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Issue Date: June 2009

Rating the Suburbs - Wickliffe

Gino Latessa, 62
president of the Wickliffe Italian-American Club
We moved here when I was 4, down on Rockefeller Road. Back then, in the ’50s, it was bustling.

I’ve seen this town in the good times and times when it wasn’t as good as it is now.

Whenever elections come up and they say, “Any nominations?” everyone puts their head down like this. No one wants to yawn or stretch. I’ve been president for 15 years. That’s a long time. They call me PFL. President for Life.

We have the bocce tournament, of course. This might sound strange to you, but we have people come from all over — Toronto, Florida, Pennsylvania. If we don’t have 5,000 people there, we consider it a bad day.

Wickliffe would like to be a downtown Willoughby. You really don’t remember if you’re not an old-time Lake County resident that Willoughby center was once just a patch of land.

You know they do these outdoor family movies in the park now. Those are really popular.

The East Side Farmers Market just opened up. I see the residents are really supporting that market and getting behind it.

There’s virtually no crime. It’s such a small community, so the police are visibly here.

The first place I’d take someone here is to City Hall. I’d show them the history of the Colby mansion, the beautiful park around it and the swimming pool. It’s just awesome. And then I’d take them to the Lake Metroparks golf course. It used to be a private country club when I was growing up.

The Wine Barrel restaurant makes its own wine, and they sell the grape juice for people to make their own at home.

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