By Jeff Gallatin
Mayor Paul Koomar has decided he wants to help some projects reach fruition in Bay Village and has filed to seek a full four-year term as chief executive.
Koomar, who was sworn in as mayor Jan. 1, replaced Debbie Sutherland, the longest-serving mayor in Bay Village history, who resigned in late September to retire from public office and start a political consulting business. Koomar said he has been getting his petitions signed and preparing to seek the municipal chief executive’s post in the fall elections.
“I’ve really enjoyed my first few months in the new position,” said Koomar, who served on council for more than 16 years. He succeeded Sutherland as the Ward 2 City Council representative in October 2000, when she took the mayor’s post. He
became City Council president in 2012, being elected unopposed after Brian Cruse chose not to seek re-election.
Koomar said there are several projects and proposals that will benefit Bay Village that he wants to remain involved with getting finalized.
“We’re working on getting the new county library branch site finalized and it built,” he said. “That will be a tremendous project for the city. They’ve got some top after-school programs for students and all the branches have great programs in general. This would be the newest branch for the county and have the newest equipment possible. The great thing is the county library system already has the money set aside to build it, we just need to make the final decision where to put it.”
Koomar said city and library officials currently remain focused on a site in Cahoon Park on the Bayway Cabin property. He said library staffers are completing their study of the area to make sure there are no potential problems.
“(Law director) Gary Ebert has checked the Cahoon will provisions and assures us that having a library in the park fits within the guidelines,” he said. “There are four references to a library in the provisions and a previous library was located in the park.”
Getting the library in Cahoon Park goes along with the city’s already underway explorations of perhaps re-connecting portions of the park with other parts of the city via bridge or pathway.
“We’ve been looking at that and we think it would be a big plus for Bay Village,” he said.
Koomar said completing some long-discussed major sewer and waterline projects is also something he wants to help see get done.
“We’ve been talking about the Sunset Drive project for some time and we need to get it finalized and underway,” he said. “We’ve also got the Bruce, Russell and Douglas work which needs to be done. And keeping strong water and sewer services overall has been an issue for some time that we need to keep working on.”
Koomar said he also would like to see the upgrades done at the Knickerbocker Senior Housing and a more definitive senior housing plan done.
“We’ve got to make sure that people who want to stay in Bay Village as they grow older have housing options available to them,” he said.
In addition, Koomar said he wants to maintain the strong relationship between the city and school district and help the Bay schools maintain their strong standing in Ohio and nationally.
“Having such strong schools is a big part of what makes Bay attractive to families,” he said.
Making sure Bay stays in the top tier of Cleveland suburbs is also important to Koomar.
“We’ve got to keep active in the region,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot in attending meetings for the West Shore Council of Governments, NOACA (Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency) and other groups,” he said. “We all can help each other.”
As of Tuesday morning, no one had filed to run against Koomar, although petitions had been pulled.