The city has ambitious plans to repair 28 residential streets this year, break ground on the new Town Center Enhancement project and get the ball rolling on a fifth fire station that would be located in the center of town.
The announcements were part of Mayor Tom Perciak’s annual State of the City address, which he delivered at the Strongsville Rec Center on March 21.
Perciak told a packed house that Strongsville has the four building blocks for a thriving city: solid financial stewardship, strong safety forces, continuing investment in infrastructure and aggressive economic development efforts.
“Other cities have to borrow to meet daily expenses,” he said. “That is not the case here.”
Income tax collections in 2022 hit an all-time high, the mayor said, making up 82.4 percent of the city’s general fund. Most of that tax revenue came from businesses operating in town.
“I cannot stress enough the direct correlation between the health of our business community and the quality of services we can provide for our residents,” Perciak said.
A full half of the general fund – nearly $30 million -- continues to go to safety, funding the police and fire departments. After that, the biggest expenditures are street maintenance (almost 25 percent), general government operations (9 percent), parks and recreation (7.7 percent) and trash removal (about 5 percent).
Meanwhile, the city has reduced its debt 47 percent since 2009.
The mayor noted that calls for EMS and fire services have increased 187 percent since 2004. To that end, city officials have started planning for a fifth fire station, to be located on Royalton Road just west of Pearl Road.
Voters will be asked in November to rezone a parcel of land to accommodate the new station.
“Just by the increased activity, we need to have a station in the center of town,” he said.
Major road projects in 2023 will include resurfacing Howe Road from Royalton to Drake; resurfacing Prospect Road from Royalton to Boston and resurfacing Whitney Road from Webster to W. 130th
In addition, all or parts of 28 residential streets will be improved:
Ward 1 – Valley Creek Drive, Trails Edge Drive, Sun Crest Court, Falling Water (Royalton to Valley Creek), Blazey Trail (Webster to W. 130th
), Ruth Drive, Jannette Drive, Handle Road (Forest Park to Albion).
Ward 2 – Walking Stick Way, Compass Point Drive, Pioneers Creek, Drake Road (Misty Lake to Howe), Doe Circle, Deerfield Drive (Raccoon Trail to Partridge).
Ward 3 – Heather Lane, Creek Stone Circle, Clear Brook Circle, Meadowgrass Road, Idlewood Drive, Stafford Drive, Broxton Drive, Worthington Park, Osage Drive.
Ward 4 – Pineview Circle, Concord Drive, Carlton Court, Ashford Circle.
Another major undertaking this year is the launch of the Town Center Enhancement Project, designed to make the center of town more walkable and bring new recreational amenities to residents.
The mayor invited Council President Jim Carbone to the stage to give an update on the project, which will include a splash pad, enclosed pavilion, ADA compliant playgrounds, tennis, pickleball, sand volleyball and a half-basketball court, as well as open space and an area for community events like food truck rallies or band concerts.
Carbone said residents have clamored for things like a splash pad for years, but need to understand that timing is key, pointing out that the city has now received nearly $5 million in grants and donations toward the $8.3 million project cost.
Ground will be broken this summer, Carbone said.
Finally, Perciak said the city’s business base continues to grow, with more than 50 new businesses opening in Strongsville last year, investing more than $50 million in the community.
International businesses around the world are investing in Strongsville, he said, bringing jobs and tax revenue to the community.
To keep that momentum, the city is currently completing its first ever economic development strategic plan. And Perciak said plans are in the works to extend Foltz Parkway 2,000 feet south to create access to 47.2 acres of new industrial land.
“Economic development remains the engine that drives the city’s revenue stream,” he said.