News - Akron City Council
drive by a
speed, do you
if you are
speed limit? If
you haven’t in
the past, you
There is a consensus among all
of Council that the number-one
complaint among citizens is
speeding in residential areas.
The police are well aware of the
problem, but officers often have
two or three calls backed up
and can’t respond to speeding
It’s not that
they don’t consider speeding
important, but crimes against
persons – domestic disputes,
burglaries and drug activity – take
a priority over running radar.
Marilyn Keith and Bob Hoch have
spearheaded an effort to acquire
10 “smart machines” that display
your speed as you drive by. The
smart machines also record top
speeds, average speeds and data
that allows us to identify the most
offensive areas and the worst time
of the day.
We are going to start following
up the alerts delivered by the
machines with enforcement. I
will ask Council to appropriate
additional money to the Akron
Police Department specifically to
pay officers overtime to run radar.
When you see a smart machine,
consider it a warning that there
have been speeding complaints in
the neighborhood, and the police
will soon be there running radar.
We are sending speeders a
message and backing it up with
some teeth. We will give our
residents the peace of mind they
want in their neighborhoods. I
hope the warning the machines
provide slow everyone down,
and we won’t have to start
I admire the message that
Cuyahoga Falls has sent to
speeders. When you cross a
bridge into Cuyahoga Falls,
don’t you slow down right away?
Let’s start doing the same
when you drive into an Akron
VOLUME 1 2014
he images are graphic and shocking, but the reality is worse. Methamphetamine and heroin abuse
are at epidemic proportions nationwide and in Akron.
Originally, the campaign was to
target methamphetamines, but heroin
use has taken center stage as the drug of
“Meth use and production in Akron
was epidemic,” said Chief Nice. “We
were going to a meth house a day until
we got our arms around the problem.
Then heroin took over, the result of
Mexican cartels getting into production
and selling at low costs.
“We are working hard from an
enforcement standpoint, but this educational piece is equally important. The
effort here is to stop the next generation
of meth and heroin users from starting,”
The campaign is scheduled to run
“It will be a constant barrage of antidrug messages throughout the summer,”
said Moneypenny. “Then, in September,
we’ll revisit the funding to determine
what more we need to do,” he said.
Graphic images of the ravages of drug abuse are meant to attract attention to billboards, radio and television public service announcements,
newspaper ads and other media in a citywide campaign to curb heroin and methamphetamine use.
To appeal to users as well as family
members and friends of users to GET
HELP, At Large Council Representatives Jeff Fusco, Ward 6’s Bob Hoch and
Council President Garry Moneypenny
have launched a campaign to curb abuse of
these deadly drugs. And they’ve recruited
a bevy of media partners to help them get
the word out.
ClearChannel Outdoor has agreed to
donate 20 poster billboards and five of its
highly coveted digital billboards over the
next several months. The Akron Beacon
Journal and Ohio.com are providing space
for print and online advertisements. Radio
stations running public service announcements recorded by Mayor Don Plusquellic,
Juvenile Court Judge Linda Teodosio,
Akron School Superintendent David
James and Akron Police Chief James
Nice include WNIR, WAKR, WONE
and WKDD. 91.3 The Summit will air
announcements recorded by its own
on-air talent, and Time Warner Cable will
play public service announcements in the
Metro busses will display posters on the
inside and outside of its buses, Community
Learning Centers will display posters, and
Akron garbage trucks will carry four-byeight-foot signs on their sides.
“This campaign is the culmination of
a lot of collaboration and cooperation
among elected officials, law enforcement
agencies, social service organizations, the
court system, the private sector and city
hall,” said Moneypenny. “Meth and heroin
Food trucks already serve parts of Akron outside of downtown. Co-owners Renaldo Goijosa and his
wife, Makizol Garcilazo, have been cooking up Mexican fare in the El Paso Taco Truck at 1813 South
Main Street for three years.
VOLUME 1 2014
Akron City Council
166 S. High St., Ste. 301
Akron, Ohio 44308
24 N. High St. Ste. 200
Akron, Ohio 44308
Robert Zajac, Ex. VP
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Council campaign targets drug abuse
abuse are a serious
problem that we need
to confront openly
and publicly to
educate our citizenry
about getting help
for themselves and
said the campaign
partners have anteed
up about $20,000
producing billboards and printing posters,
water bill inserts and cards to hand out to
citizens. Most of the advertising space is
being donated by the media partners.
A child’s death
Three separate events combined to
become the genesis of the anti-drug
campaign: the death of 17-month-old
Patrick Lerch, legislation aimed at recovering the cost of cleaning up meth houses,
and legislation approving Clear Channel’s
request to erect digital billboards in Akron.
Lerch was found in his crib dead from
methamphetamine poisoning in 2012. The
police responded by cracking down on
meth houses, and Council passed legislation making property owners responsible for the clean-up costs. The money
collected went into a fund that is now
contributing to the campaign.
The groundwork was completed last
year when legislation was approved
allowing ClearChannel Outdoor to erect
five new digital billboards in Akron.
