NEW FRANKLIN Paul Adamson is no stranger to the city of New Franklin as his family has deep roots in what once was Franklin Township.
Adamson recently took over as New Franklin mayor for Al Bollas, who retired at the end of 2017.
Adamson grew up in Coventry Township on Long Lake and attended St. Francis DeSales School. His family would eventually move to the city, but he had roots in Franklin Township in the 1950s through grandparents. He graduated from Garfield High School in 1967 before attending the University of Akron where he would meet his wife, who was a Manchester High School graduate. He and his wife had three boys, who all went to Manchester.
"I always had roots here," Adamson said. "I didn’t want to be anywhere else."
Adamson first worked in the rubber shop at Firestone before teaching English in the Akron Public School district from 1975 to 1982 at South High School. While teaching, he was attending the University of Akron working towards a law degree.
In 1982, he began practicing law as a defense attorney, something he would do for 35 years. He said while he has tried cases at different levels, it was the experience of helping people get on a good path that was most rewarding.
Bollas, being a friend of Adamson, reached out to him in 1999 about Adamson running for township trustee. Adamson said he wasn’t sure at the time, but he decided it was a good way to contribute to the township at the time. His wife was his campaign manager and he served four years and then was re-elected for another four years.
At that time, Franklin Township was starting to get annexed and the only way to protect the identity of the area was to incorporate into a village. Adamson then had to run as a village councilman.
The village was short-lived as New Franklin became a city a year later in 2003. Adamson had to then run a third time as a city councilman.
"I had to run three years in a row," Adamson said.
In all, Adamson served 16 years as a trustee and councilman. In 2015, he decided to run for judge in Barberton, but was defeated by Jill Lanzinger, who he praises for the job she is doing.
Run for mayor
Running for mayor wasn’t something Adamson was thinking about, but Bollas told him he wasn’t running again and encouraged him to run.
"I did feel I had enough background to run," Adamson said.
He was surprised that no one filed to run against him and hoped that was a vote of confidence from New Franklin residents. The transition for Adamson has been smooth and he said anything he needed help with Bollas was there.
"It is exciting to start something new in a place I care so much about," Adamson said.
He said he is sure there will be some stumbles along the way, but they won’t come from a lack of effort on his part. He also said all the city departments function really well.
Plans and goals
One of the biggest challenges Adamson will face is finances and he knows that based on a lot of local funding the city has lost. He said while the state balanced its budget, it was done by taking money away from cities.
"We are going to have to be creative for more revenue," Adamson said.
To meet that challenge, Adamson hopes to bring in more business and extend sewer and water to key areas that could be developed. He would like to see some light industrial come into the city, but he doesn’t want to ruin the rural character of New Franklin. In addition to light industrial business, he would love to see more restaurants and a grocery store in the city.
"We want to dress up some areas and make them more attractive for companies and people to come here," Adamson said.
A few other areas Adamson hopes to work on is continuing to maintain good roads and stormwater system. He would like to see more retention ponds built to help prevent flooding.
The Tutor House, he said, also is a tremendous asset for the city and he would like to see it get used more often.
"I am confident we can do that," Adamson said.
He mentioned that New Franklin doesn’t have a senior center and he would like to see some sort of activity go on there each day and make it a place for people to gather.
When Adamson isn’t being mayor he keeps himself busy with a wide variety of activities including ice skating, cross country skiing and spending time with his family. He has seven grandchildren that keep him busy and his family takes a yearly trip to the Outer Banks.
He hopes for more time to read, for spiritual growth and to continue coaching his grandson’s pitch baseball team in the future.
"I’m honored I was elected to this position," Adamson said. "I take it as a deep responsibility to continue to make this a place people want to live."