MAYOR GARY W. STARR GIVES STATE OF CITY ADDRESS AND HIS VISION FOR THE FUTURE

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By Grant Segall, The Plain Dealer — A new police station, an extended city campus, a new library and new hotel were among preliminary plans discussed by city leaders at Thursday’s annual State of the City luncheon.

Mayor Gary Starr said he hopes to build the new police station on Bagley Road across from the current station and campus. He also hopes eventually to spread the southern campus eastward to Big Creek Reservation and persuade the Cleveland Metroparks to put a parking lot and pavilion there.

In addition, he wants to spread westward to Middleburg Commons city park and persuade the Cuyahoga County Public Library to put a new branch there.

At the luncheon at the Middleburg Heights Community Center, City Architect Jim Larsen said, “We think this area is the front yard of a great community.”

After the luncheon, Starr said the combined campus straddling Bagley would “resemble a complete and iconic college.” He expects all new buildings to share the red brick and traditional stonework of the northern campus and many other buildings around the city.

In the 1970s, worried about a justice center bombing in Shaker Heights and bombings elsewhere, leaders built the current police station without windows. Starr said it’s too small for today’s uses and takes up space needed for parking for City Hall.

The new station has not yet been designed, but officials say it might contain about 30,000 square feet, including 10,000 for indoor parking for police vehicles.

For the station, officials would have to persuade owners to sell five houses. For the rest of the southern campus, they’d need about a dozen more homes. They promised not to use eminent domain there or at any other sites discussed Thursday.

Sponsored by the Middleburg Heights Chamber of Commerce, Starr and Alex Pesta of City Architecture discussed long-standing hopes of developing about 40 acres on Pearl Road and about 50 on Bagley Road. In recent months, City Engineer Michael Mackay has begun designing a public road through the Bagley site, which lies on the east side of Interstate 71. Both sites have many different parcels and owners.

Starr said it might take several years to build the station and redevelop Pearl and Bagley.

He also talked about the city’s healthy finances and happy people. He said a recent survey of 500 residents found that 95% considered Middleburg a good place to raise a family.

About 25 businesses moved in or expanded here last year. Starr said that Quadax, a leading medical biller that expanded here, is already looking for room to add another 200 jobs. What’s more, Marriott also asked to build a roughly $10 million Residence Inn on Bagley west of Southwest General Medical Center.