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County Council thanked by Canalway Coalition

3/1/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Officials from the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition thanked Summit County Council for its support over the years Feb. 27 and talked about a celebration of the Towpath Trail planned for this summer.

Dan Rice, president and CEO, and Debby Rolland, vice president of operations and development, gave Council members copies of the latest Summit County Trail and Greenway Plan during the Finance Committee meeting.

Rice expressed gratitude for the county’s support in the form of grants over the past few years.

“Because of your support, we’ve been able to leverage over $12 million of private, local, state and federal funds,” Rice said. “We are the first county to have the Towpath Trail completed in our boundaries, and that is because of your leadership.”

Rice said a big event is planned in the area July 7 to mark the Towpath’s completion in the county. Events will take place at trailheads both north and south of Akron. There will be a 5K run and an event at Lock 3 Park that will feature an attempt to set a world’s record for the largest root beer float toast ever, Rice said.

Rice said the trail projects in the Greenway plan help provide jobs and connect communities through bike and hike trails. Phase I is completed, and the coalition is now moving to Phase II, he added.

Also Monday, Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee discussed and recommended Council adopt a resolution allowing a change of name for the Summit County Port Authority. The proposed name is the Development Finance Authority of Summit County.

Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry, said the name change would not change the Port Authority as an entity.

“As the Port Authority went through their recent strategic plan, one of the recommendations was to change the name to more accurately reflect what the Port Authority can do,” Dodson said.

The entity was originally created to take over abandoned rail lines in the county but in 1999 changed its focus to economic development, Dodson said.

Prior to the start of committee meetings, Councilwoman Ilene Shapiro (D-at large) asked Council to mark the passing of Susan Hamo with a moment of silence. West Akron resident Hamo, the president of the Akron/Summit Convention and Visitors Bureau, died Feb. 20.

“She ran the [John S.] Knight Center beyond admirably,” Shapiro said. “I never heard a bad word about Susan Hamo.”

Summit County Council will meet March 5 at 5 p.m. for caucus and 5:05 p.m. for the regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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