ClearChannel agreed to donate some
space on those billboards to the city for
public service announcements.
Council Representative Fusco sponsored both pieces of legislation. He also
led the ad hoc committee that planned the
campaign. In addition to Moneypenny and
Hoch, the committee included ClearChannel Vice President Dave Yale, Akron
Police Chief Jim Nice, ADM Board
Executive Director Gerald Craig, Deputy
Clerk of Council Connie Genevish and
Whitespace Creative Executive Vice
President Bob Zajac.
“The campaign is meant to startle
people with graphic images. It is meant
to start conversations between parents
and children, brothers and sisters, friends
and neighbors. Hopefully, we will spare
some families of grief with this collective
effort,” said Fusco.
“We want to
of this growing
Hoch. “We’re not
trying to get people
arrested, we want
to help people. We
want to get them
into a program that
will get them off
Ward 6 Representative drug use and into a
“That’s what City Council is here for. To
help people and our citizens.”
Council paves the way for food trucks
ood trucks are now allowed
to operate on public
property in Akron. Following
nine months of research
into food truck legislation in
other communities and after
assembling a special committee
of government and civic leaders
to evaluate options, Council voted
unanimously to allow food trucks
to operate in designated areas.
At Large Council Representative Jeff
Fusco, Ward 3 Council Representative
Margo Sommerville and Downtown Akron
Partnership President Suzie Graham were
members of the committee.
“We began by exploring what was
happening in other cities,” said Fusco.
“We looked at their legislation, considered the concerns of our restaurant
owners and talked with food truck operators to understand what it was that they
really wanted from new legislation.
“What we learned was that food truck
operators were more interested in gaining
a foothold near Akron’s three hospitals than
the traditional downtown area where the
restaurants are located,” he said.
Summa, Akron General and Children’s
Hospital are three of the 10 biggest employers
in Summit, Medina and Portage Counties.
Together they employ almost 20,000 people.
The new food truck legislation drafted by
the committee uses the biomedical corridor
boundaries to define the “downtown area.”
Within that area, it establishes two locations
near the hospitals that will be reserved for
food trucks: Locust Street south of Cedar
Street and Park Street west of Forge Street.
Food truck operators will have to obtain
a permit from the city for $225 and rent a
designated parking spot and the adjoining
sidewalk for $1,750 per year.
“Akron routinely rents street parking
spots and sidewalk space to construction
companies when they are erecting or renovating a building,” Fusco said. “This is no
different. They will need to pay parking
like anyone else.”
“It’s a fair compromise for both food
truck operators and brick-and-mortar restaurateurs,” said Sommerville. “Food truck
legislation is not one-size-fits-all. We came
up with something that we believe fits our
unique situation. We
tried to find a happy
Graham said that
she thinks the policy
is fair and balanced
for both the food
truck operators and
the downtown business owners.
“It will create
Ward 3 Representative
ventures and we
certainly want to encourage that, but at the
same time we are protecting our brick-andmortar vendors who work very hard to keep
their businesses open 365 day a year.”
Fusco said the committee did not favor
restaurant owners or food truck operators.
Rather, it sought balance.
“I believe we accomplished our
mission,” he said.
He also said that he would not be
opposed to making changes to the legislation after a trial period.
“If you look at Cleveland’s food truck
legislation, you’ll see that it is considerably different today that what was
originally passed. We will evaluate our
legislation after this season and make
adjustments if necessary.”
gets Save A Lot
Discount grocer Save A Lot is
coming to an underserved neighborhood in South Akron.
Council approved the sale of cityowned land at the intersection of
South Main Street and Miller Road
to a developer who will build the
grocery store there.
“That area has been a food desert,”
said Ward 3 Council Representative Margo Sommerville. “I’d heard
from residents about how much
they wanted a store in the area and
the opportunity and right developer
“The residents are very excited to
know that a place where they can buy
fresh produce and on-site butchered
meats is coming soon.”
Sommerville said Save A Lot is
dedicated to local hiring and will
bring 11 new jobs to the community. She also said Council is now
exploring opportunities to create
additional retail development around
the new grocery store.
City Council approved spending
$158,000 to help pay off debts owed
by University Park Alliance. Several
other UPA partners also are giving
the non-profit organization similar
amounts to pay off creditors. “The
funds will allow UPA’s good work
to continue on the near east side of
Akron,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic,
who sponsored the legislation. “The
city has invested millions of dollars in
UPA, and we can’t let lawsuits from
creditors over small amounts of money
delay our progress,” he said. “We can’t
just walk away from this area.”
A survey to determine the number
of vacant residential structures and the
condition of all properties is underway
The citywide survey will cover
about 90,000 parcels and take three
months to complete. The results will
be used to prioritize demolitions,
determine if additional demolition
funding is needed and help plan for the
re-use of vacant land.
Surveyors will work during normal
business hours. They will wear bright
green vests and work in teams of two
to gather information and take photographs of properties from sidewalks
and public rights-of-way.