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Green may go paperless

6/13/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

GREEN — The city of Green may grow even greener by cutting down on its paper consumption.

At the June 11 Green City Council committee meetings, members heard a presentation on Granicus Inc., a software application for efficiency, transparency and citizen participation among governmental bodies.

Council is considering a service agreement with Granicus. Councilman Ken Knodel (Ward 3) said it would cost the city a total of $22,799 to get the program up and running. He said the setup process would take three months, and the system most likely would go live in November. Once the training period is complete, the city would be charged $1,022 a month to utilize Granicus, receiving 24-hour-a-day access to additional training and technological support.

Knodel said the software system would allow the city to go paperless, stream videos online, create an information hub for residents and improve Council’s workflow, among other benefits.

Stephanie DelSignore, of Granicus, further explained the system would help Council easily create, manage and track agenda items; simplify the agenda item approval process; automatically assemble and print agenda packets; organize, store and retrieve electronic documents; and search and report on all legislative data.

She explained Granicus also would allow the city to streamline meetings; easily record roll calls, motions and votes; save time and ensure accuracy by capturing meeting actions directly into the public record; run more productive meetings with touch-screen voting for elected members; and easily place public minutes into a comprehensive public record.

She added the city’s staff and elected members would be able to synchronize Granicus with their personal iPads or other devices and record their own notes through the site.

Knodel explained the public would be able to access data stored with Granicus, including live meetings, through the city’s website.

Current Granicus customers include Hudson and Columbus, locally, and the U.S. Senate and U.S. House on the federal level, DelSignore said.

Council will vote on the proposal later this month.

“This will improve our ability to do our jobs,” said Councilman Chris Humphrey (at large).

Also during the committee meetings, Council continued to mull an agreement with OHM Advisors for professional engineering services for a proposed bridge branding and enhancing project.

Planning Director Wayne Wiethe explained the city could utilize four bridges to alert motorists they have crossed into Green. He said the state Route 619, Graybill Road, Wise Road and Akron-Canton Airport bridges are the four gateways into the community.

Wiethe said, per the agreement, the city would pay OHM about $74,000 for design and construction supervision services. He added OHM would work with the Ohio Department of Transportation to obtain permission for projects.

Humphrey questioned whether the expense was justifiable, after being questioned about the cost of the project by one of his constituents.

Wiethe acknowledged the expense is relatively high, but he said it is a step in creating Green’s own unique identity.

“We want to grab people’s attention when they are in the community,” he said. “It will help establish pride.”

According to Wiethe, each bridge could contain decorative lighting and railing and artistically display the city’s name and logo.

Mayor Dick Norton said bridge branding has a marketing value and encourages community growth.

“We have the responsibility to create an environment that is competitive and upscale and a desirable place to live, work and play,” he explained.

Norton added the bridge branding would cue people that they have “arrived someplace special.”

Wiethe told Council all four bridges did not have to be transformed at the same time.

Several Council members requested data on the costs of several completed bridge branding projects through OHM before they vote on the proposal at the next meeting.

“We have storm water issues and road issues and really have to take a hard look at all this and put it in perspective,” Knodel said.

During the regular meeting following the committee meetings, Council approved a real estate purchase agreement with Theodore Swaldo for the property known as the Belden Lodge in Southgate Park. Swaldo, owner of Gervasi Vineyard in Canton, is purchasing the lodge for $625,000 for the purpose of transforming the property into a high-end restaurant and winery. Per the agreement, Swaldo will have a driveway constructed off Massillon Road so patrons can easily access the site.

Council also approved a special-use permit and the general development plan for Belden Lodge, ensuring the restaurant and winery will appropriately fit in the park setting.

Also at the meeting, Council heard second reading of a resolution confirming the site plan for Heritage Crossings’ small shops to be located at Massillon Road and Franks Parkway.

Joe Albrecht, vice president of Albrecht Inc., was present at the meeting to display the brick, stone and brushed aluminum elements of three retail buildings to be part of the complete Acme project. He showed Council renderings of the shop spaces, complete with tower elements. Albrecht said the company will break ground on the grocery store in July and the entire project will be complete by July 2014.

Norton said he was pleased with the building components and products being used.

Also during the regular meeting, Council:

  • approved a resolution awarding a contract to Wenger Excavating Inc. for the Steese and Shriver roads curb and sidewalk improvement project for a cost of about $1.7 million;
  • accepted the final plat and performance bond for Kings Ridge Phase 4, a 16-lot subdivision next to Caston Road; and
  • heard the second reading of an ordinance that would change the zoning classification of property containing approximately 80.6 acres of land located at 1102 and 1184 Boettler Road from R-1 (Single-Family Residential) to PD (Planed Development) and would accept the general development plan of the proposed transitions senior living planned development, with a public hearing on the proposed legislation to be held on July 9 at 7:05 p.m. at the Central Administration Building (CAB), 1755 Town Park Blvd.

In other business, Council heard from residents of High Point Drive concerning noise coming from Town Park Boulevard due to school activities and community events. Roseanne Walton specifically expressed concern with a proposed amphitheater to be located in close proximity to the CAB, in the planned Central Park. She suggested Boettler Park as a better location for the amphitheater.

Council officials told the residents the issue of Central Park and the amphitheater would be talked about at the next several Council meetings.

The next Council meeting will take place June 25 starting at 5 p.m. with committee meetings, followed by the regular meeting at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the CAB, 1755 Town Park Blvd.

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