The Summit County Council has approved creating three groups that will respectively examine the condition of nursing homes and advocate for change, search for solutions for the county’s persistent flooding issues and tell the county how it can be more environmentally sustainable.

The council voted unanimously Monday to create the Summit County Nursing Homes and Facilities Task Force, the County of Summit Stormwater Management Committee and the Summit County Environmental Sustainability Task Force.

The idea for the nursing home group came after a June report listed a Copley facility that is now closed among the worst in the nation.

Fairlawn Rehab and Nursing Center on Ridgewood Road was one of five Ohio nursing homes on a list of 88 federal “Special Focus Facilities” nationwide with the most serious history of quality of care issues. It closed this summer.

There are more than 8,000 residents in Summit County nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other adult care facilities, according to Direction Home Akron Canton Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities.

The group will consult with residents, facility owners and operators and industry specialists.

The stormwater group, which will focus on a countywide approach to stormwater management, will make recommendations to the county by the end of next year in a report that must include the best methods to create a county stormwater management program designed to drain 300 acres or more.

The county’s most recent stormwater plan is the Summit County Engineer’s Office’s Surface Water Management District, which the County Council approved in 2017 to alleviate runoff and flooding issues.

The program is voluntary, so communities have to opt into it. The only community that’s opted in so far is Bath, with township residents paying $4 a month.

A separate potential stormwater plan is the proposed Yellow Creek Conservancy District; its future remains in limbo in Summit County Common Pleas Court.

The environmental sustainability group will advise the county on how to reduce its energy consumption, decrease its dependence on fossil fuels and enact legislation preserving environmentally sound practices in the areas of energy, air quality, water, waste, transportation, facilities and development.

Focus areas will include environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient construction, improvement, repair, management and operation of county-owned facilities; a more fuel efficient county vehicle fleet; and a more sustainable and environmentally sustainable food system in the county.

The council amended the resolution Monday to add a seat on the group for Summit County Public Health and increase the number of seats for nonprofits or community activists from five to seven, bringing the total number of seats on the task force to 20.

Once established, the nursing home group and environmental sustainability groups will each deliberate for six months before making recommendations to the county.

 

Contact reporter Emily Mills at 330-996-3334, emills@thebeaconjournal.com and @EmilyMills818.