Alison Stewart
Ohio.com correspondent


This year, a local staple was brought back from the dead, city officials combined resources to handle emergencies more efficiently, flooding rushed to the foreground of everyone's agenda, residents agreed to foot some of the bill for road improvements and the school district agreed rejoin league ranks.



Here's a list of the top stories in 2013 compiled by Ohio.com correspondent Alison Stewart.



Barberton’s Lake Theater Reopens



Lake Cinemas closed Jan. 15 following failed negotiations between previous tenant Phil Canfora and the city regarding a new lease or sale.



The Neighborhood Development Services group purchased Lake Cinemas 8 from the city for $545,000 and reopened the theater in April.



Mayor William Judge said the theater has always played an important role in the Barberton community.



The theater has been a staple of downtown Barberton since 1938, when it opened with only one screen and 1,000 seats.



New emergency dispatch center



Barberton joined forces with Copley and Norton to develop a new emergency dispatch center. The center will be based in Norton while serving all three communities starting in January.



The city will pay for 44 percent of the $1.77 million cost to run the center, which is slated to open by Saturday. The division was decided by population, tax evaluation and call volume.



The center will allow for quicker response times to all three communities.



Barberton sees worst flooding in 50 years



Barberton dealt with severe flooding after receiving several inches of rain in July. Wooster Road West and 14th Street Northwest to 21st Street Northwest were flooded.



Elsewhere, the storm slowed traffic on highways. Standing water caused problems on Interstate 76 at Barber Road.



The storms flooded streets and basements and caused evacuations of hundreds of people.



Electrical service was disrupted at a few dozen Barberton homes and FirstEnergy worked for days to get the power back on.



City officials are working with Copley and Norton to form a Wolf Creek Watershed Conservatory District to study regional flood control.



Issue 8 Passes in Barberton



Barberton voters approved the .25 percent city income tax increase, also known as Issue 8 with 54 percent of the vote, in November.



The increase is projected to raise $1.3 million annually. The funds generated with the hike will be used for citywide street improvements.



Mayor Judge said the city would get to work as soon as paving season starts in early spring.  The city would like citizens’ input on which streets need to be worked on first.



School district agrees to join Suburban League 



In October, the Barberton Board of Education accepted an invitation to join the Suburban League for the 2015-2016 school year.



The Magics currently have no league affiliation. Once the new system is in place, the district will be in the small school division facing off against teams from Aurora, Cloverleaf Copley, Highland, Kent Roosevelt and Tallmadge.



“Barberton’s schedule within the Suburban League will include traditional local rivalries, which we feel will benefit all league members by attracting a large number of fans to the competitions,” said Superintendent Patti Cleary.



Honorable mention: The 23rd annual Mum Fest draws large crowd



The 23rd annual Mum Festival was held at Lake Anna Park in Barberton Sept. 28 and 29. The festival featured 20,000 chrysanthemums and thousands of visitors in attendance.



This year’s festival honored the Native Americans who lived in the Barberton area. There were performances by the Red Bird Drum and Dancers who demonstrated American Indian drumming and dancing.



The festival featured food vendors, arts and crafts, log, ice and vegetable carvings, sand sculpting, canoe races and children’s crafts and balloon art.



Returning this year were performances by the ETC Children’s Choir, New Horizons Band and the Chippewa Lake Water Ski Show Team.



The Mum Festival is a cooperative effort involving the City of Barberton Beautification Program. Aris Horticultural Services and the Barberton Community Foundation.