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Fairlawn mayor travels to Germany to promote area to international businesses

11/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

In October, Fairlawn Mayor William Roth attended the “K Show” in Dusseldorf, Germany, as a representative both of the city of Fairlawn and the Mayor’s Association of Portage, Stark and Summit Counties.

During the Nov. 18 Fairlawn City Council meeting, the mayor gave an update on his trip in which he cited the importance of placing Northeast Ohio in general and Fairlawn specifically “on the radar of businesses” worldwide.

“If they don’t know about you, they’re not going to consider you,” he stated. “How do we do that? We emphasize our strengths. In our area — Summit County, in particular, and Northeast Ohio — we’re known for our rubber, plastics and polymer industry and our research centers. [The University of Akron] is very well known. It’s one of the leaders in these fields. And Kent State is known for your liquid crystals. We are also known for having a talented, educated work force in our area.”

Another selling point for this area, Roth said, is its location within the United States.

“We’re midway between New York and Chicago,” he said. “We’re within a 500-mile radius of over 50 percent of the population of the United States. Unlike some areas of the country, we don’t have a water shortage. Relatively, land costs actually are very cheap compared to New York or Silicon Valley or Chicago. These are things that attract people.”

Roth said events such as the K Show are great opportunities to extol the virtues of this area to international business.

“The K Show itself takes place every three years and is one of the key shows in Europe for rubbers, plastics and polymers,” he noted. “The show has 17 exhibit halls — figure 17 I-X Centers either connected or standing independently in an area and that’s basically what you have.”

According to Roth, more than 200,000 people attended this year’s show.

“Business and government from all over the world attend this trade show,” he said. “Any country you can think of, they had representation there. You would see it in the different booths, which were divided by continents sometimes. And sometimes, some countries, because they don’t get along, were in separate buildings.”

Because so many businesses and countries are represented, Roth said taking part in these types of shows is not only beneficial for the area, but it’s also becoming essential.

“We are part of a world economy. We are competing with the world,” he said. “Our area of the state, frankly, needs to spread the word about our area and our advantages. A lot of areas of the world haven’t heard about Ohio. … We must remain very competitive. We’re in a competitive environment. Unless we’re on the radar in the global economy, they’re not going to look for us. We have to look for them. And I believe the trade shows and missions over time produce results. It lays a foundation, and if we attract new businesses to our area, we all benefit.”

Excluding a $25 cell phone plan upgrade and a $25 Internet plan upgrade, Roth said he paid for the cost of the trip out of his own pocket.

“I really feel that if it’s important enough, and it’s going to do good for our area or the city, that I should go on these trips,” he said. “I feel it’s important that I participate in some of these. If it helps our region, I’m more than happy to help.”

In other business:

  • Ordinances establishing a reconciliation budget for 2013 and a temporary budget for 2014 received first readings during the Nov. 18 City Council meeting.
    “Obviously, we’re going to need to talk about this during our next couple of meetings,” said Council Vice President Bryan Nace (Ward 3).
    The ordinances were held in committee with no further discussion.
    According to the mayor, the police budget and the Service Department budget will be discussed during Council’s next committee meetings.
  • Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Beisecker said the city’s newly formed seniors group has organized its first event.
    “They will be having a movie day on Dec. 2 at the community center at 11 a.m.,” she said. “That’s going to be open to any seniors in our area or any of our neighboring communities. They are just encouraged to bring a brown bag lunch while they enjoy the movie. Popcorn and beverages will be provided.”
    According to Beisecker, the movie has yet to be selected.
  • The Emergency Management Agency (EMA) will send a representative to Fairlawn Nov. 25 at 5 p.m. to meet with city officials to review the city’s EMA plan, Roth said.
    “It’s a good refresher to do this periodically,” the mayor said. “It’s good to be prepared.”
  • Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten said Fairlawn’s final 2013 leaf pickup is scheduled for Nov. 25.
    “After that pickup, we’ll most likely tell residents to just use a compactor for the rest of their leaves,” he said.

The next Fairlawn City Council meeting is set for Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is scheduled for Nov. 25 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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