Cove Church Redevelopment | The City of Lakewood, Ohio

Cove Church Redevelopment

Future Home of Lakewood’s Intergenerational Community Center & Stormwater Management

Future Use/ Need

The Cove Church property was purchased by the City to assist in developing solutions for stormwater management and compliance with the federal Clean Water Act.  The stormwater use of this property has been incorporated into the proposed Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan the city submitted to the Federal and Ohio EPA. At the same time, the city was looking for a new home for the Department of Human Services which currently resides in three separate locations around the city. Creating a multi-generational community center which will be home to the Department of Human Services has become the secondary focus for the use of this property.

To learn more about the stormwater management component, visit the Clean Water Lakewood page by clicking here.

Below you will find information about the discussions that have been held about the adaptive reuse of Cove Church for an Intergenerational Community Center. Future community updates will be posted here and you may sign up to receive direct email updates by click here.


 October 28, 2019

Mayor Summers, Director Gelsomino and Ms. Hennie presented a proposed time-line for the Design-Build process.  A detailed discussion of the RFQ and the selection process was had and questions answered. All members voted in favor of adoption of the Resolution 9097-19.

Committee of the Whole Meeting Minutes


October 7, 2019

Mayor Summers submitted a docket letter recommending the city pursue adaptive reuse of Cove Church for a Intergenerational Community Center and utilize a Design-Build process. Attached to the docket letter was a Draft Resolution and Draft RFQ.

Mayor Summers’ Docket Letter attaching Draft Resolution and Draft RFQ 

September 30, 2019

The city administration through Mayor Summers, Director Gelsomino and Urban Planner Allison Hennie presented to Council about the work and the analysis done to support a future recommendation of adaptive reuse of Cove Church versus new build.

PowerPoint Presentation from Committee of the Whole Meeting

Committee of the Whole Meeting Minutes

September 16, 2019

The Mayor introduced a docket letter which laid out the foundational understanding to support the recommendation that Cove Church be used for an Intergenerational Community Center for the city of Lakewood.

Mayor Summers’ Docket Letter to City Council


  • Photos & Renderings+-

    What might the community center look like?

     It’s too early to know for sure, but the conversations have started. There have been some sample renderings and floor plans drafted below, however, the city is still in the early phases of what the full potential of the community center may look like.
















    Historical Photos


    Cove Church Under Construction

  • RFQ & Attachments+-

  • Department of Human Services Vision+-

    Antoinette Gelsomino, Director of Human Services shares Human Service’s vision and purpose for the future of the Cove Church site:

    Vision: Create a community center that serves residents of all ages providing a gathering space, community connections and program experiences based on the 8 Dimensions of wellness.

    Components of Wellness…some exist some need to grow


    • Congregate Meals
    • Dedicated physical space
    • Transportation to attend activities
    • Universal access/family support for parents/caregivers
    • Visitation space for families


    • Desirable, attractive space
    • Programming on psychological aspects of aging
    • Partnerships


    • Gratitude program
    • Partnerships


    • Programming on technology
    • University access/connection/over 60 reduced cost or free
    • Web based opportunities


    • Tai Chi/exercise
    • Nutrition program/Home delivered and Congregate
    • Medicare education


    • Pleasant gathering space


    • Literacy


    • Volunteerism…meaningful
    • Employment opportunities

    Purpose: To strengthen community through strong partnerships and collaborations, and innovative service delivery

    To utilize a model which is inclusive of all seniors and encourages universal access while recognizing those who are most vulnerable due to age, health, poverty

    To encourage and empower residents to choose health and wellness opportunities

  • Resources+-

  • Donations+-

    Coordination in the Community

    Various items were left behind in the church which had no value to the City or need for reuse. Some of these items included but were not limited to: pianos, chairs/couches, folding tables, kitchen utensils/ trays, desks, Christmas decorations, pews, filing cabinets, decorations. In the efforts to start removing items from the church, the City of Lakewood reached out to local non-profit partners to invite their organization to walk through the church and identify if there were any items their organization could use to support their mission.

    On September 3rd, Lakewood City Council approved the donations of these various items to organizations including the Lakewood Historical Society, LakewoodAlive, Barton Center, The Beck Center, Dr. Christine Johnson with the Worldwide Anglican Church, and Habitat for Humanity. The City is very fortunate that these items will be reused and benefit other prominent organizations in the community.

  • Community Questions & Input+-

    Community Questions & Input Cove Church

    Have a question or comment about the redevelopment of this site? Please fill out this form, and your feedback may be shared below.
    • First and last
    • (Your email address will not be published, but we may contact you to confirm your question and/or comment)
  • Cove Church Redevelopment Email Sign-Up+-

    Cove Church E-Mail Sign-Up

    Add me to the Cove Church Redevelopment email list (Sign up to receive public meeting notifications, website updates, etc.).
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  • Cove Frequently Asked Questions+-

    Q:  What does Design Build mean and how is it different than a traditional project delivery?

    A:  Below is a graphic explaining the difference between a traditional Design-Bid project delivery process and a Design-Build project delivery process.


    A typical time-line for each of these processes is shown below:


    Q:   Is this a competitive bid process?

