The City of Avon Lake must make job preservation, creation and economic development a top priority. Now is the time to position Avon Lake as a welcoming community that is willing to work with the existing businesses that call our city home and ready to welcome new businesses. Generating revenue from new businesses is the way to keep taxes low and maintain the level of service we currently enjoy. Avon Lake can no longer wait for business owners to approach it about coming to town - we need to be proactive and seek them out ourselves.
We have a number of strengths and opportunities: the lakefront; excellent city services; a first rate school system; a good mix of housing; land available for development; core industries; beautiful parks; a new I-90 interchange; American Greetings’ decision to move to Crocker Park; and, some of the lowest water and sewage rates in the region. Most importantly, Avon Lake has an untapped array of talented residents who each have the ability to define the community’s needs and, its plans for the future.
Now is the time for Avon Lake to seize these opportunities and develop a long-term economic development strategy to capitalize on our strengths and minimize our weaknesses.
City Council’s Economic Development Committee and the mayor have discussed the option of contracting with a third-party expert to draft an economic development strategy for Avon Lake. However, a plan is only as good as its implementation. We cannot spend time, and more importantly, tax dollars, on a plan that does not reflect the desires of the residents and business community. To ensure the plan is implemented, it must be flexible enough to be utilized by different mayors and councils and it also needs the support and buy-in of the community.
To ensure the plan is flexible and represents the community, the Economic Development Committee is planning a series of listening sessions to obtain input and guidance from the community – from YOU.
First, on June 1, the Committee will meet with some of the commercial property owners and business leaders in Avon Lake. On June 9, the Committee will meet with residents that wish to provide input. Finally, a yet to be scheduled meeting will be held with local business owners. All meetings are open to the public will be at 6:30pm in the Council chambers at City Hall.
It is my hope that the resident meeting will be standing room only. One thing I learned while campaigning is that the residents – the true stakeholders of Avon Lake – are very intelligent people. The other thing I learned is that no single person has all the good ideas and it is vitally important for the mayor and to hear from you. This plan will shape our economic development strategy for the next few years and have a tremendous impact on our City. Now is the time for you to step up and help shape the future of Avon Lake.