GREEN The city of Green is celebrating its silver anniversary this year.
The former Green Township, which was founded in 1809 and originally a part of Stark County before joining Summit County during its formation in 1840, became a city in 1992. Since adopting city status, a lot has changed as Green has grown from mainly farmland to a suburban mix of residential housing and businesses. The corridors of Arlington Road and Massillon Road have developed through the years and now contain a mix of shops, restaurants and services.
Growth of the city
Zoning Superintendent Barb Holdren, who has been with the city for all 25 years, said Green first incorporated Jan. 1, 1991. This allowed for Green Township to become the Village of Green.
"Following the General Election held in November that year, Secretary of State, Bob Taft, certified that Green Village had a minimum of 5,000 electors vote in that General Election; he then proclaimed us a city," Holdren said. "I was the first new administrative employee hired as executive secretary to Mayor John Torok."
Holdren said the office was a file room and the office equipment was a card table, work table and a word processor.
"The biggest change was the transition after we became a home rule city," Holdren said. "Up until that time, the mayor and I performed the tasks associated with planning, engineering, stormwater, HR functions, building operation, etc."
The city put its city charter in place in 1993, which created the director positions throughout the city. The charter allowed for five positions: finance, planning, service, law and safety.
Planning Director Wayne Wiethe has been with the city almost 24 years and said the biggest change he has seen is the amount of commercial businesses that have come to the city. He said corporate office and industry has also increased significantly during the past 25 years.
Communications Coordinator Valerie Wolford, who has been with the city since 2008, said one of the changes she has seen is the way people get information and the impact of social media. She believes the city has been blessed with good leadership from mayors and council members.
"They have been open to new ideas and have been really forward thinking," Wolford said.
She said since Green is still such a young city with ample land, officials have not had to knock down and rebuild like older communities.
"We are not just building a city, we are building a community," Wolford said.
In the 25 years, the city has opened 10 parks, which Wolford says is something the charter helped make possible because it allowed for funding to be put into parks capital projects.
Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, who has lived in Green for 30 years and been involved with some sort of leadership role for the city for 17 years, said when he moved to Green it was mostly residential and a bedroom community. He said most people went to work, shopped and ate outside of the city and just returned to Green to sleep.
Neugebauer said Green now has additional housing and businesses have expanded into the city.
"Now people can go to restaurants and the grocery store in Green," Neugebauer said.
As any other city, leaders are looking to the future with eyes on continual growth. However, that growth will be at a controlled pace.
"I hope Green future continues to bring in stable, controlled growth providing the necessary tax base to continue to provide the services residents have come to expect," Wiethe said.
Neugebauer agrees with Wiethe about controlling growth, adding that he doesn’t want to see Green become too congested. Neugebauer also wants to see the schools and businesses throughout the city remain strong.
"We will always retain that nice suburban-rural atmosphere," Neugebauer said.