    A:    YesThis is a recognized competitive selection process under the laws of the State of Ohio for construction projects and it also authorized by city laws. The process has built in checks and balances.

    Step 1:   The City will issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) which will allow the City to identify qualified firms. The RFQ will seek responses regarding the business(es) qualifications regarding such things as:  expertise, experience, completion history, reputation and financial means to execute the project.

    Step 2:  A Selection Panel, made up of members from City Council, the Administration and residents will be established that will evaluate the RFQ responses submitted by the applicant firms and narrow them down to the top three applicants.

    Step 3:  The city will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the three selected applicants and invite them to submit a response to the Request for Proposal which will detail the design, cost and construction schedule.

    Step 4:   The Selection Panel will evaluate the three RFP submissions, including interviews, and will make a recommendation to the administration. The administration will bring the selected firm forward to City Council for approval of a final Design-Build Agreement.

    Step 5:   City Council will utilize its normal process to host appropriate public committee meetings to vet, ask questions, make recommendations and approve the final Design-Build Agreement.

    In addition, the RFQ requires the parties to engage in an “open book” process in which city, the architect and the design-builder will review bids for trade work, the costs proposed for the general conditions of the design-builder and the fee of the design-builder. For each subcontract, there will be competitive pricing obtained from a list of mutually agreed-upon subcontractors.


    Q:  If the Design-Build process is a competitive bid process, why does the language in the resolution regarding the repurposing of Cove Church state “without the necessity of competitive bidding”?:

    Section 1.  The Mayor (Director of Public Safety), the Director of Public Works, the Director of Law, the Director of Finance, and /or the Purchasing Manager may establish procedures for and engage in the process of letting of one or more contracts with one or more qualified entities for the design and construction for the repurposing of Cove Church under the design-build project delivery system without the necessity of competitive bidding.   

     A:  Lakewood Codified Ordinance (LCO) Chapter 111 permits council to award contracts without competitive bidding in certain instances including where Council determines that it is either impractical to award the contract under competitive bidding procedures or cost-effective and in the best interests of the City to award the contract without competitive bidding.

    Because it is recommended that a design-build process be used versus a traditional competitive bidding process that is solely based on lowest bid, Chapter 111 requires Council to acknowledge it will not be using this traditional competitive bidding process.

    The design-build model has a built-in process of checks and balances.  With the traditional delivery method, design it, bid it, build it, the primary, if not only, factor considered in the competition is price. The DesignBuild selection process, conversely, puts in place a rigorous competition procedure that focuses on qualifications, experience, technical approach, price and other factors.


    Q:   Do other governments allow for a design-build process?

    A:   Yes.  The state of Ohio in Ohio Revised Code Chapter 153 provides for the design-build model for State Projects.  This chapter will provide guidance for the city to create its own design-build process which will be reflected in the legislation, all of which is perfectly legal.


    Q:   Has the city ever executed a design-build contract process before?

    A:   Yes.  In 2018 the city initiated a design-build process for the hi-rate treatment plant currently being built next to the city Wastewater Treatment Plant in the metro parks.

    The Cleveland Metro Parks has also completed several design-build projects over the past few years and has been collaborative with the city in providing some best practices for this process.


    Q:  Is the city going to tear down Cove Church to build the new Community Center?

    A:  No. The project will be an “adaptive reuse” versus a “new build” project.  The city is requesting that the contractor propose plans to reuse the Cove Church building for this project, preserving the original Cove Church structure.


    Q:  How much will this project cost the taxpayers of Lakewood?

    A:  The city administration has spent time working with various independent builders to determine the range of cost based on various design methods.  As a result, it is estimated that the cost to renovate Cove Church for use as an Intergenerational Community Center will be between $3 million and $4 million.  If the building were to be torn down and new construction be built, it is estimated that the cost would be between $5 million and $7 million. The fluctuations in these costs are due to the supply of building materials and availability of enough building trade personnel.


    Q:  Who will be on the selection committee for this project?

    A:   The selection committee has not yet been appointed, but it is expected that there will be a representative from City Council, a representative from the Administration, and several residents with backgrounds in such areas as finance, real estate, and/or construction management.


    Q:  Why did the city purchase the Cove Church building in the first place?

    A:  The city purchased the Cove Church property for use in its compliance with the Clean Water Act of 1972. The church had closed its doors and this location at Cove & Lake Avenues worked well for purposes of the city’s Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan.  The property came with the church building.  The city’s review of options to relocate the Human Services Department had been unsuccessful until Cove Church became an option.


    Q:  Will there be any community input about this project?

    A:   Absolutely.  The department of Human Services (Early Childhood, Youth and Aging) has already been polling the residents they serve about innovative programming they want to see available at this new facility. In addition, the following community engagement will be incorporated into the process:

    • RFQ will request each firm to describe their reason for interest in the Cove Church project, anticipated added value to the project, and approach to community engagement and inclusivity.
    • During the time-period of January through March 2020 will be scheduled community engagement forums in the form of focus groups and community meetings to obtain ideas from residents.
    • City Boards and commissions as well as City Council will hold public meetings regarding the design-build project and the design-build agreement, all of which are open to the public.
    • Cove Community Center website will provide the opportunity for residents to submit ideas for programming from the website.