The future of the green space known as Central Park in Eastlake is still undetermined.
Eastlake’s Finance Committee met at City Hall on April 19 to discuss a last-minute proposal submitted as an alternative solution to leasing the land to the American Croatian Lodge, which plans to repurpose most of the park into first-class soccer fields managed by a nonprofit organization for leagues.
City Council was prepared to vote in favor of sending the lease agreement between the city of Eastlake and the American Croatian to Mayor Dennis Morley on April 12.
That agreement would have allowed the lodge to lease Central Park for $1 a year for a 15- to 20-year period. The lodge had intended to build five soccer fields on that property and assume full responsibility for maintaining the almost 7 acres of land for the duration of the lease agreement. While a nonprofit entity would have run the soccer fields, the lodge had agreed to rent the fields out for use to the general public.
Morley had said prior to the April 12 meeting that the city cannot afford to maintain the Central Park property.
However, the decision to send the lease on to the mayor was tabled when an alternative proposal by Eastlake resident Jessica Trivisonno was submitted.
Trivisonno requested that she, along with a small group or other residents referring to themselves as Eastlake Community Partners, be allowed to lease and maintain the property known as Central Park instead. Council agreed to send Trivisonno’s proposal to the Finance Committee for review.
On April 19, the committee discussed the submitted proposal with Trivisonno and about 20 members of the general public who attended as well.
Questions were raised by council regarding the proposal and the people involved with the Partners group. Council wanted to know if the members of Trivisonno’s group would be covered under the $1 million insurance policy she stated she would have.
“We don’t have a policy because we don’t have the lease yet,” she said.
When asked again if the Partners members would be insured under the policy, she responded she didn’t feel quite confident to answer that question yet because they still don’t have the lease. Trivisonno said she hasn’t contacted insurance companies about the policy, but if it was required, she would have it cover everyone who was a part of the group.
Questions were asked on what their plans were for renovations and repairs to the land and structures. Council asked if there was a dollar figure Trivisonno could give on what donations she had received.
“We have $4,520 dollars in cash that we would be able to use,” said Trivisonno, who also said that she did not have values for supplies she states were donated.
Trivisonno said more funds could be raised through fundraisers and through softball tournaments, once they are able to get dirt on the fields.
In addition, Trivisonno said she has a donation for roofing supplies and other building materials.
Trivisonno mentioned Willoughby resident Floyd Byron, who owns commercial equipment and would do the required mowing and maintenance of the property for the group.
Council asked if Byron was licensed, bonded, and insured through the city, and if he owned a professional lawn care business. Byron responded no , and he was not insured. Council then raised concerns of lawsuits if someone was injured during mowing, if no bond and insurance is in place.
A representative from the American Croatian Lodge said a nonprofit organization would be running a soccer league after they put state-of-the-art soccer fields into the park area, and they are willing to offer a discounted admission to the league not only for the residents of Eastlake , but also for the residents of Lake County.
After almost two hours of questions and discussion, no resolution was reached.
“Council was divided on how to proceed so the matter was tabled to give Trivisonno the opportunity to meet with the Croatian Lodge to see if they are able to accommodate some of Trivisonno’s ideas, so that is where we are,” said Eastlake City Council President Laura DePledge. “We are going to come back in two weeks and see if we can reach some sort of accommodation or comprise to where both parties are satisfied.”