TALLMADGE — Even though two major businesses closed in 2019, other businesses have either moved into the the vacant space or are looking at the properties, making 2020 a year of growth, said Mayor David Kline at The Venue Wednesday during the 2020 State of the City Address, hosted by the Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce. 

"The year 2019 ended up being very nice," Kline said. "We’re cautiously optimistic because a couple of business moved out like Waltco on Northeast Avenue due to growth and Summit County DD, but we’re getting backfill into some of their buildings."

The city celebrated the opening of the Summa Tallmadge Medical Center on North Avenue in August and construction continues at Leppo Rents on West Avenue and Tallmadge Heritage on Northwest Avenue.

In addition Tallmadge is adding homes in the final phase of Baker’s Acres off Northwest Avenue and will add 208 homes at Tallmadge Reserve, the former Ripley Farm, on East Avenue.

The city of Tallmadge’s share of the JEDD revenue is estimated to be $890,000 in 2020 at the 1.5% tax rate. Development in the JEDD/Maplecrest includes Menards, Meijer, Starbucks and Jersey Mike’s.

The city will start budgeting the 0.25% income tax increase for safety forces, and Council authorized the purchase of about 3 acres of property for building a new fire station, Kline said.

"The money from the income tax increase will be used toward the purchase," Kline said. 

The city is working with ODOT to design the East Avenue corridor and has received funds from the state for the design phase, he said. It will take several years to finish the project.

The school district is working with the city on their projects, including the new middle school, which opened last year, and elementary school for kindergarten through fifth grade opening March 30.

"We’ve always been good partners," Kline said. "The students will be excited to see the new school."

Sometimes accidents create opportunities. Last year a motorist drove through the Circle and hit the Veterans Memorial, breaking some of the pieces.

"We have to stop people from driving into the Circle," Kline said. "We have an accident once a month."

Some of the trees have either been hit by a car or are old the city is working on a new plan for walkways and trees on the Circle to better connect the historical buildings and parking lots, he said.

Kline talked about the safety forces with two school resource officers and Chief Ron Williams graduating from the Certified Law Enforcement Executive program for leadership training. The safety forces had 2,345 EMS calls, 11,564 police service calls, 930 fire service calls, 423 moving violations and 847 arrests in 2019.

The city continues to meet with Summit County and other municipalities in the county to create a consolidated dispatch center using Computer Aid Dispatch software that would jointly tie together the county through one central program. 

Improvements were made to the Tallmadge Recreational Center in 2019 and the city finished its comprehensive Park Plan.

Kline reminded residents to participate in the 2020 census which will affect seats in the House of Representatives and distribution of federal funds and grants based on the census data. Residents will receive official Census Bureau information by mail March 12 to March 20 with everyone receiving an invitation to participate by April 1. Census takers will visit homes from May to July that don’t respond earlier by mail, phone or online. 

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or lfreeman@recordpub.com