at Garfield Boulevard and Turney Road, the Veterans’ Memorials at Veterans Plaza behind the Garfield Heights Historical Society, and the mini park area known as Tonsing Island at the corner of Turney and Tonsing. In addition, the group did landscaping work around the new Welcome Wall in front of the fire station at Turney and McCracken, a project that included the sponsorship of Marymount Hospital.
The group’s impressive efforts led to a WKYC-TV3 “See the Possible” feature and a $500 donation each from Petitti’s Garden Center and TV-3.
Another project Chris spearheaded was the replacement of tattered U.S. flags that were hanging on municipal flagpoles. She contacted members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3290 and helped lead a campaign to purchase 150 new flags, pole mounts and brackets. “People are generous for a good cause,” she said. “If I see something that needs to be done, there’s usually an easy solution.”
Chris also helped to start Harvest Fest, an annual event with hayrides and fall activities that benefits the city’s three community gardens where residents can grow their own produce. Additionally, she organized the City Lights Craft Fair, a holiday event with music and entertainment that lasted 17 years.
Chris also has volunteered with Meals on Wheels; cooked for youth retreat programs at Camp Christopher; became a clown/mime to entertain nursing homes and retreat groups: belonged to the Red Hat Society’s local Raspberry Truffles group: developed and led an exercise program for an older audience and people with disabilities; been an active PTA member; participated on the Jubilee Committee to celebrate the city’s 70th birthday; served as president of the Garfield Heights Home Days Committee for three years; and supported the Music Express Show Choir when her granddaughter was a member.
Chris is a member of the Garfield Heights Historical Society, the Garfield Heights Community Gardens committee, the Garfield Heights Democratic Club and the Garfield Heights Friends and Parents of People with Special Needs.
Chris has always had a tender heart for individuals with disabilities. For many years she worked as a secretary and business manager at Koinonia Homes, a non-profit organization that operates group homes for disabled adults. Her office was on the back porch, which was fortuitous for residents who sought her help or counsel as they entered the back door. She also served on Koinonia’s board of trustees and organized several highly successful fundraisers for the organization.
Chris also developed a special friendship with her 60-year-old cousin with special needs. She and her siblings decided to sell their childhood home to Our Lady of the Wayside to develop a group home now known as Turney House, with the stipulation that her cousin could continue to live in the family home. Chris is an Our Lady of the Wayside volunteer as well.
For more than 30 years Chris and her husband, Lenny, an auxiliary policeman, were members of The Blue Knights Motorcycle Club and rode all over the country to promote motorcycle safety and participate in charity fundraising events. Married 46 years, Chris and Lenny have two sons, Scott and Mark. Scott and his wife Paula have two children, Sierra, who works for Disney World in Orlando, Fl., and Sam, a student at St. Ignatius High School.
Mayor Vic Collova presented Chris with a proclamation naming December 9, 2014 as Chris Piazza Day in the city of Garfield Heights.
“I’ve been told that people shouldn’t make eye contact with me for they will end up participating in one of my projects,” Chris said. “We’ve done so much good for so many; I don’t want to see it stop.”
To view our articles on previous winners, please click here.
Birthday Bash 2014
Garfield Heights residents had a great time celebrating the city’s founding in 1919 at the 95th Birthday Bash on Aug. 24, 2014. More than 700 people enjoyed a car show, music, food, games and fun.
To view the pictures from this event, please click here.
Holiday Lighting Ceremony
Area residents enjoyed a musical performance by Councilman Matt Burke, Christmas Carols by Garfield Heights Girl Scouts and a visit from Santa Claus.
To view our pictures on our previous Holiday Lighting Ceremonies, please click here.
Memorial Highway Sign Honors Marine Sgt. Adam Benjamin
A memorial highway sign honors the service of Marine Master Sgt. Adam Benjamin, a 1993 Garfield Heights High School graduate who was killed August 18, 2009 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Family, friends and local officials participated in a dedication ceremony Friday, June 14 at the Garfield Heights Veterans Memorial, 5407 Turney Road. The sign will be posted on a section of State Route 10 in North Ridgeville where Benjamin's parents, Judy and Robert Watters, now reside.
Benjamin, a career Marine, was 34 years old when he was killed during a combat mission. He was an explosives ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
The sergeant joined the Marines right after graduating from high school. He was deployed twice to Iraq, from February to October 2007 and again from February to September 2008. He received several awards, including commendation medals and from both the Navy and Marines Corps. He was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Operation Enduring Freedom mission and was killed one month after he arrived there.
"This brave young man did not join the Marine Corps for glory," said Mayor Vic Collova. "He signed up for duty because he believed in service to country and the ideals of freedom and democracy."
"Unfortunately, he and his family paid the ultimate price for his beliefs. It is only fitting he be remembered with a memorial highway marker saluting his service to America and all of its citizens," Collova said.
"The sign will remind all who pass it than an honorable Marine sacrificed his life."
Garfield Heights residents and officials also paid tribute to Sgt. Benjamin and fallen Army Specialist Brad A. Davis by naming the street through the Civic Center complex "Davis-Benjamin Way." A memorial highway sign on Interstate 480 honors Davis' service to country. A dedication ceremony was held last year at the Garfield Heights Veterans Memorial.
New Welcome Wall Emphasizes Community Pride
People traveling along Turney Road in Garfield Heights may have noticed the city's attractive new Welcome Wall at the intersection of McCracken Road in front of Fire Station #1.
"This is something special for our community," said Mayor Vic Collova during a June 13 dedication ceremony. "It marks the center of town and shows community pride," he said. "And we also emphasize our pride by flying the national, state and a newly designed city flag."
"The wall represents the partnership between our city and its business community," Collova said. "100 percent of the cost of this project was paid for with donations from our supporters."
Sponsors included Marymount Hospital, The Family Pet Clinic, Kokosing Materials Inc., Mr. Redi-Mix, NRP Contractors, LLC; Baumann Enterprises, Inc., Kurtz Brothers and CST Products, LLC.
Garfield Heights Service Department employees Tony Lovano, Jeff Swallow, Paul Birk, Scott Stohlman and Mickey McGuire constructed the wall. Landscaping for the project was provided by Garfield Heights "Green Up" Project volunteers. Ken Sinchak and Briana Faenrich were responsible for the landscape design and plant selection. Former city employee Becki Simons designed the new city flag. She is a 2005 Garfield Heights High School alumnae now working for the city of Pepper Pike.
A plaque, created by Sheffield Monuments, is being placed on the wall to recognize project donors.