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City applying for funds to widen South Cleveland-Massillon Road

10/10/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

During its Oct. 7 meeting, Fairlawn City Council unanimously passed a resolution allowing the mayor to apply to the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) for federal Surface Transportation Program funds for the South Cleveland-Massillon Road improvement project.

The project would call for the widening of South Cleveland-Massillon Road to four lanes from “roughly the [former] Brown Derby property [that now includes an Aldi store] south to Interstate 77,” Mayor William Roth said.

“The genesis of this widening actually goes back over 20 years,” he noted. “Originally, the city, in the late ’80s or early ’90s, applied for the widening of Cleveland-Massillon Road. Long story short, with the funding we did receive we were able to widen West Market Street and the intersection of Cleveland-Massillon Road. This resolution shows AMATS we’re interested in applying again and that we want to move forward with the project.”

Roth said Council needed to pass the resolution in order to get the application process started, so the city could meet the application deadlines this fall to “get in the funding pipeline.”

“Obviously, we can’t guarantee we’ll get the funding down the road, but it looks like the odds are pretty good because several of the large projects AMATS was funding over the past four to five years are now completed,” he said. “And this is a road that AMATS sees as a road they’d like to have improved and has been for quite some time.”

According to the mayor, AMATS has estimated the cost for the project at $9.6 million.

“There are several funding sources that we will be utilizing during the application process, and our goal is to hopefully get at least 80 percent of the cost funded,” he said. “We have to have our application stuff done by late fall of this year. Once that is all done, AMATS will go through its procedure. You’re talking realistically, for funding and actual building, that the project would be several years away.”

In other business:

  • •Fairlawn Police Chief Kenneth Walsh said members of the “Metro SWAT Team provided classroom instruction along with hands-on training” to Fairlawn police officers in the area of law enforcement response to an active shooter in a school setting Oct. 5.

“An hour of classroom direction was followed by three hours of actual responses to approximately 10 scenarios, where members of the team played the aggressors armed with simulated weapons throughout various areas of Fort Island [Primary School],” Walsh said. “I feel it was a great learning exercise for our officers, regardless of their respective years of experience.”

Council President Russ Sharnsky (at large) said he was glad the officers were able to get the training, but lamented that it was even necessary.

“You know, it’s a shame that we’ve come to this point in the world where we have to have this kind of training,” he said. “But it is nice to know our safety forces are trained to handle any kind of emergency.”

  • According to Fire Chief Russ Hose, the Fairlawn Fire Department’s hiring of 11 part-time fire medics this past summer has proven to be “quite successful.”

“I’m happy to report that nine have completed all of their training and are actively working shifts at this time, and the last two I expect to have done within the month,” he said. “That’s really helped make a big impact on us because we were quite low on our part-time personnel.”

  • Roth said he is nearly done meeting with the city’s various department heads in an effort to put together a budget for next year.

“I anticipate at the next [City Council] committee meeting we should have most of the operating budgets properly before Council,” he said. “So we’ll have plenty of time to enact a budget before the end of the year.”

  • Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Beisecker said the Fairlawn Community Garden will close for the year Nov. 3.

“For the yearly gardeners, any personal supplies should be removed by that date,” she said.

The next Fairlawn City Council meeting is set to take place Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road.

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