Chagrin Falls Remains Active Throughout Year Despite Pandemic Concerns | Local government

Despite lingering concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the large community of Chagrin Falls remained operational and active in 2021:

Restaurants have found new ways to stay open in the first months of 2021 during the still raging COVID-19 pandemic.

By mid-December, all six would deliver on their promise as the warm community of 11 existing restaurants stood firm and followed restrictive safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to redevelop their dining rooms to new social distancing standards. and reopen their doors.

None of the restaurants in Chagrin Falls had closed permanently.

Small shops and stores in the village slowly opened even as distancing warrants made it difficult to serve more than a few buyers at a time.

The warrants were lifted and by the summer the city center had once again become a center of activity.

• In addition to restaurants, Main Street welcomed two new toy and gift shops opened in two vacant windows.

A pop-up shop for the holiday season filled another big gaping vacancy on North Franklin Street hoping to stay there permanently.

• A reboot of the Grief Falls Merchants Association went official in the spring with the election of president, Samantha Probst, just in time for the annual sidewalk sale and new initiatives including a Halloween party for kids and parents along the sidewalks of the shopping district and Christmas activities, including free traditional horse-drawn carriage rides.

• COVID-19 has forced many office workers and businessmen to work from home during the lockdown.

A substantial number of them would find this practical, leading to decisions not to renew their office leases and leaving office building owners to wonder if massive vacations would be their new norm.

Demands to allow retail service businesses such as barber shops to fill vacant positions have resulted in council approval, but a subsequent rejection and initiative petition will ask voters to decide the matter. once and for all in the May elections.

• The Grief Documentary Film Festival announced its move into a storefront and upstairs office space on North Franklin Street and in early December had purchased the building. The October festival was held in a hybrid version of its old self, with films showing in person in fewer venues and via a streaming service that allowed for in-home viewing.

• There was a change of leadership at the Valley Art Center when eight-year-old CEO Mary Ann Breisch decided to retire. Rebecca Gruss took office as ACC celebrated its 50th anniversary serving the region’s seasoned and professional artists as well as fine arts and crafts students.

• Meanwhile, on River Street, the Chagrin Valley Little Theater was dark but not quite inactive. Streaming performance experiences have helped fill the void and fuel the need for local theater. Staff changes at CVLT also took place in 2021. Margaret Reardon has been appointed Executive Director of the Theater with Tom West as Technical Director of the Theater and a full season of in-person theater is slated for 2022.

• Chagrin Falls parks and green spaces took center stage in 2021 with preliminary plans for the new Grove Hill Park, as a passive park with a loop trail and meeting entrance / patio . North Main and West Cottage Street Park, donated to the village in 2020 by the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. It will be ready for visitors, provisionally, in 2023.

• Underway at the end of 2021, the development of the new pedestrian path from the arboretum on Vincent Street to the riverside and to Cleveland Street. The path follows the remains of a path used in the past. In the fall of 2021, the village council ordered the posting of “no parking” and “dead end” signs as a means of protecting their privacy.

• As part of the park completion, the re-routing of the Riverside Park trail that will also serve to accommodate another improvement, the redevelopment of the Riverside Park play area. Mark Reigelman conceives it. His vision for the region – after speaking to residents and village leaders – will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2022. The construction of the possible playground will be funded by donations.

• The Chagrin Valley Jaycees announced midway through the year that they will be hosting Blossom Time in the fall at Riverside Park as Oktoberfest with many of the same Blossom Time attractions. The village ordinance banning alcohol in public parks resulted in a reduction in plans which were completely canceled in May when it became apparent that the village’s competing activities would impact attendance and thus the profits that the village would have. organization collects for charities and nonprofits in the region. In September, instead, the Jaycees sponsored a food truck rally at Triangle Park to boost the annual village-wide garage sale.

• In November, voters in Chagrin Falls elected three new council members – from nine candidates – from its ranks. Michael Corkran, Jack Subel and Brian Drum will be sworn in on January 3. Outgoing Jan Evans and Darren Wyville chose not to run and James Newell was not re-elected.

The five Charter amendments won the confidence of voters. The main one is the extension to four years for the seven seats on the board. Voters agreed that the two-year terms did not give new members time to learn the intricacies of local government.

• The Jewish holiday of Hannukah made history in Chagrin Falls in early December when the first candle of the first menorah ever displayed in the village of Bell Street Park. The eight-branched menorah was donated by a non-Jewish village resident who first suggested the idea in 2020, but too late for the village’s approval process.