Dec. 28—As Concord Township closes its bicentennial year, officials plan to continue their focus on protecting residents, maintaining roads and promoting economic development.
"Public safety remains the top priority for Concord Township," Township Administrator Andy Rose said.
One of the township's major public safety projects for 2022-2023 has been the construction of a new Fire Station 1 building across from the current station.
Rose noted that ground was broken on the new facility this year, with plans to open the station in spring 2023. The township also plans to break ground on a new Fire Station 2 building next year, which will be located on the site of the current facility.
"We are planning on a temporary facility to service that end of the township," he said, noting that the facility would include a rescue engine and crew "for the timely response of all emergencies."
Rose added, "The remainder of the station 2 duty crew will operate out of the old station 1."
Another focus for township officials has been the presence of law enforcement.
Trustees from Concord and other townships in the Lake County Township Association met with Lake County Commissioner John Hamercheck and Sheriff Frank Leonbruno this year to discuss funding for township safety needs, as noted in an LCTA news release from November.
According to Rose, township and association officials will work next year "to advocate for Concord Township and other townships in Lake County."
"Retention of our excellent staff is a priority, in particular with regard to law enforcement and the fire service where hiring challenges are substantially more difficult over the last two years," he added.
Roads will be another continuing priority for township officials, Rose said. He noted that the service department worked on "an aggressive road repair program" in 2022 and plans to continue road repair work in the new year.
The Lake County Engineer's Office will work to resurface and widen Prouty Road in 2023, county maintenance and highway engineer Ted Galuschik previously told The News-Herald.
In the area of economic development, Rose noted that the township welcomed investments from two manufacturing companies this year. It plans to continue economic development work in 2023.
As The News-Herald reported in July, Cometic Gasket, Inc., planned to expand its existing Concord Township facility. Township Planning and Zoning Director Heather Freeman added at that time that Newbury-based Steven Douglas Corp. planned to build a new $8 million headquarters and manufacturing facility in the township.
At that time, Rose said that both projects were expected to be completed in 2023, bringing tax revenue to the township. He noted that they will add more than 120 new jobs.
"The addition of two new manufacturing companies along with additional retail businesses indicate the strength of Concord Township as a place to work and live," he said.
Concord residents also had plenty of opportunities to celebrate in 2022, as the township held a series of events to mark its bicentennial year. Rose noted that the township ended the bicentennial year with a fireworks show and tree lighting ceremony.
Another major event was the Community Days celebration, which was held in full for the first time since 2019.
Outside of bicentennial celebrations, Concord Township also opened two new pickleball courts outside of Town Hall. Rose noted that "generous donations from the Poyar family" funded the courts.
While Concord Township had plenty of opportunities to celebrate in 2022, it also mourned the loss of Fiscal Officer Amy Dawson in November.
"The biggest challenge for us was the devastating loss of our fiscal officer, Amy Dawson," Rose said. "Fortunately, a very well qualified resident, Jim Teknipp, was appointed as our new fiscal officer."
Trustee Amy Lucci said at the Dec. 21 public meeting, "We did have a great year. We had a challenging year. We still mourn the loss of Amy, but we are excited to have Mr. Teknipp here. We have a new rec director, Mr. [Sean] Supler, so we look forward to that."
According to Rose, "other challenges included supply chain issues related to our Fire Station construction project."
He added that "persistent inflation and cost increases across all our department budgets" will be a challenge facing the township in 2023, though officials "do not anticipate any significant increases to our budget from 2023."
Public safety and road work will continue to be areas of focus for the 2023 budget, he said.
"I'm proud of what this board has done the last year," Trustee Carl Dondorfer said on Dec. 21. "I think we've done a great job representing Concord and moving things forward, one with the fire station, two with shoring up our public safety programs as far as fire and law enforcement.
"There's a lot of new economic development and the JEDD [Concord-Painesville Joint Economic Development District]'s growing, and I think we've done our due diligence on balancing and really doing what's best for Concord as far as new development and things of that nature," he added. "So I think we've done a lot of good for the township, and I'm looking forward to next year and continuing that."