Westlake mayor Dennis Clough has two words for people worried about the future of the American Greetings world headquarters planned for Crocker Park.
"As far as I'm concerned, this delay is temporary," Clough said. "I'm pretty optimistic this will happen, and it will be even bettwe and more exciting than we anticipated."
American Greetings announced Nov. 28 that it was delaying the construction of the new world headquarters while it was dealing with a proposal by the Weiss family to take the company private.
Clough said he has received assurances from American Greetings that the project will go forward as soon as the privatization matter is settled. He added that the company is continuing design work on the world headquarters project, and is working with the city on project design matters such as parking garages.
"They're still going forward," he said.
American Greetings informed Clough of the decision on Nov. 27, a day before the Committee of the Whole was set to take up the hiring of a contractor for its part of the project, then send the matter on to City Council for approval.
"I had no inkling this was going to happen," Clough said. "I was a little disappointed."
Clough added the timing of the decision could have been better for the city.
"I would have preferred it to be sooner than just before we were getting ready to sign off on everything," he said. "But that's how things happen sometimes."
Another issue of timing is the clearing of the land, which could have begun as early as January if the plans had gone forward.
The land is a habitat for the endangered Indiana Fruit Bat, and thus it can't be cleared between April and October while the bats are there. If the land isn't cleared before April, that would mean work could not begin at the site until October.
There is a possible solution, Clough said. Stark Enterprises, which owns Crocker Park, could clear the land on its own before April.
Stark Enterprises has not yet announced any plans to do so, a press representative said Friday.