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Economic investment continues in Westlake, mayor says

In 2010, 58 different companies have either opened, relocated or expanded in Westlake, Mayor Dennis Clough said in his annual State of the City address March 8 before the Westshore Chamber of Commerce.

“That’s a healthy sign of economic activity in our city,” the mayor said during his speech, which took place at LaCentre Conference and Banquet Facility in Westlake.

Notable investments in the city mentioned by the mayor include the opening of the new Westshore Campus of Cuyahoga Community College and the planned opening of a Westlake location for the Hospice of the Western Reserve.

“We have a good environment for growing businesses,” the mayor said.

The business community plays an important part in Westlake’s success, the mayor said.

“If it was not for the support that I get from the business community, we would not have the very successful community, or the quality of life that we enjoy here in the city of Westlake,” the mayor said.

The mayor had little information on the city’s pursuit of the corporate headquarters of American Greetings and at least 1,000 accompanying jobs.

“The good news is, we are in the running,” Clough said in reference to the announcement last week by company officials that the headquarters would remain in the Buckeye state.

Thirteen new single-family dwellings, valued at about $5 million, were built in the city last year, the mayor noted.

The city continues to provide quality services while imposing low taxes, Clough said.

“The good news is, we’re still financially stable,” Clough said. However, the mayor noted that with the decline in interest rates, the city’s interest income has declined significantly in recent years. That has meant it’s harder for the city to save up money for major capital improvement projects, Clough said.

Westlake is near the bottom in tax rates when compared to nearby communities, the mayor said.

The city’s mission continues to be to enhance the quality of life for residents by providing the highest level of services in a cost-effective manner, Clough said.

Clough said the city has been successful because it has stuck with its long-term goals.

“It all starts with good planning,” the mayor said.

With federal EPA standards increasing, the city may need to raise its sanitary sewer rates, which haven’t been increased in more than 30 years, the mayor said.

“If there is an increase, I don’t think it’s going to be substantial,” Clough said. “It’s something that we have to look at.”

The city continues to explore the possibility of switching from the city of Cleveland water system to the Avon Lake water system, Clough said.

Clough said the mayor and City Council cooperate well.

“At least most of the time,” the mayor said with a smile, a reference to some rather vocal differences Council members have had with Clough over the past year.

A fun place in the city, Clough said, is the Community Services Center, which provides trips, movies and other events and services for senior citizens and other residents.

Clough described the city’s recreation center, which has 11,800 members, as another fun location, one that he visits regularly.

“I love to eat,” the mayor said. “So guess what. I have to work out.”

This year, the recreation department introduced a program in which nonresidents, other than people who work in Westlake, for the first time can join the recreation department when referred by an existing member.

“We recognize that sometimes the best way to encourage someone to work out is with a friend,” the mayor said.

The widening of a portion of Clague Road was completed in 2010, but construction work will continue in Westlake in 2011, the mayor said.

With the intersection at Dover Center and Detroit roads is being widened this year, the mayor recommended motorists avoid that area.

In its bicentennial year, the city will continue to pursue partnerships with its sister city of Tralee, Ireland, the mayor noted. City leaders, including Clough, recently launched a northern Ohio affiliate of the Rose of Tralee contest, a competition for young, unmarried women of Irish descent between the ages of 18 and 27.

 

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