Macedonia -- The year brought some promising new economic development in the city after some lean times.
"In general, things are getting better every year and I fully believe infrastructure has a lot to do with it," said Mayor Don Kuchta Dec. 20.
Kuchta said he believes the city's location between Cleveland and Akron, as well as its close proximity to routes 8 and 82 and interstates 271 and 480, have long been an advantage, but improvements in traffic flow on Route 82 with the replacement of a railroad bridge and widening of the road in recent years has also helped.
"Macedonia's a hot ticket and I really believe build it and they will come," he said. "What it's doing is opening the doorway and inviting people in."
Kuchta said the currently-under-construction bridge over the Highland Road railroad tracks east of Valley View Road, a project expected to be completed next August, will also help by eliminating "delays and unsafe conditions because of a train crossing."
In the December issue of the E-Messenger, the city's electronic newsletter, Finance Director Scott Svab wrote that through Nov. 15, there had been an uptick in income tax collections, with about $7.21 million coming in, compared to about $6,23 million for the same period in 2011 and about $5.32 million in 2010. Svab, however said much of the increase over 2010 was due to a three-year income tax increase, from 2 to 2.25 percent, that voters approved in November 2010 and which expires at the end of 2013.
Svab said extra tax revenue allowed the city to fund about $1.47 million in capital improvement expenditures, an area that had been largely neglected in recent years because of tight budgets.. This included $630,000 for the reconstruction of a portion of Shepard Hills Boulevard, including improvements in the roads stormwater control infrastructure, nearly $500,000 for other road paving work, with the remainder for road patching and restriping; and police car; salt truck and other equipment purchases, including new playground equipment at Longwood Park.
Among the business highlights were the opening of the new Aldi discount grocery store on Route 82, west of Routs 8, in January. That same month, the company closed its store at its long-time location in Summit Plaza in Northfield Village.
Also in 2012, the former Graco Children's Products building on Valley View Road was partially filled when TPC Wire and Cable Corp. and Guardian Building Products moved in to the facility. TPC, which was formerly in Independence, and South Carolina-based Guardian together brought nearly 200 jobs to the city, more than replacing the loss of the 153 Graco employees who were all laid off when the company left in late 2010.
Bennett Supply, a Pennsylvania-based building products company, opened its new warehouse and office facility on Roll and Hold Parkway, bringing in about 30 new jobs, and Ravenna-based Windmill Lakes Golf Club took over the operation of the city-owned golf course in Longwood Park in the spring. Windmill Lakes replaced the former operator, 2Club Golf LLC, which entered into an agreement with the city to construct and operate the golf course in 2006, but citing financial losses, left in 2011. Hardware supplier SC Fastening Systems LLC brought about a dozen jobs in when it moved to South Freeway Drive from Oakwood.
Kuchta said he has always made increasing business activity a priority.
"That's the whole nucleus of this administration, economic development," he said.