Though no definitive solution has been presented regarding the possible merger of the Shaker Heights and University Heights fire departments, one thing is clear — Cleveland Heights will not be included any time soon.
Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leiken said as much Friday when asked to respond to a Sun News report that Cleveland Heights Councilman Jason Stein has requested that a new cooperative study be conducted to see if a Cleveland Heights-Shaker-University Heights fire department would be feasible.
In the report, Stein said he has made the city's interest in a potential merger known over the past couple of years, but "Cleveland Heights remains on the outside looking in."
Leiken said the possibility for other cities to be a part of a joint fire department exists in the future, but for now, the city prefers to explore a merger with University Heights.
"When it was initially announced, we felt that we should try to do something that was as achievable as possible, and we thought that the combination of University Heights and Shaker Heights made great sense," Leiken said.
"That doesn't at all preclude the possibility of adding additional cities at a later point, but right now we're focused on making this one work."