Lakemore hopes census brings city status

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent
New homes are going up in Hidden Lakes Village, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Lakemore, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

LAKEMORE  The Village of Lakemore could be closing in on the numbers needed to have an opportunity to become a city.

In Ohio, a municipality needs 5,000 residents to be able to become a city and Mayor Rich Cole said village officials are extremely excited about the possibility.

The reason for the optimism is due to Ryan Home's 500-unit Hidden Lakes housing development that is moving along.

“We are hopeful, and we think it is going to happen,” said Cole.

The village will know if it will have an opportunity to become a city when the numbers come out from the 2020 census, which is tentatively scheduled to be released on April 30. But that may be delayed due to extensions from the Census Bureau receiving the count of citizens.

Why become a city?

Cole said there is a lot more opportunity to acquire funding as a city as opposed to being a village.

At this point, Lakemore is a statutory village and not a charter village. This means officials' hands are often tied as to what they can do as a local government.

“We have to follow strictly, the Ohio Revised Code,” said Cole.

But with a charter, as required for a city, Lakemore would have opportunities to make its own laws and have more say into self-governing.

“We are a simple a statutory village that is beholding to the Ohio Revised code,” Cole said.

The charter allows for more specifics in which Lakemore has no recourse in many areas and situations. With the charter, a city can design its own rules, regulations, and laws as long as it is doing so within the parameters of the Ohio Revised Code.

If Lakemore does become a city, it will continue to have a council and mayor.

Growth in the village

Cole said there has been growth in the village. The population as of the 2010 census was a little over 3,000. Cole said officials have seen many people moving into Lakemore.

“There has been growth in the village,” said Cole. "Habitat for Humanity has been building in the village on vacant lots."

He said other developers have been inquiring about building on vacant lots as well.

“Our growth is going to happen with the Ryan development in Hidden Lakes," he said, adding that other developments such as Brittany Commons, Brittany Meadows, Brittany Point, which include homes and condos have also been building since the 2010 census. “All the new homes and families coming in will be a big boom for our levy-based services. Our Fire Department is basically a levy driven service. It is funded through property taxes. The growth will help that department. We are very thankful for the new construction of home going on in Lakemore."

If census estimates are accurate, however, it appears that it may not be until the 2030 census before city status is possible. The census estimates for 2019 have Lakemore at 3,072 residents – only four more than its official 2010 count of 3,068. There is a chance those estimates are not taking into account the new housing developments. And the village did officially see a nearly 20 percent growth rate between the 2010 and 2020 census.

Town Pump II will be the new home of the Lakemore Municipal building, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, in Lakemore, Ohio. [Jeff Lange/Beacon Journal]

Future plans

With the growth the village has experienced, means making more room for employees. The Fire Department has been sharing the Municipal building with village administration and Cole and Village Administrator Tracy Fast have given up their offices for Fire Department personnel. Lakemore will be hiring a fiscal officer.

The village has purchased a couple of properties, including the closed Town Pump bar and grill, where officials plan to move the Municipal Building once renovations are complete.

“We own the building and will be renovating it into nice offices for employees of the village,” said Cole.

This will allow for an office for the mayor, administrator, future fiscal officer and the Billing Department. The building will have ADA required men’s and women’s bathrooms. The Fire Department will then take over the rest of the existing Municipal Building.

Becoming a city also involves the requirement for a holding cell at the Police Department, something it does not have. There will be an addition to the north end of the police building allowing for a holding cell and some offices.

“We are hopeful, we think it is going to happen. I think we are going to be there,” said Cole.