GREEN: Marking its 20th anniversary since its founding in 1992, the city continued to withstand the recession and slow recovery while attracting several new businesses and jobs and reducing its budget by over eight percent for the new year.
Among the city’s top stories of 2012 as selected by Green.Ohio.com correspondent George Davis were:
Hospitals invest in Green
The creation and opening of two hospital emergency departments and a health and wellness center occurred along the Massillon Road corridor.
Akron General Medical Center opened its emergency department on Massillon Road in March and now has its health and wellness center in full swing. The project was estimated at $32 million.
Not to be outdone, Summa Health System opened its $17 million emergency department last summer off Graybill Road, just east of Massillon Road and north of the AGMC Green facilities.
Attracting a $28 million Acme Fresh Market
Bringing a second supermarket to Green to compete with the already established Giant Eagle store on Corporate Woods Parkway was a dream of Mayor Dick Norton’s that became a reality earlier this year.
Now Green will have the 21st Acme Fresh Market built in the area in the last 20 years when doors open next summer at the 75,000-square-foot structure on the east side of Massillon Road at Graybill Road.
The new business conquest will mean an income tax for the city from hundreds of new employees.
At the same time, Giant Eagle is expanding its facilities to 84,000 square feet, adding even more jobs to the Green marketplace when work is completed.
City budget slashed by more than eight percent
Green City Council agreed in December to a $3.17 million cut in the 2013 operating budget compared to 2012, keeping rainy day funding intact and looking for even more revenue from businesses coming to Green in the new year.
The 2013 operating budget will be $33,184,364 compared to $36,361,494. Several items that previously would have been included in the operating budget will be included in the capital improvement side of the ledger, according to Fiscal Officer Larry Rush.
The capital project budget for 2013 is set at $17,144,991, and will be considered by council at its Jan. 8 meeting, its first regular meeting of the new year.
Green becoming model city for fighting flooding
A year after several sections of Green were inundated with flood waters, Mayor Dick Norton challenged City Council and his administration to work toward making Green the region’s model for storm sewer water management.
He got his wish in August when City Engineer Paul Pickett and Deputy Service Director Paul Oberdorfer laid out the second phase of the city’s comprehensive plan to curb flooding.
Voters accepted five charter amendments in November, but soundly defeated a third four-year term for an incumbent mayor. Currently, the mayor and council can serve two consecutive four-year terms and then not run for the same seat for four years.
Much of the attention concerning the charter amendments was the issue of ridding the city of all gambling, including racinos and Internet cafes, while permitting gambling supporting non-profit organizations.
Honorable mention: Council denies rezoning for luxury apartments
A months-long attempt to have 15.96 acres of land along the west side of South Arlington Road rezoned to permit an 81-unit luxury apartment complex on 12.36 acres was denied by City Council on Nov. 27.
The rezoning, from R-1 single-family residential to R-2 multiple-family residential was denied by a 4-2 vote. The initial request to rezone the 12.36 acres was expanded by the city to include 3.6 acres that would be partially surrounded by the proposed complex and contain two single-family homes.
The developer, Redwood Management of Beachwood, has contended the proposal met all the criteria of the city’s long range land-use plan and had city administration support.
The rezoning along the west side of South Arlington just north of Boettler Road was sought by the developer to extend the already fully occupied 102-unit, single-floor Emerald Ridge apartment complex, which was built in 2009 and designed primarily for senior citizens.
Redwood Vice President Keith Ritz said the action wasn’t fair, vowing that the project isn’t over yet.
What do you think is the biggest story of 2012 in Green? Let us know in the comment section and we'll announce the favorite on Monday.