TWINSBURG — Local government officials say 2017 was "a pretty good year," that finances are in good shape and that they are looking forward to some exciting things in 2018.
Many infrastructure projects were accomplished in 2017, and more are on the way in 2018 in Twinsburg, Twinsburg Township and Reminderville, while Twinsburg officials say they are excited about the new Gleneagles Golf Club banquet center and clubhouse and Reminderville and Twinsburg Township officials are hoping voters will approve levies for roads and police protection, respectively.
CITY OF TWINSBURG
Construction of Gleneagles’ new $6.1 million clubhouse, restaurant and catering facility got underway in the second half of 2017, and the structure is pretty much enclosed, with interior work progressing.
"We’re really looking forward to that facility," said Mayor Ted Yates. "It will be great for the public, and we’ve already booked several events."
Eighty new electric golf carts also have been purchased by the city for use at the golf course.
"A lot of people are working to make the new clubhouse a source of pride," said Yates.
Yates also said the Parks and Recreation Department will continue to offer familiar programs, as the summer music concerts continue at Perici Amphitheatre and some minor improvements will be made at the Twinsburg Fitness Center.
Yates said income tax revenue was up about $1.5 million in 2017 to $22.3 million and is forecasted to remain stable in 2018. He described the city’s financial status as "improving."
City officials are optimistic that 2018 will be a good year for economic development, with growth at Cornerstone Business Park continuing, the possibility of a couple of major companies moving to the city and downtown redevelopment beginning and with the planned razing of the Old School at Route 82 and 91.
"It’s great to see something taking form in the downtown," said Yates. "Residents I’ve talked to are positive about our efforts there."
In 2017, the city completed sidewalk projects on Ravenna Road and started road improvements on Route 91. The latter will continue in 2018 along a stretch toward the Solon border, including a roundabout at Meadowood Boulevard and Ethan’s Drive.
Saying the city’s streets are in "good shape," Yates noted the city plans to spend another $1.5 million on street maintenance and repairs, and some sanitary sewer line work also is planned.
Yates said he is thankful the city has significantly reduced its health care insurance loss ratio from 126 percent to 64 percent since he became mayor.
"Our health care expenses amount to around $2.5 million — one of our largest costs — and I think the reduction in loss ratio is due to educating our employees and our good wellness programs," he said.
Noting that the city was still cleaning up from the Nov. 5, 2017, windstorm at the end of the year, Yates said a repeat of that is one thing he hopes will not occur in 2018.
He gave credit to city workers, outside helpers and residents for getting the city cleaned up after the storm.
Mayor Sam Alonso described 2017 as "another good year" for the village, and looks toward to 2018 with optimism.
"Our housing growth remains strong, and our finances are in good shape," he said. "We just keep moving along."
Alonso said in its first full year of operation, the Reminderville Athletic Club "is doing very well," with nearly 10,000 members on the roll.
"We’re looking forward to offering new classes and putting some vacant space on the top floor into use," he said. "We want to offer some programs that are different than other recreation and fitness centers."
Alonso added he is also optimistic that there will be more activities for senior citizens now that a seniors coordinator is on board.
The mayor said infrastructure improvements remain a high priority, and the village has several projects on tap for this year.
A major project at $2.3 million is the Nautilus Trail West project, which includes road and sanitary sewer improvements. The village is responsible for $160,586 of the cost.
Road improvements are planned for California Street and Ensign Cove, while roundabout enhancements at Glenwood and Liberty and walking trails in the Liberty Ledges also are planned.
The village plans to erect an electronic sign to share information, and a three-unit building in the plaza and stormwater projects in Aurora Shores also are planned.
"Passing the 3-mill replacement road levy is something we’re hoping voters will do in May," said Alonso. The levy would generate about $317,245 per year.
"This money is very important for the village," Alonso said. "In the 18 years I’ve been mayor, we’ve used it, along with state grants, to do a lot of work on our roads. We have a 10-year plan in place for road projects."
The mayor also said the village will continue its efforts to correct stormwater problems and is trying to secure some FEMA grants toward that end.
He added the fire department also tries to secure grant money, and did so in 2017 to purchase a power lift bed for its emergency squad vehicle.
As far as residential development goes, Alonso said Herrington Place’s final phase is expected to start soon, and Liberty Ledges is in its final phase. Glenwood Square Apartments are at 80 percent occupancy.
Manager Rob Kagler said the township tackled several large and complicated projects "successfully" in 2017, and more are on the horizon this year.
"We’re in the middle of an aggressive multi-year plan of infrastructure projects," said Kagler, who noted the Township Heights road improvements is a 20-phase project totaling more than $20 million.
Phases 3 and 4 of the Marwell Estates road improvements effort, plus Phases 11 to 13 of the Heights project, are expected to move forward in 2018. Those projects carry an estimated price tag of about $4.2 million.
Marwell Phase 2 and Hadden Road are two projects that are winding up. Kagler said the township gets state and federal grants to cover roughly an average of 40 percent to 50 percent of its infrastructure projects.
Kagler said trustees plan to start discussions soon on placing a police levy on the May or November ballot, and they also will discuss placing a limited home rule issue on a future ballot.
"Right now, the township must follow state law as far as its powers and authority," he explained. "Limited home rule would allow us to enact our own laws and do many things that municipalities can do while remaining a township."
Kagler, who said township finances are healthy, noted the township will continue to offer several programs for its residents, including fitness and recreation, community gardens and senior citizens.
The fitness and recreation program allows citizens to participate in various activities — at about a dozen area facilities — at a discounted price that the township helps subsidize. Kagler said the township offers two community gardens for residents and employees of township businesses.
Senior programs include snow plowing and transportation services and the ability to participate in activities at senior centers in Twinsburg, Aurora and Solon.
330-541-9400 ext. 4189