City of Lakewood and Lakewood City Schools Formalize Duties for Fields and Facilities Maintenance through Joint Agreement | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

City of Lakewood and Lakewood City Schools Formalize Duties for Fields and Facilities Maintenance through Joint Agreement

September 21, 2021

City to pay for repairs to Foxx and Usher fields this offseason, share costs for annual repairs with Lakewood City Schools moving forward

The City of Lakewood and the Lakewood City Schools have reached terms on a Joint Agreement that clearly establishes the roles and responsibilities of each party for ongoing maintenance and capital improvements to city-owned fields that are heavily used by the Lakewood Recreation Department. Mayor Meghan George presented the details of the Joint Agreement to Lakewood City Council and the legislation was passed unanimously at the September 20, 2021 meeting.

“This new agreement provides the clarity that was lacking for decades between City Hall and the Lakewood City Schools / Lakewood Recreation on where each party would be responsible for specific maintenance and capital needs,” said Lakewood Mayor Meghan George. “I’m excited that we can now move forward and ensure that we meet our standards for excellence in Lakewood and provide the level of quality at our fields that everyone in Lakewood expects and deserves.”

The City and Lakewood Recreation have an uncommon relationship compared to other communities in Ohio. Across the state, almost all other recreation departments are housed within city government, while Lakewood’s falls within the School District’s oversight.  The City and the Lakewood City Schools have had a decades-long and highly beneficial partnership in recreation. But with no formal, written agreement setting out whose staff would perform what types of maintenance and where the financial resources for maintenance and capital needs would originate, challenges have arisen over time.

“I see Lakewood’s model having immense community benefit by ensuring that health, wellness, and physical activity are deeply engrained as part of the growth and development of Lakewood’s children,” Mayor George said. “But as decades passed, the roles and responsibilities of who would bear the primary duty for the care of fields became blurry. This new joint agreement makes very clear what the respective duties of the City and the Rec Department are.”

Key elements of the agreement include each party’s role in ongoing maintenance and capital expenses, as well as establishing a formal annual schedule for regular meetings between Public Works and the Recreation Department to ensure that field condition issues are prevented and maintenance and improvements timelines are clearly understood. The City does not maintain the fields heavily used by the Recreation Department – this will continue under the new agreement. But because of this, issues of communication are key to ensure awareness of any potential issues are shared between the City and the Recreation Department.

After use of the fields concludes this fall, the city administration has agreed to fully fund infield upgrades at Jimmie Foxx Field in Kaufmann Park and George J. Usher Field at Madison Park in advance of the 2022 sports seasons. Moving forward, each year the City will repair and recrown one of the six fields on a rotating basis during the offseason to ensure high standards are maintained. The City and the Board also agreed to meet annually prior to September 15th to agree on which field will be addressed in the coming offseason, based on specific conditions at each field and industry standards.  The Board will contribute $20,000 annually to this work with the City paying for any other costs.

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