Former Stow Parks Building Re-purposed to Improve City Operations and Save Money

Mayor Sara Drew vacates former Parks building on Stow Road to increase efficiency and save money for taxpayers, negotiates agreement with Enviroscience, Inc. on building, saving over 50 jobs.

Hello, everyone!  I hope your fall is off to a good start! 
October is one of my favorite months, and I hope you are also enjoying
the cooler weather and changing leaves.

Speaking of changing seasons, there are many changes going
on at the City of Stow.  I am very excited about the possibilities for the future and am confident you will be pleased at the progress the Administration is making toward an even more flexible, efficient and customer-friendly City organization.  Our outstanding employees are dedicated to providing top-quality services to the community and they deserve all the thanks. 

One of the changes that had a big impact on City operations
has been our “space allocation” project. If you have visited any City building lately, you will see that there have been numerous office changes and moves of personnel and departments.  This project was borne out of necessity—the City has approximately 18% fewer employees than 2008.  As the City workforce has shrunk, our need for departments to collaborate and be in close proximity to each other has increased.  Employees are regularly cross
training and working in positions that might not have always been their primary
departmental assignment, as work flow needs dictate.  A great example is the collaboration among all our maintenance divisions (parks, building, street, water and so on) to address issues that require more employees than any one department currently has on staff, such as snowplowing in a large snow event.

We took a look at every department and all the building
space under City control.  Additionally, each department was evaluated for the amount of interaction they have with the public.  With this information in mind,
some departments and staff were moved to be in closer proximity with other
departments and/or more readily accessible to the public.

As plans were completed, it became clear that maintaining
operations at our parks maintenance and administration building on Stow Road
was not sustainable.  The number of staff
assigned to that building had shrunk dramatically, and it no longer made sense
to have maintenance operations in two separate locations (the Service Building
at City Center campus and the Parks building). 
It became clear that bringing Parks Administration back to City Hall and
incorporating all the maintenance divisions at the Service Center made the most
sense for operations and was most cost effective for taxpayers.  Vacating the Parks building saves the City of Stow approximately $50,000 annually in utilities and ancillary costs alone.

The former Parks building on Stow Road is a unique building
and setting.  Given its low visibility from the road, setting in a City Park and specialty design there are not many organizations that can effectively use the building.  Finding an appropriate use for the building would
be challenging, but my Administration was determined to do so.

The City of Stow is lucky to be the corporate headquarters
for Enviroscience, Inc.  As a growing environmental
services firm, they employ over 50 people as biologists, water experts and
other environmental technicians. 
Enviroscience had been looking for over a year for larger headquarters
and had finally found a building—in Cuyahoga Falls.  Potentially, Stow was about to lose an employer that offers high paying, high quality jobs in a growing sector of the economy.

Over the course of many months of intense negotiations between the management team at Enviroscience and my office, an agreement was
reached to keep Enviroscience in Stow and have the firm occupy the former Parks
building.  The building and setting was a perfect match for their company and we couldn’t be happier to have them in the space.

Not only does this re-purpose the former Parks building in a
responsible manner, but it reduces our costs and provides the City with a
stream of revenue to cover the remaining costs of construction of the building.  Additionally, the City retains the payroll and income tax generated by Enviroscience’s presence in the City.  As the building is converted to private use,
it will also now generate tens of thousands of dollars in property taxes which
will primarily benefit our school system.

The Administration is pleased this contract was approved by
City Council and we look forward to a long term, mutually beneficial
relationship with Enviroscience, Inc.  I am happy that they will remain an employer in the City of Stow and the taxpayers have benefitted from this contract.

Many more good things are in the works and I hope to be able
to bring you more updates in the near future about projects that will benefit
our community.  As always, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 330-689-2800 or email me directly at sdrew@stow.oh.us if I can answer questions or
be of assistance. 

Best wishes for a beautiful October!  


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