Healthy Lakewood Foundation Will Receive $32.4 Million Over 16 Years
A crowd of about 50 gathered at a pavilion in Lakewood Park Tuesday evening, as the sun set behind them on Lake Erie, to hear about how the newly formed Healthy Lakewood Foundation plans to use the $32.4 million it will receive over the next 16 years.
The new foundation was formed in the wake of the 2016 Lakewood Hospital closure and the funds come from the hospital closure agreement, with the Cleveland Clinic kicking in $8 million.
The money is meant to help improve overall community health, but at the foundation's inaugural public meeting Sept. 24, there were few details as to how it will be spent. Board members used the past year organizing themselves and are now seeking community input.
Long-term Lakewood resident Kathy Heller wasn't happy with the hospital closure but hopes to see good things come from the new health funds.
“I’d like to see it go toward improvement for some of the parks, some of the infrastructure, possibly look at something in Downtown Lakewood, especially on Detroit [Avenue], where there seems to be a lot of congestion with traffic. We need to look at some alternative for moving people,” Heller said.
This type of foundation, created from a hospital closure, is not unique in Northeast Ohio, and includes Mt. Sinai, Saint Luke’s and others.
Healthy Lakewood hopes to establish a strategic plan and priorities for distributing grants by the end of the year.