George W. Davis
Ohio.com correspondent


Another momentous year for the city is about to end with a bright outlook for 2014 and a review of some of the top stories from this year.



Here's a list of the top stories from the past year compiled by Ohio.com correspondent George W. Davis.



Central Park plans underway



Mayor Dick Norton suprised many when he proposed building Central Park for Green off Town Park Boulevard on property abutting the Central Administration Building.



The mayor estimated the cost at $5 million, with completion expected in late 2015 or early 2016.



The plan calls for the non-athletic park to include an amphitheater and be built on a five-acre site owned by the city and span southward to Steese Road. It could be connected to the Veterans Memorial and John Torok Community Center. 



New fire chief chosen



Jeffrey Funai, the city’s first fire chief not to bear the last name Calderone since the fire department went full-time in 1980, was appointed chief by Norton on Monday, Nov. 25, to succeed Fire Chief Bob Calderone, who retired at the end of March. Calderone had succeeded his father Mickele “Mike” Calderone, when the latter retired.



Funai, 44, is a 1987 graduate of Green High School. He is married and the father of two children. His salary was set at $87,000.



Entertainment center



On March 12, City Council approved a 955-acre entertainment district along the Massillon Road corridor to lure more alcohol-related businesses to Green and further enhance city coffers.



Stating that such a district would create a “more vibrant” area for Green, Planning Director Wayne Wiethe noted that one state requirement would involve a $50 million public/private investment within the designated area, which the city already meets based on the proposed boundaries.



Wiethe also said that such a district could provide up to 15 new D-5J liquor permits from the state, which would be important in attracting more restaurants, supermarkets and other facilities dependant upon such permits.



The district will run from just south of state Route 619 north to as far south as just beyond Wise Road and Pancho’s Southwestern Grille on Massillon Road.



New schools superintendent



When the Green Board of Education began searching for a new superintendent following the announced resignation of Michael Nutter, they didn’t have to go far.



On June 5, 14-year Green Schools teacher/principal Jeffrey L. Miller III was chosen to lead the district at an annual salary of $120,000.



Now in his 14th year in the Green district, Miller is married and the father of three boys.



To assist Miller, the board named Primary School Principal Kevin Finefrock as assistant superintendent and promoted Jeff Wells from assistant principal to principal of the Middle School where Miller had been an administrator since 2008.



Voters elect two new council members



With the departure due to term limitations of Ward 2 Councilman Dave France and Ward 1 colleague Jim Colopy after a combined 26 years on council, Green voters chose James Ahlstrom and Bob Young as their successors.



Ahlstrom, who was appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals, will represent Ward 1, while Young will succeed France. Both were elected to four-year terms and will take office Jan.2 at council’s organizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. in council chambers at the Central Administration Building.



Two members to join school board



Voters also placed two new members on the school board and gave member Bob Campbell a third four-year term at the Nov. 5 General Election.



Electors chose Katie Stoynoff and Sally Fanelly to succeed Steven Foster, who had sought a second full term, and Lynn Wiggins, who decided against seeking a second term.



Stoynoff is assistant director of the English Composition Program at the University of Akron, where she has been employed for 13 years.



Fanelly worked in the central office of Green Local Schools for 18 years under seven superintendents, and worked directly for three treasurers and the director of operations.