My notes regarding this week's city council meetings are posted below:
We heard a presentation from representatives of Summit County regarding a land bank that the county is launching to purchase tax-foreclosed homes. In connection with this plan, the county is offering matching funds to cities that want to destroy abandoned and condemned homes. Demolishing a home generally costs between $5,000 and $15,000. The demolition does not affect title to the property, but often, a condemned property also faces foreclosure because it is behind on its mortgage and taxes. Stow is likely to request $40,000 in matching funds for 10 to 15 homes that are nearing the condemnation phase.
Stow received a $14,000 grant to replace some of the ash trees that were removed because of the emerald ash borer. When replacing the trees, we will alternate between different species so as to avoid what happened on streets like Peterboro, where the entire treelawn was stripped of ash trees. The grant requires a match by Stow of $2,000.
Stow will begin conducting the building inspection duties for Munroe Falls. Stow currently does this work for Peninsula. Summit County also does this work for municipalities. Munroe Falls considered using the county, but decided that we were capable of offering better service. I worked with our law department to craft a deal that is good for our residents and fair to Munroe Falls. Being a transactional attorney, it's something I enjoy doing, on top of my regular council duties.
We received some grant money to repave some of our main roads: Stow Road (from Call Road to Norton Road, total city cost is $186,650), Hudson Drive (from Campus Drive to Seasons Road, total city cost is $57,650), and Commerce Drive (total city cost of $93,425). Commerce Drive, in particular, has badly needed repaving. It has been difficult to showcase this commercial corridor to businesses when the road is crumbling. That's something the previous administration never understood.
Council approved the purchase of a new Ford Explorer for the fire department, mainly to be used for bike trail EMS matters. The cost will be $25,797.
One of Mayor Drew's big initiatives so far has been to rearrange the office space in the city facilities. The upshot of all of this will be the complete vacancy of the parks building, which will save the city $50,000 per year in upkeep and utilities. We also will have the opportunity to lease the building to a third party.
We voted to approve the rezoning of property on Kent Road, for use by Christ Community Church, which is currently congregating in Hudson. About 20 members of the church attended Thursday's meeting to show their support. The rezoning passed 4-0 (two members absent, one member abstained).
I personally have been frustrated with the closing of lanes on Route 8 in the past month, because it does not appear that the work is consistently being done to justify such lengthy closures. Service director Mike Miller assured me that it will be complete in two weeks.
I would urge folks to pray for the safe return of Brian Reali, our law director, who will deploy for the Middle East on Saturday. I appreciate his service to our country.
City council's committees will meet next on June 25.