The city is moving forward on multiple projects in 2017 with a goal for improved communication between departments and with residents.

City Manager Jane Howington addressed members of the Hudson Chamber of Commerce during a Jan. 17 luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn in Twinsburg with the state of the city.

In 2016 Council decided to use some of its 44 percent carryover in the general fund to invest in the city, Howington said.

On the economic development front, four new businesses will be moving into Hudson Crossing, adding $17 million in building improvements and $17 million in payroll taxes.

"That's a huge one," Howington said. "We'll have that every year after."

The four businesses include Goldfish Swim School; ForTec Medical Inc. headquarters; a medical facility that provides short-term psychiatric care for the elderly; and a medical facility yet to be announced, she said. Three lots remain undeveloped.

The Downtown Phase II project design by Testa Companies will be unveiled for public comment this year.

"We've gone through a lot of work to get where we are at," Howington said.

The project will be a combination of commercial office space and housing with 100- to 200-square-feet of office space built in phases and medium priced $200,000 to $300,000 housing for empty nesters and young professionals who want to walk to work and downtown activities, she said. To avoid competition with First & Main, a limited amount of retail is planned.

"The big question will be if and when we need a parking garage," Howington said.

The city has been focusing on the Downtown Phase II project and Velocity Broadband because they will have the highest return on city investment, she said.

Property taxes can be collected from the improved land where the city salt dome and school bus garage are located.

"The money that grows from that valuation pays back the debt," Howington said.

Another project that will reduce city costs is a new City Municipal Services Center. The city is working on designs for city-owned property that would avoid paying rent for space, she said.

The Youth Development Center property on Hines Hill Road has been lower on the list because the location has become enviable with the nearby Boston Heights developments.

"It is only appreciating the YDC property so it's not that urgent to get something in there quick," Howington said.

Two years ago the city was looking at a senior living facility on the YDC land that would not have brought much in taxes but now it is looking at a corporate medical research headquarters there, she said. But first the city has to build a substation to provide electrical power in that area.

"We're keeping our eyes and ears open and moving the marketing and research to build that (YDC property)," Howington said. "We're waiting for the right time."

More to watch out for

Communication is a goal for 2017, including:

The city will spread the word about the dangers of opioids to those who don't think it's their problem.

Message boards along roads which are normally used for such things as "hydrant flushing" could be used to remind drivers to stop for school buses.

Residents also can find out what is going on in the community through the city's redesigned website including financial information focused on transparency at www.hudson.oh.us/951/Financial-Transparency.

The city has an app for residents to report problems such as potholes and track when the city completes the work.

Also the city has developed a map showing where neighborhoods have system engagement and can be contacted through a homeowner's association or a representative who can distribute city news and alerts quickly to those living in the area. The city is reaching out to volunteers in areas where a representative doesn't exist.

"We can get information out directly to you such as a main break," Howington said.

Hudson Cable TV is now Hudson Community Television with a new website and work toward streaming more programs, especially to homes without cable.

Internally the city staff is communicating about projects across departments with a focus on being more customer service oriented. Assistant City Manager of operations Frank Comeriato worked on a team to relocate the salt dome and bus garage which has become more common for projects.

"It's just good problem solving," Howington said.

The full state of the city speech can be seen on the city website www.hudson.oh.us.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter @LauraFreeman_RP