What a year it's been for Avon.
There have been triumphs in the city, and tragedies. There has been intense public issues, growth and growing pains.
Let's look back on the 10 biggest news events in Avon this year.
- Firefighter Kevin Criss dies in crash. Criss, 31 and a four-year veteran of the Avon Fire Department, was killed Aug. 16 in a motorcycle accident in Carlisle Township. Criss left behind a wife and young son. The community of Avon, and the fire and rescue community around the area, banded together to help Criss' family and the Avon Fire Department through their grief. A candlelight vigil attended by more than 100 people was held at the fire station. Firefighters from Elyria, Avon Lake, Bay Village and Westlake all volunteered to work in Avon so all the Avon firefighters could attend Criss' funeral in Wellington. "I've never been so proud of (my firefighters) as I was of them that week," said Avon fire chief Frank Root III.
- Police officer Pete Soto survives crash. Soto, an Avon police officer since 2009, was critically injured in a collision with a truck while driving his police motorcycle in Avon Lake on Oct. 12. Soto suffered a lacerated spleen, a broken leg and a shattered pelvis. He was released from MetroHealth in Cleveland in early December and is recovering at home from his injuries. The driver of the truck, Kevin Sammon, pleaded no contest in December for failure to yield and was fined $100. Friends and fellow officers from around the area rushed to help out the family with fundraisers and other support.
- School levy fails twice before passing. In May, voters in Avon defeated a 10-year, $4.45 million, 5.9 mill emergency operating levy for Avon Local Schools. It was the first time since 1993 that a school levy had failed in Avon. The levy, which would add $180.17 in costs per $100,000 in home value, failed again by a wider margin in August. School officials and board members said soaring enrollment meant more money was needed, opponents wanted less spending. A levy support committee was formed, and the group used everything from Facebook to fundraisers, to raise support for the levy. The levy passed in November.
- French Creek YMCA opens. The 66,527-square-foot facility opened in April and has more than 11,000 members from around Lorain and western Cuyahoga counties. Avon mayor Jim Smith said it was the biggest success story in Avon this year. The YMCA is part of the big development along the Route 611 interchange of Interstate 90 that includes All Pro Freight Stadium and the coming Mercy Regional Medical Center facility.
- Construction of new Cleveland Clinic facility continues. The development of Avon's east side took some steps forward this year. The Cleveland Clinic's new facility, just east of Nagel Road, continues to be built. Exterior construction was completed in December, and interior work will continue in 2011.
- Nagel Road interchange moves forward. The new Cleveland Clinic facility is just the beginning of developing Avon's prime east side. The next move is building the new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road. The project was approved as FAST TRAC project by ODOT early this year. The city has begun acquiring land. Ten property owners have not settled with the city and law director John Gasior has been authorized to take them to court. Construction on the project is set to begin in the spring with the demolition of the existing overpass. Nagel Road will be closed from Chester Road to Avon Road for 16 months.
- Alan Jackson rocks All Pro Freight Stadium. When All Pro Freight Stadium was built, the city was hoping to use it for more than Lake Erie Crushers games. The stadium's first concert was held in July when country music star Alan Jackson headlined a concert that was a fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Lorain County. Joe Nichols and Brother Trouble also performed. While the show was a success, traffic was problematic for the more than 7,000 fans coming to the show. At the peak of the traffic jam, it took an hour to get from the beginning of the exit ramp off I-90 east to Colorado Avenue.
- James Kerstetter laid to rest in Avon. Lorain County was rocked on March 15 when Elyria police officer James Kerstetter was gunned down while investigating a disturbance. Five days later, he was buried at Resthaven Memory Garden following an emotional funeral attended by officers from around the country and from Canada. People showed up across the street from the cemetery's entrance hours before the funeral procession arrived to hang signs and show their support to Officer Kerstetter's family and fellow officers.
- Lake Erie Crushers set attendance record. Not much could top the Crushers' amazing inaugural season in 2009. Pitcher Josh Faiola and his living arrangments -- at a Westlake assisted living facility -- were featured on ESPN's "E:60." And the team won the Frontier League title. But the team continued to be embraced by the community in its second season, as even more fans came to games at All Pro Freight Stadium.
- Bill Hricovec passes away. A piece of Avon history was lost when Hricovec, longtime owner of Tom's Country Place, died in November at age 65. In addition to running his family-owned catering hall, the lifelong Avon resident also ran his family's farm and greenhouse and served as an Avon firefighter.