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TWINSBURG -- Concerns about adequate staffing on the safety forces. The success of Cornerstone Business Park. The pros and cons of the future Gleneagles clubhouse.
The state of residential streets.
These concerns, comments and more were aired at the first Twinsburg Town Hall meeting Feb. 7 at Twinsburg Government Center, as more than 20 residents and city officials attended the gathering, led by Mayor Ted Yates.
The topics raised dictated the agenda, as will be the format for the next three meetings May 2, Aug. 8 and Oct. 17, all starting at 6:30 p.m.
The town halls will be attended by department heads and Council representatives, as well as residents.
"We discuss ongoing city projects and provide brief updates on department-specific issues," Yates said. "My hope is that these meetings [offer] a casual atmosphere where residents can come in and ask questions or voice concerns. We spend a great amount of time researching and planning some of our projects, and this 'Town Hall' format allows us to share an insight as to what goes on behind the scenes."
Liberty Road resident Sally Gaydosh said Feb. 7 that she remained concerned about parts of Cannon and Liberty roads that have deep, open ditches and low-hanging branches in places.
"Liberty Road, with all the traffic, needs some serious attention," Gaydosh said.
Councilman Brian Steele (Ward 2) said he's aware of two accidents, when it took time to locate vehicle that had had gone into the ditches along Liberty Road.
Resident Russ Roberts said he would like to see sidewalks on Shepard Trail.
"You get a lot of walking," Roberts said. "I enjoy this community. It's a great community to walk in. It would be great to not have to get in your car to drive to one of the trails."
Roberts also expressed concern about the $6.1 million Gleneagles Golf Course clubhouse, set to break ground this spring. City Council approved 4-2 on Jan. 24 a contract with Cavanaugh Building Corp. in Akron to construct the 19,000-square-foot facility, which will include a restaurant and banquet facilities, locker rooms and a pro shop.
"Golf courses in Ohio are not doing well," Roberts said. "I'm disappointed this got approved."
Yates responded that golf course closings in Northeast Ohio are the result of a market correction, as many facilities flooded the golf market by opening in the 1990s and 2000s. Yates said he hoped the clubhouse would attract not just golfers, but families to the restaurant and parties to the banquet center for rentals for year-around events.
Resident Karen Clinton said she felt the money spent on the clubhouse could be better used to shore up the city's safety forces and pave roads in need of repair. Clinton said she attended a meeting, where she was told that safety forces staffing was "at adequate levels" and thought the city should go beyond "adequate."
"It's nice to have a wish list, but we need to make sure the city provides what they need," Clinton said. "I think we need to look at our needs instead of our wants."
Yates added that he hoped that the clubhouse revenues could eventually be enough to make the golf course self-sustaining.
Later in the meeting, Yates addressed a new housing development near the Whispering Woods development, which is near Cornerstone Business Park at the corner of Route 82 and Chamberlin Road. The proposed development was mentioned in connection with a question from Twinsburg resident Theresa Matrisciano, who lives in the area and noticed that the property west of Chamberlin looked "like it's been staked out."
Yates said the development calls for 24 single-family homes on a plot of land that has been vacant for years.
In all, residents seemed to have a positive reaction to the Town Hall meeting.
"I think this is wonderful," Clinton said. "I think it was very productive. It allowed us to air our concerns. It gives constituents more confidence in their elected officials."
Resident Scott Barr agreed.
"It was wonderful ... I liked the diversity of opinions. It was casual, it was really informative. I'm glad I attended," he said.
Resident Mary Johnson, who attended with her husband Doug, said she "appreciated the open communications."
"I think the residents felt comfortable airing their concerns," she said. "I felt the mayor did a good job responding."