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Council committee recommends business park agreement

4/11/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — A Summit County Council committee recommended April 8 that Council adopt an amended resolution allowing the county to move forward on supporting infrastructure for expansion at the CAK International Business Park in Green.

Council’s Planning and Economic Development Committee voted in favor of the legislation that will allow County Executive Russ Pry’s office to execute a cooperative agreement with the city and the Development Finance Authority of Summit County for Phase III of the project.

“This is a really nice project and a way to stimulate economic development,” said committee chair Ilene Shapiro (D-at large).

The agreement means the county will put $500,000 toward construction and financing of sanitary sewers for the area of 142 acres at the Akron-Canton Airport. The city plans to put in $5 million total in infrastructure to support the project, according to the legislation.

Jason Dodson, Pry’s chief of staff, said city officials estimate 800 to 1,000 new jobs could come to the city as a result of the third phase of the business park. He added the project is a new way the county can help make the region more attractive for businesses.

“In the future, we’d like to work with communities and put infrastructure in up front to draw businesses here,” Dodson said.

Upon completion of the sewer, the county’s Department of Environment Services (DOES) will own it and any customers that link to it will be DOES customers, according to the legislation.

In other business, the committee recommended Council adopt a resolution allowing the right-of-way to be vacated at the Garden Acres Allotment in Springfield at the request of a business owner. Property owner Peter Kern, of Kern’s Florist, had asked for the vacation.

Dodson said the vacation is the first step in what could be the creation of a recreational trail in that area by Metro Parks, Serving Summit County and the township. An easement would be put in place so that if the trail were to be created, there would be space, Dodson added.

In other business, the Public Works Committee recommended Council OK two resolutions regarding improvements to the Springfield Wastewater Treatment Plant, a project that is estimated to cost $4.8 million. The first resolution allows the county to advertise for bids for the project and the other resolution allows the county to enter into a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund loan agreement to finance it.

The committee also recommended Council approve a resolution allowing the county to enter into a cooperative agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) for the design, right-of-way acquisition and rehabilitation of part of Canton Road in Springfield.

Heidi Swindell, of the Engineer’s Office, said 90 percent of the $4 million project will be federally funded. The project will see the addition of safety improvements to Canton Road from Sanitarium to East Waterloo Road, with ODOT handling the project.

During the Rules Committee meeting, members recommended Council adopt an amended ordinance regarding the county’s Office of Consumer Affairs that will allow the office to be part of the Executive’s department of Law, Insurance and Risk Management.

Also Monday, the Personnel Committee recommended Council adopt an ordinance amending some policies for employees. The changes would allow new employees to have health insurance coverage in the first full month of their employment. Dodson said currently new employees must wait 90 days for coverage to kick in, although in some cases higher level new hires had that waived by the executive.

The change would also extend leave-of-absence opportunities for situations regarding domestic partners, Dodson said.

County Council will next meet April 15 at 4:30 p.m. for caucus, followed by the regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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