By Jeff Gallatin
Mayor Kevin Kennedy anticipates blending old strengths with new ideas as he works on maintaining growth and development in 2014.
In figures released Thursday, Kennedy said the city recorded another strong year in construction and development in 2014. His release cited total valuation for public and private development as more than $70 million. Among projects cited by the mayor were the new 10-screen cinema and restaurants at Great Northern Mall, continued expansion of the Auto Mile with improvements for the Nissan, Aston Martin and Maserati businesses, as well as commercial projects such as the Harbor Freight, Aura Smile Dental and Mattress Firm businesses.
“It was a good year and we’re looking forward to another one,” he said in reference to the projects.
Referring to the new Great Northern Cinema complex, which has state-of-the-art equipment contained at around 20 movie complexes throughout the United States, Kennedy said he enjoys the atmosphere.
“I’m ready to take a pillow in there and relax,” he said of the new seats and equipment. “They’ve done a great job over there and continue to work hard at upgrading the entire mall.”
Mike Walsh, Great Northern’s general manager, said he’s pleased with the partnership between the city and the mall, saying it has made North Olmsted a better place to live, work and visit.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Mayor Kennedy, Planning and Development Director Kim Wenger, and all representatives of the city of North Olmsted, especially with recent projects. We have been working very closely to introduce changes and enhancements to the mall which also directly answer the desires of residents and the larger community.”
Kennedy said he intends to continue to maintain strong relationships with the business community. He said events like holding his annual state of the city address to the North Olmsted Chamber of Commerce (set this year for Jan. 16 at the North Olmsted Radisson Hotel) as well as the February business meet and greet between city officials and area businesses help keep the lines of communication open between the city and businesses.
“It’s important we communicate with each other,” he said.
Nissan of North Olmsted owner Mike D’Amato lauded city officials.
“There is such a solid foundation of a great business environment coupled with a true sense of cooperation from the residents and city hall,” he said. “Every single department we have dealt with in our numerous facilities, property and renovation projects have been processed in a fair and equitable way to ensure that the community needs and our business needs have been met. I am proud to be a business owner on the North Olmsted Auto Mile.”
Kennedy said he anticipates future growth and investment in North Olmsted in 2014 and the future.
“The good decision making and hard work of today will make the city an even better place in the future,”
he said. “My goal is to turn the city over to the future generations of leaders in great shape, stronger than when I got it.”