NORTH ROYALTON — The ball has dropped, Auld Lang Syne is sung. Another year is in the books.
All of council and the mayor agree that 2013 was a great year for the city, but the New Year holds even more promise.
Each admit they are excited to see what’s in store and have a list of things they would like to see come to see bear fruit in 2014.
Mayor Bob Stefanik
City finances and doing more with less will be on the mayor’s mind when looking out into the coming year.
“We want to continue to reduce spending when possible, and we do that by working smarter, embracing technology and hopefully continuing to consolidate services with neighboring communities or entities. We’re working on some things,” he said.
Another biggie which other councilmen are sure to mention is the renovation of the old State Road library into the new city hall and the move later this year.
“We’re all looking forward to moving the city headquarters to the former library building that we own. And, with that comes improvements in technology with police, service, fire — all departments,” Stefanik said. “Our goal has been and always will be to provide the finest quality safety forces and city services in the most cost effective way.”
Council President Larry Antoskiewicz
Antoskiewicz said things went well last year, and he’s simply looking forward to another productive year.
“I’m excited about this year, we have the new master plan, the new city hall, the Clark gas station is coming down. I’m looking for North Royalton to really progress and move forward from here on out. To me, it’s really exciting. So many good things are going on, I just think it’s really going to be an exciting year,” he said. “Obviously, we will continue to do what we have been doing. I see a lot more exciting things happening this year, and I am excited to be a part of it.”
Ward 1 Councilman John Nickell
Continuing to attack storm water issues, street repair and the city hall project are top focal points for Nickell in ‘14.
“As a Ward 1 resident, I think we are definitely excited to see the Cedar Estates project get started in late spring. Roads are another thing. We have been doing a good job of keeping up with them, and obviously we will continue that in 2014,” he said.
City hall is another big project he is excited about.
“I’m looking forward to the new city hall and some changes to Memorial Park. There are some things there we’d like to add, some things we’d like to take out to spruce up the area,” he said. “I’m just really looking forward to the whole thing getting started and maybe look at getting some sidewalks from city hall to Route 82.”
Ward 2 Councilman Gary Petrusky
Petrusky’s anxious to see Sprague Road get under way this year.
“It’s something that never evolved in 2013. That will be a nice improvement to the city as a whole, besides my ward,” he said.
He’s also looking forward to the hiring of two additional police officers and the purchase of much-needed equipment at the service department as part of the 2014 budget.
“That will bring the complement back up, so that will be another nice addition to the city,” he said. “We’re getting some more equipment in the service department, which is nice to help our depleting fleet there.”
And of course, city hall is the big addition of the year.
“With the new city hall we will be upgrading the technology in the city, which will bring North Royalton into the 21 century and do away with some of the paper journals and the way we do things now in certain departments.”
Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw
In 2014, Langshaw will focus on better serving his residents.
He said he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve this time as an elected Ward 3 councilman, as opposed to an appointed councilman as he was last year.
“I want to increase constituent service and engagement. I plan to continue my monthly constituent coffee talks, but I’m also looking at other ways to reach out and communicate more by using my Web site danlangshaw.com, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and my monthly e-mail newsletter,” he said.
Outside of social media and face-to-face meetings, he hopes to organize a few old fashioned get togethers similar to the ice cream social he hosted this past summer.
“I want to give residents the opportunity to get to know their neighbors more, and as a councilman, I want to give residents more opportunities to be heard,” he said. “I think it’s important to be visible, accessible and active. That’s what I intend to do.”
Ward 4 Councilman Paul Marnecheck
Marnecheck has economic development, and food, on his mind in the New Year.
Aside from the usual – moving to city hall, growing the city coffers, implementing storm water and street repairs – he would love to see Tonight Tonight reopen.
This former upscale restaurant closed over six years ago but began to show signs of life again two years ago when contractors were on site. But the contractors disappeared and the site remains closed.
“I want to see Tonight Tonight reopen or in some way rejuvenated. I’d like to take my wife to a nice dinner there. There was a bar in the basement, live piano music, it had good food, it was a nice place, and I didn’t have to drive out of North Royalton. It’s in the heart of North Royalton. We need a restaurant like that,” he said.
It’s become a mystery, much like the old Clark gas station was, but Marnecheck said he hopes the mystery ends soon.
“I’m sure there’s a North Royalton restaurateur who would love to be able to manage that,” he said.
Ward 5 Councilman Steve Muller
The Ward 5 councilman is watchful of signs that the old Aukerman property is beginning to be transformed into the park space it is intended to become soon.
“That’s what I’m looking forward to for not only my ward but the entire community,” Muller said. “The city purchased that property along with the Cleveland Metroparks last year. It would be great to see those improvements start sometime in the New Year and really take off.”
Muller is also the new chair of council’s storm water committee and as such, he is looking forward to keeping on top of these types of projects. He is hopeful too that the recent discussions between the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission bear fruit.
“Hopefully they’ll be doing a bit more to reduce the noise we have in neighborhoods near the turnpike,” Muller said.
Ward 6 Councilman Dan Kasaris
Economic development along state Route 82 as well as sidewalks are important to Kasaris in the New Year.
“In 2014, I would like to see continued commercial development along Route 82 from State Road to West 130th Street. We have the land, a few vacant buildings and the space to develop,” he said.
Kasaris and Nickell have long been extremely strong supporters of sidewalks throughout the city. That passion is not dying down anytime soon, in either of them.
“I would like to see pedestrian walkways become a reality in important areas of our city,” he said.
The repaving of Bennett and Wiltshire roads are also a top priority in his book.
“These roads are two of the worst roads in our city, and I would like to see them paved,” Kasaris added.