CHAGRIN FALLS — Should the natural falls and the Main Street dam be illuminated every evening throughout the year to draw attention to the village’s famous landmarks or will such an initiative turn the downtown into the Las Vegas strip?

Those were the differing opinions of Chagrin Falls Village Council members on Monday when the lighting issue came up for discussion.

Lighting the falls and possibly the dam is the idea of downtown businessman Rick Doody of Hunting Valley owner of the recently opened 17 River Grille restaurant, formerly Jekyll’s Kitchen, located next to the falls.

Mr. Doody was on the Monday meeting agenda to present his plan but was not in the virtual meeting audience when the item came up for council review.

Council, led by its President Erinn Grube, agreed to talk about it anyway.

“It is an interesting idea but should be a community decision and we have to be sure we do it right,” she said adding concerns of light pollution, direction of the lights and into whose property the light would also illuminate.

“There is also the question of aesthetics” and how residents view that, she said.

Councilman Andrew Rocky declared, “I’m all for it. The falls is a huge attraction for us.” He then suggested both the falls and dam be done at the same time for cost savings and council might be sorry later if both were not done together.

“We need a lot of discussion before we get too excited,” countered Councilman Jim Newell. “Do we really need another Belaggio in Chagrin?”

The water fall and dam are illuminated each fall during the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, Mayor William Tomko pointed out.

The festival has announced that Mr. Doody is sponsoring the falls lighting attraction during this year’s Oct. 6-11 event.

It would serve as an example if council decided to move forward, Mrs. Grube said and suggested the village talk to the festival’s lighting designer if the decision is to move forward.

Mr. Rocky, a member of the Chagrin Valley Jaycees, said he would bring the idea to the service organization for its input.

Mrs. Grube suggested if the falls lighting project goes any further then the residents should be consulted and suggested visual examples be part of any discussion.

“I would like to see rendering of what this might look like,” she said.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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