Mayor Vic Collova

Welcome to Garfield Heights. Our caring community was founded in 1919 and nearly 100 years later, we have 28,849 residents, according to the 2010 United States census.

This urban suburb began as a rural, mostly farming community, part of both Newburgh and Independence townships. During that time, the area was home to a group of German immigrants who established a settlement called German Corners, now recognized with an Ohio Historical Marker on Turney Road

History records also indicate that President James A. Garfield visited our community as a child because his uncle lived on Turney Road. Garfield Park, now part of the Cleveland Metroparks system, was named after the late president. However, it was real estate developers who came up with the name Garfield Heights. The story is they wanted a more attractive name for an area once known as South Newburgh Center.

As the greater Cleveland area prospered, Garfield Heights became a place where people with a variety of immigrant histories, primarily Italians, Bohemians and Polish, came to raise their families. They established their own churches and schools and became active in creating a strong community. Our town continues to have a diverse population of people and we have numerous activities and programs that provide a strong and nurturing environment for residents of all ages.

Also important to Garfield Heights is our favorable business climate that continues to attract a mixture of industrial, commercial, retail and office developments. This successful union of residential and business interests has helped expand the number and scope of facilities, services and activities.

Our city is conveniently located in the center of Cuyahoga County, near the intersection of Interstates 480 and 77, within 15 minutes of downtown Cleveland and our region’s cultural, educational, and entertainment attractions. We also are only 15 minutes away from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Garfield Heights has a variety of religious and education options, a public library, quality recreation amenities, and numerous restaurant and shopping choices. Marymount Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic regional hospital, is located here.

Our city is a vibrant, full-service community and specific information about each department, as well as news items, can be accessed through links on this website. Please feel free to contact any member of my staff for assistance.  My direct office line is (216) 475-4388; or e-mail me at


From the Desk of Mayor Vic Collova

Update coming soon...

To view the archives, please click here.



Mayor Clarifies Auditor’s Scorecard

The financial health of Garfield Heights has improved dramatically since we were in fiscal emergency several years ago. Last week, the Ohio state auditor issued a new “Fiscal Physical” tool to help cities and counties stay fit.  

A writer wrongly interpreted the auditor’s scorecard and mistakenly reported that Garfield Heights is headed for financial trouble. That is not the case. While we certainly still face challenges, the city has materially improved its financial performance since 2009 and continues to make impressive strides in its effort to operate in a fiscally healthy and disciplined manner.

My administration and our city council members are very proud that we are successfully managing the resources of the city. We have had to deal with severe cuts from the state, orchestrated by Gov. John Kasich. And the reductions in the collection of local property and income taxes hurt us considerably as well. This loss of money is beyond our control. But, I can assure everyone we are dealing with it in a responsible manner.

We spoke with the auditor’s office last week about the new “Fiscal Physical” tool and its 2015 preliminary report. “The detail of the report shows you have made progress,” said Benjamin Marrison, director of communications for the state auditor. “It is obvious how proud the Garfield Heights mayor and staff are of the progress they have made in improving the city’s fiscal health.” “The state indicators provide a snapshot of the fiscal health of each city and county in Ohio. In Garfield Heights, the indicators reflect that real progress has been made,” Marrison said.

The auditor’s office reports that local leaders throughout Ohio have performed well in navigating the financial storms they’ve faced. As mayor, I am pleased that the state auditor’s office is proactive in its efforts to provide tools to local governments to assist us in evaluating our financial condition. But, I also feel it should be more vigilant as to presenting the financial health indicators within the proper framework and context of the city’s historic and current financial performance.

Basically, what the state auditor’s office reported, we already know. The analysis provided by the state auditor’s office is nothing new to the city administration. We continue to budget and forecast in an extremely conservative manner. Garfield Heights scored in the “positive outlook” category for half of the auditor’s financial health indicators. And we are diligently working to improve what the auditor’s office considers less than positive indicators. The state auditor’s office reports that 82 percent of Ohio counties and 92 percent of Ohio cities have at least one “cautionary” or “critical” indicator.

Here in Garfield Heights, our bills are paid on time. Our loan payments are made on time and our debt has been cut in half since 2009. We are in much better shape financially than we were when I became mayor. I can assure everyone living and working in Garfield Heights that my administration is committed to our city being a financially stable and healthy community.

Highlights from Mayor Vic Collova’s 2015 State of the City Address

Mayor Vic Collova presented his annual State of the City Address in January at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The event is sponsored by the Garfield Heights Chamber of Commerce. For highlights of the mayor’s speech, click here.

Summer Fest

To view the pictures from the 2017 event, please click here.

To view the pictures from the 2015 event, please click here.

Highlights from Mayor Vic Collova’s 2014 State of the City Address

Mayor Vic Collova presented his annual State of the City Address on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the Knights of  Columbus Hall. The event is sponsored by the Garfield Heights Chamber of Commerce. For highlights of the mayor’s speech, click here.

Marymount Hospital Community Service Award

From left:
Marymount Hospital President Joanne Zeroske, Lenny Piazza, Chris Piazza, Jeannie Collova and Mayor Vic Collova

Marymount Hospital presented its annual Community Service Award to Chris Piazza for her generous contributions to the city of Garfield Heights and numerous organizations and causes. The award was presented on Dec. 9, 2014 during the Marymount Hospital Community Advisory Council meeting.

Known throughout the community as someone with a big heart and “can do” attitude, Chris left a legacy here. A retired city worker, she started the Garfield Heights Green Up Project when she grew tired of looking at a weed-laden flower bed outside the employee entrance to the Civic Center.

