North Olmsted Mayor Kevin Kennedy is convinced the best is yet to come for his city as he heads into his second year on the job.
“I love this job and I love this city,” Kennedy said while making his second-annual state of the city address to a packed house at the North Olmsted Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Radisson Hotel Thursday. “I know people who ask me how I like the job and then look at me funny when I tell them I love it. But, I truly do.”
Kennedy, who with his wife and their four children lives in the house he grew up in, cited measures he and the city have already taken since he took office last year as well as planned new measures, as reason for his optimism.
He cited North Olmsted voters passage of Issue 34, allowing administrations to revamp city departments with the consent of council as one big reason for his optimism.
“It enhanced our ability to manage people,” he said. “We eliminated two directors’ positions and saved the city $190,000 per year. We took those dollars and put them on the street in other services.”
Kennedy cited new lockers at the Recreation Center, repaving the Springvale parking lot and other improvements, bringing back brush roundup collections in spring and summer, a future digital display board for the city and starting a rainy-day fund for the city after years without one.
He lauded efforts by Planning and Development Director Kim Wenger and city staff. Their work in obtaining grants for the city as well as active site visits and outreach as keys to the work.
City businesses have also reacted positively to work such as the second annual meet-and-greet between the city and businesses, which is set for February. New businesses big and small, such as Morris Cadillac going into the auto mile, Ganley Subaru, Saab, the new Getgo station and First Merit Bank, as pluses. Other businesses’ expansions such as Fish Furniture, Wal-Mart, Giant Eagle’s Pharmacy, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and a major planned renovation at Westfield Great Northern, are all major projects.
“We will continue to work with and encourage business and economic development,” Kennedy said.
In addition to the business community, Kennedy cited efforts to have a strong property maintenance policy in the city. The scheduled move of the Community Food cupboard out to a renovated building on Butternut Ridge Road will also be a plus, he said.
Kennedy lauded work at the Springvale County Club, saying the upgrades will further enhance an already strong facility. In addition, he said the new Recreation Center management team and administration are working closely together on projects such as advertising at the center and maintaining the strong programs already in place.
City safety and service department staff will continue to work on upgrades in road safety and efficiency at intersections like Lorain and Columbia roads, as well as the Brookpark Road and Great Northern Boulevard area. The Great Northern Boulevard corridor also will see enhancements.
Kennedy said a major long-term project is replacing the current traffic light system.
He lauded Finance Director Carrie Copfer’s work in continuing to reduce the city’s long-term debt and maintaining a strong bond rating.
Future projects such as the wastewater treatment plant revamping, as well the switchover to an automated trash and recycling program, will provide major benefits to city residents.
Recalling laid off fire and police workers in 2010 was a welcome move, he said.