North Royalton City Council unanimously adopted legislation that will forge a new lease between the City and the North Royalton City School District for rights of the joint use and access of a portion of Memorial Park on State Road. This agreement is in addition to separate lease agreements in place for the tennis courts and basketball courts at Memorial Park.
The City owns the Memorial Park property and the School District’s High School and Middle School property adjoins Memorial Park. Portions of the baseball and softball fields straddle both properties. The City has leased the fields, soccer field and walking path to the School District since 2011. Since that time, the District was given first use priority. That priority will not change, according to North Royalton Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz. He explained that as with the tennis and basketball courts, the school district primarily uses them during the school year, and mostly during the day, so there have been no problems.
The new agreement came to light when the School District indicated that they wanted to improve the fields by installing artificial turf and other improvements in order to provide for a greater usage by their interscholastic teams. The fields are currently grass fields. “They are probably spending a half to a million dollars,” Antoskiewicz said. “When you make that kind of investment, you want assurances.” He went on to say that “before the lease, let’s say that they make that improvement. What if we would say, we want more access, it is our property. This is just peace of mind for everyone. They just want to make sure, as we do with the senior center, that if we put money into it, that we get the value out of it.” The term of the lease is twenty-five years and replaces the License and Joint Use Agreement of January 9, 2018.
Laub said that the District could spend close to $1.5 million by the time the project is complete. At this time, the District is looking at several options, which will be dependent upon the cost of underground work. “We want a longer lease to protect the investment,” said North Royalton School Superintendent Mike Laub. “We are entering into this for this long because of the massive capital investment that the District is making.”
Laub stated, “that process has been good. . . Actually, it’s been a really good conversation of that lease agreement representing what we do. I think over time, what happens is what’s in the agreement and how we function with one another practically. We’re trying to get the agreement to really reflect the practicality of what we do, and I think we’re in a really good place.”
“I am very appreciative of the efforts made by the Mayor and Council,” said Laub. “ When we share, residents win.” Now that the City has officially approved the lease contract, it will go to the North Royalton Board of Education, where they will vote for the approval for the School District. The lease will begin on the first day of the month, following the adoption by the North Royalton City Council and the Board of Education.

Contributing Writer