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Fairlawn officials instructing safety forces on road closures

6/20/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

On June 7, Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Alison McCarty ruled the closure of Rothrock Road west of Sawgrass Drive by the city of Fairlawn was legal. During the June 17 Fairlawn City Council meeting, city officials said the next step in the process is to train local safety forces on how to deal with the road closures at Rothrock Road and Rosemont Boulevard.

“The judge ruled in our favor and it’s a 42-page detailed opinion and, obviously, we agree with the opinion,” said Fairlawn Mayor William Roth. “Since we started this action — and after speaking with our police and fire chiefs and our safety forces — we knew that these actions would in no way ever endanger anyone as far as safety. But, more importantly, we also knew we were within our rights by Ohio law that we could actually close the roads. And the opinion of the court does, in fact, underline that. So we were pleased to hear that, and we will proceed according to plan.”

Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten said the plan includes training local safety personnel on how the system works.

“Today, we started training our safety personnel on the gate system on Rosemont Boulevard,” he said. “Next Monday, June 24, we’ll train mutual-aid safety forces, including Copley and Bath.”

Roth said the safety forces will learn about “click to enter” procedures for the gate system.

“When they are approaching it, they hit a button that sends a radio signal and the gate lifts up so they can go in and out,” he explained. “Every police vehicle and every fire vehicle already has it — it’s in the walkie-talkies they have. They hit the channel and the gate opens. All fire, police, EMS and school buses, plus our mutual aid, will have access.”

The mayor said the gate system is slated to go into effect “well within the next 30 days.”

Also during the meeting:

  • Council unanimously approved an ordinance “authorizing various appropriations,” which included $10,000 to chip and seal three roads.
    “[Chip and seal] is a surface of asphalt you put on the road,” Roth said. “Stratford will be chip and sealed. Part of Pembroke will be chip and sealed. And then there’s Bywood, which we are doing a part of and Copley will be doing part. The total cost is only $10,000, and that’s for all three roads. It’s very economical.”
    According to the mayor, the city intends to overhaul all three roads in the future.
    “Basically, we have a couple of areas that are called motor paved — when they were built originally there was never any curb and gutter — and every year over there we’ve been doing a street or at least a portion of a street to add curb and gutter without assessing residents,” he said. “A couple of streets over there we haven’t reached yet, so we’re adding this mainly to keep the surface intact and to keep the road from further deteriorating.”
    Roth said the goal is to add curbs and gutters to all of the streets.
    “As we do a road or a part of a road each year, we totally replace the road,” he said. “This year, we did part of Pembroke.”
    Ward 6 Councilwoman Kathleen Baum said she has heard from residents of the streets slated to receive the chip and seal treatment who were concerned their roads would be delayed in getting curbs and gutters added if the temporary fix was done.
    Staten responded the current conditions of the roads “calls for some sort of top to be put on the road.”
    “We would rather get that top put on there and not lose any more of the road,” he said. “We already have our road repair set for the year, so our thought is to handle this year’s maintenance of it and move forward.”
    Staten added he did not believe fixing the road by chip and seal this year will have any effect on when the road gets permanently repaired.
    “We generally go through and evaluate every street, every year,” he said. “I don’t believe that this will affect that in any way. This is a relatively inexpensive, good fix to get us just a little more time. … Honestly, the biggest concern we have is that in the winter time, we will have issues if we don’t do the chip and seal and top it now.”
  • An ordinance accepting Tri Mor’s $174,080 bid for the Smith Road improvement project was unanimously approved by Council.
    “This is a small curb and gutter job, with storm sewer, from Owosso [Avenue] to Lake of the Woods [Boulevard],” Staten explained.
  • The traffic light at Cleveland-Massillon Road and Elgin Drive has been upgraded, Roth said.
    “The left-turn signals have been added on Cleveland-Massillon Road and the opticom has been installed,” he stated. “An opticom is part of a traffic system that we install in our city which helps our safety vehicles utilize the lights when they pass through it. We try to do it as we upgrade the signals.
  • The mayor issued a reminder the city will host a fireworks display June 30.
    “Again, the Fairlawn [Community] Foundation was successful in raising the money to put on the fireworks that evening, and there will also be a band concert [at Bicentennial Park at 8 p.m.],” he said. “And our parade is on July 4, as usual. The Chamber of Commerce was able to underwrite the expense of that, which we appreciate.”
  • Police Chief Kenneth Walsh said the city’s Safety Town will take place June 24-28 at the community center.
    “Our morning class is filled, but we have openings in the afternoon class, which will run from 1 until 3:30 p.m.,” he stated.
    Applications are available at the Fairlawn Police Department, 3487 S. Smith Road, and online at www.cityoffairlawn.com.
  • The city hosted a shredding day June 8 and Roth called the event a success.
    “We worked with ReWorks, which used to be the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority, and on that day there were 442 Summit County residents that utilized the shredding,” he said. “They recycled 23,704 pounds of paper, which is 11.9 tons, and 471 pounds of cardboard. Of the 442 drivers who were there, 171, or 38.7 percent, were Fairlawn residents. So it was fairly well-received, and I think it’s a good service we have for our community.”
  • Fire Chief Russ Hose said he has been notified Ohio Edison will be doing line inspections in the city.
    “So there could potentially be a helicopter flying low over the next month or so,” he said. “Sometimes they just stay and hover over some of the large power lines.”
  • Roth proclaimed June 17-21, 2013, as Small Business Week in Fairlawn.
    “Small businesses are a cornerstone of our society and our economy,” the mayor said.

Fairlawn City Council will move to its summer schedule and meet once in July and August for regular meetings. The next meeting will take place July 15 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road.

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