Strongsville is home to both a vital business district filled with companies doing innovative work in a global market and more than 3,000 acres of green space dotting the landscape, Mayor Tom Perciak said in his State of the City address.
Perciak, speaking before a packed house at the Ehrnfelt Recreation Center March 14, said the city’s strong retail and industrial base, which provides the majority of Strongsville’s income tax revenue, is balanced by city parks and recreation fields, privately held common space in neighborhoods and 2,170 acres of Cleveland Metroparks right in residents’ back yards.
“For anyone to say our community is a concrete jungle is ignoring the facts,” he said.
The mayor opened his speech with a rundown of Strongsville’s spending and fiscal health, noting that the city receives only 9.7 percent of the property taxes paid by residents, relying instead on income tax to provide police and fire protection, road maintenance and other services.
That’s why the diversity of Strongsville’s business base is so important.
“We don’t have all our eggs in one basket,” Perciak said. “We know we have a guaranteed revenue stream that will take us into the future.”
And he said many people don’t realize how many companies in Strongsville are doing groundbreaking work on a global scale. He showed a short video overview of four industries – AkzoNobel, Heroux Devtek, Swagelok and Clark-Reliance – as an example of the innovative work going on within the city’s business parks.
“We wanted to demonstrate the worldwide reach we now have in the city of Strongsville,” the mayor said.
At the same time, Strongsville has taken care to develop a network of green space throughout town in addition to hosting a sprawling piece of Cleveland Metroparks that offers a multi-purpose trail, picnic areas, bridle trails, fishing and a mountain bike trail.
In fact, Perciak pointed out, entire cities could fit inside the 3,149 acres of green space Strongsville hosts. The cities of Olmsted Falls (2,637 acres), Parma Heights (2,682 acres), Bay Village (2,925 acres), Fairview Park (2,995 acres), Rocky River (3,034 acres) and Seven Hills (3,142 acres) all take up less area than Strongsville’s green space.
“Green space comprises 20 percent of all of our land,” he said.
Perciak also touched on the city’s in-house wellness program that has helped keep employee health insurance costs stable, as well as on Strongsville’s $98 million investment in infrastructure since 2004 – made possible by the city’s Aaa bond rating and more than $46 million in outside funding and grants.
But the city’s businesses are truly the bedrock of its success, the mayor said, pointing out that such success rests on an underlying base of financial stability – a goal Strongsville has achieved with its exceptional bond rating and strong, diverse business base.
That fiscal health allows the city to fund superior safety forces, which then leads to safe neighborhoods and business corridors with appreciating property values and low vacancy rates.
That safe, stable atmosphere then leads to even more investment in neighborhoods and business parks and to redevelopment of retail centers and beautification efforts.
“People wouldn’t build houses here, they wouldn’t buy houses here,” he said. "Without a strong financial base, we could not accomplish one of these things.”