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Fairlawn mayor headed back to China

9/5/2013 - South Side Leader
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By William Roth

For the second time this year, Fairlawn Mayor William Roth will be taking a trip to China in an effort to talk with investors who may be interested in investing in Northeast Ohio.

“The trip involves The Mayors Association of Portage, Stark and Summit Counties; the city of Akron; the city of Fairlawn; The University of Akron and the law firm of Brennan, Manna and Diamond,” the mayor said during Fairlawn City Council’s Sept. 3 meeting. “The first stop will be Xiamen, and that’s where the trade show is. This is an investment show for the Chinese millionaires who receive permission to invest overseas.”

According to Roth, the group of American visitors, which also will include Fairlawn City Council Vice President Bryan Nace (Ward 3), will attend numerous meetings in an effort to promote Northeast Ohio to Chinese investors. The mayor said he and Nace will leave Sept. 6 and be gone for approximately 10 and a half days.

“The idea is to encourage return visits here and to encourage investments,” Roth said. “It will be a busy trip, and we’re looking forward to it.”

In other business, Councilwoman Kathleen Baum was back in her seat on Council as Fairlawn’s Ward 6 representative Sept. 3.

Baum had retired from the seat in July, citing changes to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System that would have decreased her pension had she stayed on Council. Baum had been an administrative assistant for the Fairlawn Police Department for 10 years prior to being elected to Council.

She was re-appointed to the Council seat during a special meeting Aug. 29, Roth said, and sworn back into Council prior to the Sept. 3 meeting. The seat is a four-year term that will expire in two years, the mayor noted.

Baum said the re-appointment will not affect her pension.

In other news, Law Director Ed Riegler said the labor contracts between Fairlawn and the city’s union employees are up at the end of the year.

“As of Sept. 1, the unions have a responsibility to file a notice to negotiate. That notice has to be filed sometime in September,” he said. “We received a notice today from the fire division of their intent to negotiate, and I would imagine within the next two weeks we will receive notices to negotiate from the other unions who are going to be at the table.”

Also during the meeting:

  • City Engineer Nick Spagnuolo said Smith Road, east of Ghent Road, will be closed through Sept. 5.
    “They’re going to be putting a storm sewer culvert under the road from the south side to the north side,” he said. “We will be detouring traffic for those few days down Sand Run Parkway.”
  • Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Beisecker called the Sept. 1 Fairlawn Food Truck Roundup “a huge success.”
    “Almost all of the food trucks sold out of their food, and people are already asking about next year,” she said.
  • Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten said the Croghan Park improvement project is scheduled to start Sept. 6.
    “They will put fences up to work around the old bridge and start taking it down for the replacement, which will happen in the spring,” he stated. “But the rain garden will happen this fall.”
  • Roth said a ground-breaking ceremony for the incoming hotel on Embassy Parkway was set to take place Sept. 4.
    “It’s a Residence Inn by Marriott, and if you’ve been over there, they’ve been doing some earth moving already,” he said. “It’s four stories, and it is designed for people who will stay for lengthy periods of time, although I’m sure they will accommodate all time periods.”
    The mayor said the hotel is slated to open “sometime in 2014.”
  • Council approved a resolution designating Oct. 27 as Beggars’ Night in Fairlawn from 5 to 7 p.m.
    “This is the resolution we do every year,” said Beisecker. “We do it on the Sunday before Halloween every year to coincide with the townships of Copley and Bath. As always, it’s from 5 to 7, and to participate just turn on your outside porch light.”

The next Fairlawn City Council meeting is set to take place Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road.

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