Kathy Antoniotti

GREEN: The city is not only celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012, but also news of another business coming to the Massillon Road corridor that residents have been “wanting to hear” for several years, Mayor Dick Norton said.

Albrecht Inc. announced plans to build a grocery store in the Heritage Crossings development near Graybill and Massillon roads, Norton said in his State of the City address Wednesday evening at Raintree Country Club.

“The Acme Grocery Store will be the centerpiece of Albrecht’s retail development consisting of nearly 17 acres of land,” Norton told about 280 business leaders and community members.

Plans include a 68,800-square-foot store with more than 28,200 additional square feet of commercial space for retail, office or high-end restaurant use, Norton said.

Pending approvals, Acme intends to break ground in 2013, said Norton, who began his second term in office this month.

Ward 2 Councilman Dave France said he couldn’t be more pleased with Albrecht’s decision to build a new store in Green.

“It’s a good fit. I think it’s a great thing to get another grocery store with the Giant Eagle and bring some competition to the area,” France said.

Coupled with the Jan. 12 announcement that Diebold chose a site in Green to build its $100 million global headquarters, recent news for the city couldn’t be better, he said.

“It’s the vision we had for the area a decade ago,” France said.

Diebold, the $2.8 billion global maker of ATMs and security systems, signed a purchase agreement for 55 acres in Green’s Massillon Road corridor at Union Square, near Town Park Boulevard.

“I am astounded and proud of our progress and the prosperity of the businesses in our city,” Norton said in his address to a record-breaking crowd.

Other new businesses expected to open along the corridor in 2012 include Conrad Tire Express in the former Motorsports building and a Fifth Third Bank at the northwest corner of Massillon and Boettler roads.

Looking back, Norton told the audience, the city has seen significant growth since it incorporated in 1992, including a population increase from 19,000 to 26,000 residents. The number of passengers through the Akron-Canton Airport increased from about 600,000 annually to almost 1.7 million passengers, setting a record in 2011. Schools have an additional 1,000 students enrolled this year, up from 3,200 in 1992.

“In 20 short years, we have been building a prosperous, progressive and promising city — one we can all be proud of,” Norton told the crowd.

The city began the new year with $24 million in reserve, an increase of more than $5 million over last year alone, Norton said. Income tax revenues increased 9 percent over 2010 collections, the highest one-year increase in the city’s history.

The mayor said new infrastructure projects the city will begin in 2012 include: widening of Lauby Road from the airport entrance north to Greensburg Road; the extension of Global Gateway to intersect with Greensburg Road; resurfacing of East Turkeyfoot Lake Road from the east side of Green to its western city limits; the completion of improvements to Caston and Arlington roads; and a new entrance to Heritage Crossings and Summa’s Emergency Center.

Due to a major rainfall last year, the city council approved $200,000 to address some immediate needs for improvement to the city’s storm-water system. Norton appointed a storm-water committee to focus more resources on the problem.

With the addition of a full-time Summit County sheriff’s detective assigned to Green to pursue unresolved crimes, deputies last year were able to resolve 70 percent of crimes with a 61 percent increase in arrests, Norton said. An increase in burglary, domestic violence, crimes against persons, vandalism, larceny and narcotics played a large part in the decision to add a designated investigator, he said.

Norton said firefighters, who responded to 3,320 alarms in 2011, signed a labor agreement with the city that should save the taxpayers $450,000 over the life of the three-year contract.

Norton ended the evening by speaking of the people and organizations that help make the city special.

“I believe we have proven Green has a winning formula in building our city into one of the best places of the county to live,” he said.

Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or kantoniotti@thebeaconjournal.com.