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Elected officials meet constituents in Ravenna

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published: January 25, 2013 4:00 AM
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Dozens of residents rubbed elbows with elected officials Thursday at the Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce's Elected Officials Breakfast.

The event, held at the Ravenna Elks Club, is the fourth such event hosted by the chamber. More than 60 people came to hear updates about what's happening at the city, township, county and state level.

Mayor Joseph Bica said he hopes 2013 will be a prosperous year after 2012, which he called a "cleanup year" for the city.

"We're making quite a bit of progress," he said. "Although we're a municipality, we try to do things within the best practices of the business community."

Ravenna Township Trustee Vince Coia addressed some of the hot-button issues, such as the flagpole on the courthouse lawn, which the township owns, and a Joint Economic Development District with the city.

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Coia said a citizens committee has raised $80,000 to restore the landmark flagpole so far, and is starting a new round of fundraising. He added that JEDDs have worked well for other Portage County townships such as Brimfield and Franklin Township.

"It's vitally important that we have something like that," he said. "We could use it to improve the area by Walmart and Cotton Corners, and to take advantage of what's going on to the west of us in Kent, and to the south at NEOMED." The Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown is in the midst of a massive campus expansion.

State Sen. John Eklund updated the group about issues coming up in Columbus in the year ahead. He said workforce development would be a major priority, as would regulation reform, tax reform, health care and a new format to distribute state funding to schools. He expressed hope that it would not come with massive cuts to the school system.

He said he hopes talks over the Ohio Turnpike will direct more funding to the portion of the road that runs through Northeastern Ohio, and urged residents to contact his office with their ideas.

"It's you who are most directly affected, and have ideas that could keep some of these issues from becoming problems," he said.

Portage County Commissioner Maureen Frederick told the group about the great work the Portage Development Board is doing, encouraging the people to attend their meetings. She also praised the elected officials in Ravenna and Ravenna Township.

"Your elected officials are always right there," she said. "They're very involved in everything."

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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anonymous Jan 30, 2013 1:34 PM

Funny I didn't see the mayor where all the disturbed people walking downtown with the drunks and dope addicts. Didn't see Eco director showing off some of Ravenna great buildings to be developed. No lets put it on taxpayer to pay for a driveway to land they want developed.