Mayor Tom Perciak delivered his annual State of the City address to a socially distanced crowd at the Ehrnfelt Recreation Center May 11, focusing on the theme 'Strongsville Steps Up' to describe how the city rallied through the coronavirus pandemic.
The mayor played a video that showed how local groups and individuals stepped up over the last year to provide relief for those struggling through the crisis, including the Strongsville police department, the all-volunteer Community Emergency Response Team, the Strongsville Chamber of Commerce, VFW Post 3345, Strongsville Rotary and the Cuyahoga County Mayors and City Managers Association.
Perciak also talked about how the city's dynamic economic development efforts allowed Strongsville to emerge from the situation almost stronger than before.
"We managed the crisis; the crisis did not manage us," he said.
Even though tax revenue plunged during 2020, Strongsville managed to maintain its Aaa bond rating from Moody's Investor Services -- one of only a handful of cities in Ohio to do so. Because of that, Strongsville will be able to borrow money at the lowest possible interest rate to reconstruct more than 6.5 miles of road in 2021 (including 35 residential concrete streets) at a cost of $9 million.
And while unemployment rates skyrocketed everywhere during 2020, reaching 19.2 percent here in April 2020, Strongsville has already recovered to only 3.9 percent unemployment as of February.
Perciak also noted the city's housing stock remains solid, with the longest streak of average sales price gains in Cuyahoga County (average sale price went from $163,000 to $246,000 in a decade), and that firms have continued to invest in Strongsville despite the pandemic.
The city, he said, helped small businesses get through the pandemic by creating a guide detailing assistante programs available at the federal, state and local levels, and helped companies apply for PPP loans. A total of 1,141 PPP loans providing $107 million in assistance were awarded to Strongsville businesses
The mayor talked about three new firms taking over vacant space or building new headquarters that will add 500 new jobs here in 2021, as well as singling out the commitment of Union Home Mortgage, which expanded its corporate headquarters to include a 106,000-square-foot campus in Strongsville and created 450 new jobs.
A video of the mayor's speech will show during May and June 2021 on Channel 21 (WOW) and Channel 1020 (Spectrum) daily at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.