“We can do better than this,’” Chris said, and she brought flowers to plant from her own garden. "It was only a couple of flowers, but people started telling me that seeing them brightened their day." From there, the idea blossomed. Since the city could no longer afford to plant flowers or hire landscapers, Piazza asked if she and a group of volunteers could do it themselves. Local media helped get the word out for volunteers and donations. "It's my way of giving back, and it's amazing how many other people feel the same way," Piazza said.

The group spurred the revitalization of landscaped areas at the Safety Forces Memorial that honors fallen firefighters and police officers at the Garfield Heights Civic Center, the clock tower area on Turney Road, the Veterans' Memorial at Garfield Boulevard and Turney Road, the Veterans’ Memorials at Veterans Plaza behind the Garfield Heights Historical Society, and the mini park area known as Tonsing Island at the corner of Turney and Tonsing. In addition, the group did landscaping work around the new Welcome Wall in front of the fire station at Turney and McCracken, a project that included the sponsorship of Marymount Hospital.

The group’s impressive efforts led to a WKYC-TV3 “See the Possible” feature and a $500 donation each from Petitti’s Garden Center and TV-3.

Another project Chris spearheaded was the replacement of tattered U.S. flags that were hanging on municipal flagpoles. She contacted members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3290 and helped lead a campaign to purchase 150 new flags, pole mounts and brackets. “People are generous for a good cause,” she said. “If I see something that needs to be done, there’s usually an easy solution.”

Chris also helped to start Harvest Fest, an annual event with hayrides and fall activities that benefits the city’s three community gardens where residents can grow their own produce. Additionally, she organized the City Lights Craft Fair, a holiday event with music and entertainment that lasted 17 years.

Chris also has volunteered with Meals on Wheels; cooked for youth retreat programs at Camp Christopher; became a clown/mime to entertain nursing homes and retreat groups: belonged to the Red Hat Society’s local Raspberry Truffles group: developed and led an exercise program for an older audience and people with disabilities; been an active PTA member; participated on the Jubilee Committee to celebrate the city’s 70th birthday; served as president of the Garfield Heights Home Days Committee for three years; and supported the Music Express Show Choir when her granddaughter was a member.

Chris is a member of the Garfield Heights Historical Society, the Garfield Heights Community Gardens committee, the Garfield Heights Democratic Club and the Garfield Heights Friends and Parents of People with Special Needs.

Chris has always had a tender heart for individuals with disabilities. For many years she worked as a secretary and business manager at Koinonia Homes, a non-profit organization that operates group homes for disabled adults. Her office was on the back porch, which was fortuitous for residents who sought her help or counsel as they entered the back door. She also served on Koinonia’s board of trustees and organized several highly successful fundraisers for the organization.

Chris also developed a special friendship with her 60-year-old cousin with special needs. She and her siblings decided to sell their childhood home to Our Lady of the Wayside to develop a group home now known as Turney House, with the stipulation that her cousin could continue to live in the family home. Chris is an Our Lady of the Wayside volunteer as well.

For more than 30 years Chris and her husband, Lenny, an auxiliary policeman, were members of The Blue Knights Motorcycle Club and rode all over the country to promote motorcycle safety and participate in charity fundraising events.  Married 46 years, Chris and Lenny have two sons, Scott and Mark. Scott and his wife Paula have two children, Sierra, who works for Disney World in Orlando, Fl., and Sam, a student at St. Ignatius High School.

Mayor Vic Collova presented Chris with a proclamation naming December 9, 2014 as Chris Piazza Day in the city of Garfield Heights.

“I’ve been told that people shouldn’t make eye contact with me for they will end up participating in one of my projects,” Chris said. “We’ve done so much good for so many; I don’t want to see it stop.”

To view our articles on previous winners, please click here.

Memorial Highway Sign Honors Marine Sgt. Adam Benjamin

A memorial highway sign honors the service of Marine Master Sgt. Adam Benjamin, a 1993 Garfield Heights High School graduate who was killed August 18, 2009 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Family, friends and local officials participated in a dedication ceremony Friday, June 14 at the Garfield Heights Veterans Memorial, 5407 Turney Road. The sign will be posted on a section of State Route 10 in North Ridgeville where Benjamin's parents, Judy and Robert Watters, now reside.

Benjamin, a career Marine, was 34 years old when he was killed during a combat mission. He was an explosives ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 8th Engineer Support Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

The sergeant joined the Marines right after graduating from high school. He was deployed twice to Iraq, from February to October 2007 and again from February to September 2008. He received several awards, including commendation medals and from both the Navy and Marines Corps. He was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Operation Enduring Freedom mission and was killed one month after he arrived there.

"This brave young man did not join the Marine Corps for glory," said Mayor Vic Collova. "He signed up for duty because he believed in service to country and the ideals of freedom and democracy."

"Unfortunately, he and his family paid the ultimate price for his beliefs. It is only fitting he be remembered with a memorial highway marker saluting his service to America and all of its citizens," Collova said.

"The sign will remind all who pass it than an honorable Marine sacrificed his life."

Garfield Heights residents and officials also paid tribute to Sgt. Benjamin and fallen Army Specialist Brad A. Davis by naming the street through the Civic Center complex "Davis-Benjamin Way." A memorial highway sign on Interstate 480 honors Davis' service to country. A dedication ceremony was held last year at the Garfield Heights Veterans Memorial.