Green Mayor Dick Norton delivered the annual State of the City address at Raintree Country Club, where more than 200 people attended, and unveiled plans for a new city park and amphitheater and a three-day Memorial Day event called "Taste of Green."
Design work will begin this year on a new city park that will feature an amphitheater for concerts.
And the city will launch a three-day Memorial Day weekend event called “Taste of Green.”
Those were two of the highlights at Mayor Dick Norton’s annual State of the City address Wednesday at Raintree Country Club. More than 200 attended.
Central Park will be located next to the Central Administration Building at 1755 Town Park Blvd. and will include walking paths, water features and an amphitheater for concerts and other events. There is no timeline or cost projections for construction.
“While we have a significant amount of park land in a traditional format, the idea of a central park is a large component of our vision for a central Green,” Norton said.
“Taste of Green” is scheduled for May 25-27 at Town Park Boulevard and Town Park Crossing. Activities will include food vendors, an auto show, entertainment on three stages, a wine and beer garden and family activities.
Norton stressed five key focus initiatives for this year: Economic development, public service and transportation, storm water, public safety and recreation.
Norton highlighted several economic development projects from 2012:
• Akron General and Summa Health Systems both opened.
• Acme Fresh Market plans were approved and the construction of the new 68,000-square-foot store is expected to begin in July.
• Both Doug Chevrolet and Toth Buick added and renovated their showrooms.
• Hampton Inn expanded and added 23 rooms.
• Best Mold and Manufacturing built a 10,900-square-foot addition.
• Giant Eagle is adding approximately 24,000 square feet and expanding its wine, beverage and fresh food sections.
• Akron-Canton Airport added a new economy parking lot with 800 spaces.
PUBLIC SERVICES AND TRANSPORTATION
Norton said that plans are underway to enhance traffic flow, build roads, improve intersections and add sidewalks along the Massillon Road corridor. Norton said a traffic study, while not completed, is focused on Massillon Road from state Route 619 to Wise Road with emphasis on the congestion points of Interstate 77 to Boettler Road.
Construction and road projects for this year will include:
• The extension of the Global Gateway from International Parkway to Greensburg Road.
• The reconstruction of a section of Steese Road from Shriver Road to the roundabout, adding a central turn lane and sidewalks.
• Repaving Greensburg Road and repaving Arlington Road from Nimisila to Mount Pleasant roads.
• Resurfacing Shriver, Heckman and E. Turkeyfoot Lake roads.
Norton recapped several drainage and storm sewer projects and park projects completed in 2012.
In the area of public safety, Norton said burglaries were down nearly 30 percent in 2012, as sheriff’s deputies had focused their patrols on burglary prevention. The fire department responded to 3,091 alarms, 81 percent of which were EMS related. The department provided dispatch services to Lakemore, Coventry and Springfield townships and collected more than $200,000 in dispatch fees.
Page 2 of 2 - This year’s park projects include:
• Adding a new restroom and renovating the existing restrooms at Boettler Park.
• Adding a restroom, adding a ballfield and a new parking lot at Greensburg Park.
• Adding two new baseball fields at East Liberty Park.
Norton also recognized two community groups who raised money for Green students. The “Bulldog Dash” group of mothers raised more than $29,000 in 2012 with an annual 5K run/walk, and the Green Professional Association, a mentoring and community service organization started by graduates from the Green High Class of 2005, raised $13,000 for scholarships during a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.