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Green pledges $50,000 to effort to restore air service at CAK

Brian Lisik
Suburbanite correspondent

GREEN  Facing the loss of Delta Airlines and its Atlanta connection, one of the busiest airport hubs in world, due to COVID-19 related cutbacks, Akron-Canton Airport is receiving a $1 million Jobs Ohio Commercial Air Service Restoration Program grant.

Green City Council approved a resolution Oct. 27 pledging $50,000 toward the program, part of a $200,000 commitment from several Northeast Ohio municipalities and private investors. The grant agreement with the Akron-Canton Airport Authority will assist restoration of air service – particularly the connection to from Akron-Canton to Atlanta – that has been discontinued in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be used for staff and other support personnel in an effort to convince Delta to restore service at CAK, according to CAK President and Chief Executive Officer Renato “Ren” Camacho, who spoke at the Oct. 13 Green City Council meeting.

Camacho said that while United, American and Spirit airlines have decided to stay with CAK, the airport is currently operating at about 25 percent of 2019 levels. He added that nationally, the airline industry is projected to lose $23 billion this year.

Green Mayor Gerard Neugebauer said that the city’s contribution to the air service restoration program comes via a fund previously earmarked for small business grants through the Summit County Chamber of Commerce. Green Communications Manager Valerie Wolford explained that the $50,000 earmark for the small business grants was defunded by Council, and is now being used for the CAK initiative, after more CARES funding was funneled to the county

In other actions, council:

• Authorized Neugebauer to apply for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund grant for the installation of two electric vehicle charging stations at the Green Central Administration Building.

• Approved a resolution modifying the 2020 appropriations budget, including a $60,000 adjustment to the city’s annual paving program due to a reduced scope and not needing a built in 10 percent contingency amount, according to city Engineer, Paul Pickett.

• Approved a 100 percent tax exemption in lieu of infrastructure improvements on an estimated $5.8 million property owned by JLR Development.

• Approved an agreement with Summit County to share design costs and overages, as well as contribute a 20 percent local match, toward the replacement of the Christman Road bridge – located and Christman and Comet Road – in order to make the bridge safer for fishing and bicycling. Ward 4 Councilman Matt Shaughnessy said the county has secured $972,000 in funding for the project.