Brooklyn's mayor and residents speak out about American Greetings moving to Westlake

BROOKLYN, Ohio - It's been months and months of talking, negotiating and working numbers for Brooklyn city officials to keep greeting card giant, American Greetings, in their city.

But early Friday, the company announced it is moving its world headquarters to Westlake.

Mayor Richard Balbier said as he looks back on the fight to make the company stay put, he feels like he did everything he could, but it wasn't enough.

Balbier told NewsChannel5 he offered the company a package deal that included giving them revenue from city venues, like admission from the recreation center. The revenue equalled about $650,000 a year. That also wasn't enough.

American Greetings sprawls across 100 acres of land off of Tiedeman Road in Brooklyn. The new space in Westlake will be in a high-tech building that hovers over the Crocker Park Shopping Center.

Residents in Brooklyn are sad to see what they consider their landmark business leave. They worry about what's going to happen to the city and its workers. Many residents said they feel there are major cuts coming to the city.

Balbier said he's hoping to not have to cut jobs, especially police and fire personel. In fact, Balbier said for the past two years, he has been putting money into a "rainy day fund" just in case American Greetings decided to leave.

Balbier said he will use that money, which has grown to $400,000, for city emergencies only. Balbier said he will continue to grow that account as American Greetings begins to build their new site in Westlake.

Balbier also told NewsChannel5, by not replacing city workers who have retired over the past two years, he has been able to save the city from cuts. He hopes to keep that trend going and use the emergency money if and when he needs it.

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