December 21, 2014

Medina
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Medina State of the City: It’s good business to fix roads, mayor says

Dennis Hanwell

Dennis Hanwell

Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell delivered his State of the City address to an almost sold out crowd at the monthly meeting of the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

“The state of the city is very excellent,” he said as he opened up his hour-long presentation on the economic standing of the city.

Hanwell focused heavily on the efforts the city to appropriate funds for industrial infrastructure revitalization.

“When I took over in 2010, we had some real problems in our industrial area,” he said. “Roads had not been maintained for a while and were breaking apart.”

The mayor said nearly $13 million has been spent ore appropriated for the future to repaved key industrial streets such as Lake and West Smith roads.

“As you drove up and down those roads you would see vacant buildings, and I thought to myself, “No wonder. Who would want to operate a building with the condition they (the roads) were in,’” he said.

Hanwell said the city used bonds to help finance the projects, and is now using a portion of the city’s income tax to pay off the bonds.

The mayor said the next major road renovations in the industrial district will be repaving Lake Road at the beginning of next year and West Smith Road from Plastipak Holdings Inc., 850 W. Smith Road, to Standard Welding, 256 S.State Road, at the end of 2015.

He also touched on community initiatives his administration is tackling to make Medina a better place to live.

Hanwell said he has been working hard with the parks district to beautify and restore Public Square.

He told the chamber that his administration uses what he calls a “community government model” where all employees, whether it is a streets worker or a department head, hold equal responsibility for the look of the city.

“This is our city,” he said. “We are all responsible for it.”

The mayor also touched on the plans to convert the old Key Bank drive-through into a public restroom by the Candlelight Walk. He said the restrooms will positively contribute to the economic engine of Medina’s Public Square.

“It costs a little bit, but by drawing these people in it helps the economy,” he said.

The property was bought by the city in 2013 for $317,199. Since the purchase the city has been criticized after the price of the building renovation rose to around $350,000 from its initial estimates of $180,000.

“I think when people see the use of those and personally use the restrooms the naysayers will subside,” he said.

Hanwell said he was delivering the address with mixed emotions because former mayor Jane Leaver is seriously ill.

“I am here with the joy and excitement of what all we are doing,” he said. “But at the same time I ask you to keep the Leaver family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or adavis@medina-gazette.com.