Brady Lake Village exists no more.
Its residents wanted it that way, and last month they voted to disband the tiny town nestled between Kent and Ravenna in Portage County.
Brady Lake was founded 90 years ago as a peaceful, resort community of less than one square mile. Its amenities, including an amusement park, outdoor adventures and quaint cottages, lured families from all around.
Boats still dot the small lake, surrounded by ball fields and playgrounds. But there’s little else. And residents like it that way.
“This is a beautiful place to live,” said longtime resident David Ewers. “It just has that nice, park-like feel.”
Times have changed a bit. Its population hovers around 500 people living in 214 homes. Money is tight. The Fire Department and EMS closed years ago. Roads don’t get fixed. Street signs disappear.
And last month, voters agreed to disband the village with the hopes of a merger with neighboring Franklin Township.
To the dismay of some, however, last month’s vote has not slowed down Brady Lake police. The force comprises its chief, five part-time officers and 25 volunteer officers. And residents and motorists say the small force is as active as ever, despite the town’s demise.
"People have been stopped left and right…Like every 10 minutes and that’s just overkill,” said lifelong resident Laurel Archer. "I think they need to slow down a little bit and take people into consideration."
Attorney Gregory Wysin, who lives in Franklin Township, agrees. He says that since last month’s vote, he does not believe Brady Lake police have a lawful right to detain motorists or issue tickets.
“I don't believe they have the authority to operate a police force under the Ohio constitution now that the village has been dissolved," he said.
Wysin says motorists should challenge any citations issued by Brady Lake police. He says the department’s post-election efforts to write tickets amounts to a last-minute money grab.
“The village has been suffering financially for years, absolutely,” Wysin said.
Police Chief John Marra would not meet with WKYC Channel 3 News to be interviewed in person. By phone, he said his officers are, in fact, writing fewer tickets since the election last month. Statistics on police activity have not yet been released, however.
Marra added that the village contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for guidance on how to operate in accordance with the vote. He said officers are acting within the law, until the transition is complete.
Wysin disagrees, arguing that the vote to disband has been certified by the elections board and that action effectively ended the village’s existence.
“I don’t think they have the authority to operate a police force…now that the village has been dissolved,” Wysin said. “And I’d just like them to do the right thing.”