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Council members praise, approve plan for business

6/19/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Akron City Council members June 16 praised a West Akron woman who testified at a public hearing about a doggie daycare business she plans to open on South Maple Street.

Benita Gadsden offered a presentation to Council’s Planning Committee about Downtown Akron Doggies, a doggie daycare and boarding facility. She said she has contracted with Weaver Industries for six employees, and she has hired a professional dog daycare consultant and also consulted with the Small Business Administration as she planned for the business.

She offered several ways in which noise and smell issues would be addressed, including a detailed plan for cleaning and disinfecting. She said solid vinyl fencing will enclose the outdoor play area, and soundproofing measures are being taken inside.

At the public hearing, property owner Tony Troppe spoke in support of Gadsden.

“I just have every confidence that this lady is going to do everything she says she is,” he said.

Troppe and Gadsden both noted the business’s location is meant to serve Downtown Akron residents and employees.

Several Council members expressed they were impressed with Gadsden’s planned business, as well.

“I think what you have done is remarkable,” said Councilwoman Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8).

“She’s identified an important community need,” said Councilman Rich Swirsky (D-Ward 1), adding Gadsden also is exemplifying the “entrepreneurial spirit” championed by the city and City Council.

At the regular meeting that evening, Council approved the conditional-use permit for the business, with an amendment that added two conditions: Dogs are to be kept inside from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., and a row of evergreens is to be planted along the western property line.

In other business, Council’s Budget and Finance Committee heard from Finance Director Diane Miller-Dawson and Akron Urban League President and CEO Fred Wright regarding an ordinance permitting a replacement guaranty agreement among the city, the Urban League and Summit County to allow for refinancing a 2007 loan for the Urban League’s community service center.

A similar piece is before Summit County Council.

Wright explained the replacement loan would restructure the original $3.6 million bond financing into a $2 million commercial loan that includes a $100,000 line of credit.

“That’s quite a big savings, and it makes a lot of sense to me,” said Councilwoman Linda Omobien (D-at large).

City Council referred the ordinance until next week to be in synchronization with Summit County Council.

Also June 16, Councilman Russel Neal (D-Ward 4) brought forth a proposal for Council to consider a different way for the city to paint fire hydrants this summer.

Neal said it could save $80,000 to hire a private contractor, train Akron residents and have a member of the city’s Association of Federal, State, Council and Municipal Employees union serve as a crew leader to undertake the hydrant painting, rather than having all the hydrants painted by city employees. It could put Akron residents to work and preserve funding that could potentially be put to use in the neighborhoods, he said.

Council’s Public Utilities Committee agreed to take the idea into consideration.

The next Akron City Council meeting will take place June 23 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. in Downtown Akron. Committee meetings are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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