A look ahead: 6 things coming in 2021 in Stow and Munroe Falls

Krista S. Kano
Kent Weeklies
Summa Health Stow-Kent Medical Center under construction Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2020 in Stow, Ohio.

2020 was a challenging time for everyone, and many are looking forward to a new year and a clean slate. Here's a look at what's to come in 2021 in Stow and Munroe Falls.

1. Schools reopen: In early December at the urging of Summit County Public Health, Stow-Munroe Falls High School and Kimpton Middle School transitioned from a hybrid model to fully remote learning, while the elementary schools continued in the hybrid model. The week of Jan. 4, the first week back from winter break, students will continue as they were at the end of December. On Jan. 4, athletic practices will restart and on Jan. 11, athletic contests can resume. 

Also on Jan. 4, the district will revisit the plans and determine the course of action for the following week and beyond. 

While SCPH has started vaccinating first responders on Dec. 26, Superintendent Tom Bratten said there is still no guidance from the local or state health department on developing a policy surrounding vaccinations for students or school employees. 

2. Munroe Falls works on long-range capital planning: On the heels of Munroe Falls' third successful audit and consistently finishing the year in the black, Mayor James Armstrong plans to spend 2021 creating a financial plan for the next 10 to 15 years. During that time frame, the city will need to purchase two fire engines, each costing $550,000 to $600,000, replace a dump truck and and maintain facilities. 

Armstrong said that the city will also continue to work on road projects and on improvements to the booster station to help the water system. 

3. Silver Springs Park improvements: BowWow Beach is currently closed for the winter, but is scheduled to reopen on March 15. Stow Mayor John Pribonic said the city will be retrofitting some of the buildings around the dog park to create a better bathing station for dogs while others will be torn down. 

Additionally, the city is planning to revamp the exterior of the Leona Farris Lodge, formerly known as Silver Springs Lodge. 

4. Return of the arts: Stow Players had hoped that restrictions would be lifted in January and could possibly hold some modified events, but recently posted on Facebook that all events and workshops have been canceled for the normal season. They intend on resuming in the fall. 

Stow will also hold a public art show in March that will celebrate women-identifying artists. Their work will be on display throughout the city during Women's History Month. 

5. Openings in Stow: The Summa Health Stow-Kent Medical Center, located on Fishcreek Road across from Aldi, is scheduled to open this spring. The standalone $22 million outpatient center will have an urgent care, radiology, outpatient testing and physician offices, and is part of Summa's $100 million-plus expansion in the region. 

Next door, the former American National University will be turned into a new assisted living facility, Stow Planning and Development Director Rob Kurtz said. 

He added that the new Meijer gas station is scheduled to open in 2021 across from Target, and a new traffic signal will be installed at that intersection closer to the end of 2021. 

6. Up for re-election: A number of local seats are expiring at the end of 2021 and will be on the Nov. 2 ballot. Those seats include all of Stow City Council, Munroe Falls at-large City Council seats held by Michael Barnes and James Iona, Munroe Falls City Council Ward 1 held by Gary Toth, Munroe Falls City Council Ward 3 held by Allen Mavrides, and Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education seats held by Geraldine Bettio and Jason Whitacre. 

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, kkano@thebeaconjournal.com or on Twitter @KristaKanoRCedu.