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Council taking closer look at food trucks

6/27/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron City Council President Garry Moneypenny (D-Ward 10) announced June 24 that a committee will be formed to look into allowing food trucks in Akron — after speaking sternly to those who have attended recent Council meetings to speak on the issue.

Several food truck operators recently have spoken during Council’s Public Comment Period to ask that the city change its law to allow food trucks to operate in Akron. Representatives of the city’s brick-and-mortar restaurants and the Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) have pushed back, saying food trucks could be detrimental to the local restaurant business.

Moneypenny, his voice rising, said attacks on Facebook on the city, DAP and elected officials have done the food truck operators “a disservice.” He asked that the attacks stop.

“I’m asking you to get further with honey than you do with vinegar,” he said.

Despite the contention, Moneypenny said Council will be looking into the issue and forming a committee consisting of representatives from Council, DAP and the local food truck and restaurant associations.

Jeff Winer, co-owner of Orange Trük, who had spoken at two previous Council meetings urging the city to allow the trucks to operate in Akron, immediately apologized during public comments.

Winer said the “Please allow food trucks in Akron” Facebook page was not affiliated with him, and he would ask the page’s authors to have it taken down.

“We do want to work with you,” Winer told Council.

Moneypenny said Winer’s apology was accepted.

After the Council meeting, it appeared the Facebook page had been removed.

In other business, Council unanimously approved a resolution urging the addition of Reserve Officer Harold Wintrow to the National Peace Officers Memorial Wall.

According to the resolution, Wintrow died in 1993 from injuries sustained in the line of duty April 10, 1965, when he was shot, along with two other officers. Those officers, Eugene Hooper and Frank Mancini, are included on the wall, but Wintrow has not been included because he was not a sworn officer, Moneypenny said.

It is an issue near to Ward 8 Councilwoman Marilyn Keith, of West Akron, who has been collecting signatures on a petition to have Wintrow’s name added. She said Wintrow was on duty the day of the Memorial Parkway cave-in.

“He was courageous in many, many ways,” Keith said. “I carry that petition with me at all times.”

In other legislative action, Council approved:

  • a resolution declaring August Summit Kids Month;
  • a resolution supporting the inclusion of funding for the Ohio Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs in the state budget;
  • an ordinance authorizing $80,000 to make safety improvements at 14 sewer pump stations; and
  • a $1.15 million contract with Kenmore Construction Co. for the construction of a cap replacement for the Main Outfall Sewer in Merriman Valley.

Council also is expected to vote next week on the following legislation, which were placed on the consent agenda:

√ ordinances providing for the increase in contributions to the pension plans for police and fire department employees. Finance Director Diane Miller Dawson said the affected employees’ contributions will increase in 2013, 2014 and 2015 as a result of a change in state law. The contribution will increase from 10 percent to 10.75 percent July 7 and 0.75 percent in 2014 and 2015.
“This was nothing that the city did,” Dawson stressed, noting the Ohio legislature changed the law in September 2012.
The city’s share remains unchanged, she said; and

√ an ordinance changing the name of Wabash Avenue between West Exchange Street and Bell Street to Akron General Avenue.
Also at the meeting, Akron Zoo CEO Patricia Simmons visited — along with a three-banded armadillo named Daisy, who pranced along the table in the middle of Council Chambers — and shared several pieces of information.
She said the zoo’s Mike and Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge exhibit will open to the public July 20. In addition, Aug. 25-29 will be Community Days for Akron residents, who will be admitted free with tickets, which are available in Room 200 at the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. For more information about additional communities’ Community Days and where to obtain tickets, visit www.akronzoo.org and click on Community Days under the Visit tab.
Simmons added the zoo will have a renewal levy on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot. She said it is not a new tax, and the levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $23 per year.
“It is the smallest tax of all the taxing agencies in Summit County,” she said. “That money really does make a huge difference for us.”

The next Council meeting will take place July 1 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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