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Green prospering, focusing on sustainability, says mayor

4/24/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

GREEN — The city of Green is continuing to prosper and grow, thanks to the economic development efforts of its officials.

Mayor Dick Norton shared that information, as well as efforts on sustainability throughout the community at the April 22 Charting the Course event.

At the event, Norton announced the city’s income tax revenue is up 25 percent in the first quarter ending March 31 as compared to last year, thanks to more businesses moving into Green and more people working in the city. He also said the General Fund contains an unencumbered balance of $18.8 million for the first quarter.

Norton added those city funds, as well as grants and partnerships with various entities, are helping to keep up with infrastructure improvements in Green.

He added improvements slated for the near future include a roundabout at Greensburg and Lauby roads, with that work to start in June and to finish next year [see related Green City Council report on Page 1 for more on that], and the extension of Global Gateway to connect to Greensburg Road, which will open 140 acres of commercial property, with that work due to be completed in June.

Other planned road improvements include Massillon Road from Interstate 77 to just past state Route 619. Norton stated that project is in the final design phase and work is not scheduled to begin until 2017.

Norton said city officials are also in the design phase for planned improvements to an area of the city called “The Box,” which is bordered by Massillon and Boettler roads on the southeast, Massillon and Corporate Woods Circle on the northeast, Corporate Woods next to Giant Eagle on the northwest and Corporate Woods and Boettler Road on the southwest. Norton said those intersections need to be properly sequenced to improve the flow of traffic.

Graybill Road is also slated for improvements that will include turn lanes to accommodate the growing Heritage Crossings project, where the new Acme grocery store is under construction. The road improvements are slated to start in 2015.

Norton also reported design work on the new Central Park is progressing. The 10-acre park, to be created on land between the Central Administration Building and Steese Road, will include a walking path, water features, sensory gardens, an amphitheater and a playground. The plans also include a pavilion plaza with a recessed area that can be flooded to create a skating rink.

Lastly, Norton announced the city has partnered with Great Lakes Publishing to create a city magazine that will be mailed out to 30,000 residents and businesses in the city in June and displayed in high traffic locations. The magazine will be used as an economic development tool and guide for residents to highlight what the city has to offer, according to Norton.

The Charting the Course presentation also focused on green practices, and city of Green Community Development Administrator Sarah Haring presented information on the city’s commitment to that effort.

Haring said a Living Green Task Force of residents, business owners and nonprofit representatives was formed in the fall of 2012 to develop recommendations for policies and practices that improve Green’s environmental stewardship and foster a culture of sustainability.

Also, in May 2013, a Team Living Green was formed to invite residents, businesses and community groups in the city to become a committed member of that effort. For more information, visit www.cityofgreen.org/living-in-green.

The presentation highlighted the efforts of three of those members — Diebold Inc., Guiseppe’s Pizza and Buehler’s Fresh Foods.

Diebold Senior Environmental Engineer Megan Weidner said Diebold’s efforts include providing premium parking spots for car-poolers and the diversion of 18,000 tons of scrap metal from old ATMs. In addition, the business is hosting an Everyday Is Earth Day recycling event May 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its headquarters, 5995 Mayfair Road. Items to be collected include old cell phones and personal computers, as well as household items and clothing for donation and recycling, according to event officials. Items that will not be accepted include batteries, large household appliances, paint and other hazardous waste. Diebold also will collect nonperishable food items for the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. Green residents should bring a recent utility bill to show proof of residency.

Guiseppe’s Pizza President Angelo Zimbardi stated the business is now recycling food into compost and is also recycling paper, cardboard and tomato cans. The business also is working on getting pizza boxes made of recycled materials. He added they have been able to divert 50 percent of their waste from landfills.

Buehler’s Vice President of Construction and Maintenance Becky Foster reported the family-owned business’ sustainability efforts include the collection of food waste to turn it into compost, which is sold in its stores, recycling 105,000 pounds of paper products, reducing packaging by 85 percent in weight, reducing utility services and refrigerants leaks, and using french fry oil produced from its in-house food services for its vehicles.

“These are examples of what businesses can do for the community,” said Norton. “These practical things have a impact on the bottom line.”

Summit ReWorks Executive Director Yolanda Walker invited businesses to participate in recycling and said it offers assistance to help get started. For more information, visit www.summitreworks.com or call 330-374-0383.

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