On Monday, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan proposed legislation that would regulate any potential medical marijuana facilities, including dispensaries or grow houses, within the city limits.
The move is ahead the State of Ohio issuing licenses to businesses for cultivation, processing, testing, and despensing of medical marijuana.
In his proposed regulations, Mayor Horrigan outlines guidelines that restrict any medical marijuana facility operating within 500 feet of a school, church, library, playground, or park, and requires City Council to issue a special conditional use of medical marijuana business before it can operate in the city. The ordinance also implements a melti-step local licensing process and give cart blanche to Akron Police to inspect any medical marijuana facility at any time.
Back in September of 2016, one month after the State of Ohio passed medical marijuana statewide, Mayor Horrigan placed a one-year moratorium on the "issuance or processing of any license, building permit, certificate of occupancy, conditional use or other authorization that would enable the cultivation, processing, or dispensing of medical marijuana within the City of Akron."
A public hearing before Akron City Council regarding the proposed zoning regulation of medical marijuana factilities is scheduled for Monday, May 1.
In front of Akron's top brass, Bridgestone/Firestone executives, and the media, Bridgestone cut the ribbon on the new Akron Data Center Tuesday morning, unveiling a new, re-purposed national IT hub.
The building, located at the Bridgestone Firestone Tech Center on Main St. in Akron, has been there and operational since 1968. Bridgestone is celebrating 17,724 consecutive days of service from that data center, and say that now the center is capable of holding 3,000-times the amount of data from when the first servers were put in place.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan thanked Bridgestone for their commitment to Akron. Bridgestone Chief Information Officer Robert Olds said it was important to the company for this centralized data center, that will combine the operations of five data centers across the U.S. One-hundred and forty employees, in both IT and print, will work out of the data center or remotely through the data center. The environmentally-friendly cooling system was manufactured by Akron-based Air Enterprises, and utilizes outside air to cool the center 70% of the year. The only time mechanical cooling would be required is when the outside temperature reaches above 70 degrees.
Some studies published the Akron Beacon Journal showed some surprising statistics about the area as far as population and median income. As is the case in many Rust Belt towns, city leaders are always looking for ways of bringing residents into the area. Akron mayor Dan Horrigan joined the Ray Horner Morning Show to discuss what he and his associates plan to do. Horrigan looks at the residents like they are customers, and what would the customers what they want out of their city. The most important aspects of a city, according to the mayor, are job growth, safe neighborhoods, and a strong downtown. As far as the neighborhoods go, Horrigan says city planners are looking at what areas are ready and what needs to be built up. He also puts a lot of value in a city’s strengths and landmarks, such as the Goodyear area and near the hospitals.
If you've been listening to Akron's leaders recently, you've probably heard the phrase "Welcoming City" quite a few times. Mayor Dan Horrigan's latest step toward that label extends the welcome to members of the LGBT community.
Horrigan and Councilman Rich Swirsky (D-Ward 1) proposed a city nondiscrimination ordinance Monday. If passed by City Council, the ordinance would ban discrimination on the basis of age, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, familial status, sex, gender identity or expresson, sexual orientation, or military status. It would apply in the areas of housing, employment, public accomodations, and city contracts. Exceptions would be made for religious groups and the Akron Public Schools.
While state and federal law already outlaws discrimination against most of the groups covered by Akron's law, it does not include provisions for sexual orientation and gender identity.
Violations of the ordinance would be investigated by a new Civil Rights Commission made up of 5-7 people appointed by the mayor and confirmed by Council. The commission would have the power to penalize those who violate the ordinance.
Horrigan joined The Jasen Sokol Show Monday to discuss the proposed ordinance.
On Monday, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan's office issued a press release stating that the mayor has ordered an audit of the contract between Oriana House and the City of Akron.
The audit announcement comes shortly after reports of overdoses and even an overdose death at Oriana House Akron.
You can read the full statement from the mayor's office below:
Today Mayor Dan Horrigan made public his plans to seek an independent audit of the contract between the City and Oriana House, Inc.— a non-profit community corrections and rehabilitation organization that provides confinement, chemical dependency and employment placement services and operates a work release program for individuals convicted of certain offenses through the Akron Municipal Court.
“As we, as a community, strive to build collaborative, effective solutions to combat opiate addiction, my priority has always been to provide the victims of addiction with safe, healthy environments in which to recover and generate real opportunities for those individuals to turn their lives around and contribute fully to society.”
“Furthermore, from my first day in office, my administration has been systematically reevaluating each of our significant long-standing relationships and agreements to make sure we are achieving the maximum benefit for our citizens,” Mayor Horrigan said. “It is critical that Akron residents have full confidence that their public dollars are being well spent. For these collective reasons, I have asked my staff to see that the City’s contract with Oriana House is subjected to a full, independent audit.”
In addition to the independent audit, Mayor Horrigan also expressed his intention to reevaluate the process through which these services are awarded. “As we look to the future, we will be critically examining our procedures and contracting criteria with fresh eyes, to ensure fairness and transparency throughout the process,” Mayor Horrigan said. Additional details about the audit will be made public as they become available.
UPDATED 4:50 a.m. The victims of Saturday's fire that left four dead and two injured were identified by their pastor. Rev. Zach Prosser of Celebration Church in Akron told Cleveland.com the adults are Omar Riley and Shirley Wallis, who had been together for 12 years. Their daughters, nine year old Aniyla and and eight year old Shanice, also perished in the blaze. Prosser identified the 12-year old victim as Wallis' daughter Shaniya, who was listed in critical condition at Akron Children's Hospital.
Another victim, Jennifer Grubbs, was also injured when she jumped out of the attic from the flames according to her fiancee. He was not in the home at the time of the fire. The flames first showed in the back of the house according to a neighbor's home security camera video, according to reports.
An early morning Saturday blaze left four people dead, two injured. The Akron Fire Department reports the house fire at 266 East Tallmadge Avenue was "heavily involved" when they arrived about five minutes after the call at 1:33 a.m. Arriving firefighters were able to pull five of the six victims from the home. Among the dead are an eight and nine year old; News5 reports a 12-year old jumped from a second floor window to escape the flames and is in critical condition. An adult was also pulled from the home and was also injured.
Video from the scene is at the News5 link above
Names and other details of the victims were not released. There is no cause of the blaze at this time.
No smoke detectors were found in the home, which reportedly was a rental property. The American Red Cross is reminding area residents smoke detectors are free throughout northeast Ohio, and the Akron Fire Department provides free installation in partnership with the Red Cross. Mayor Dan Horrigan said he was "deeply saddened" by the tragedy...and will see to it hat the victims' families and the survivors are supported in this time of great sorrow and need."
The children were enrolled in Akron Public Schools, one at Seiberling Elementary and another at Forest Hills Elementary. The 12-year old is a student at Hyre Middle School. APS spokesman Mark Williamson said ""Akron Public Schools and its community of families are profoundly saddened by this loss of two precious children and other members of their family. Three of our schools have felt this tragedy, deeply, and will be visited by our counselors this week for assistance. We offer our heartfelt prayers."
There was also reaction from LeBron James and the LeBron James Family Foundation; the children were members of his Wheels for Education program. James tweeted he was "unbelievably saddened to hear the news. My heart hurts...our family lost two bright, bright stars."
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(Akron Fire Department) Firefighters responded to a two and a half story residential house fire. Upon arrival the first floor was heavily involved in smoke and flames. People were reported to be trapped inside so an immediate interior fire attack was taken for rescue. The call came in at 01:33 and by 01:38 the first Engine was on scene.
Through the heavy heat and smoke (no visibility) 5 of the 6 victims were pulled from the house within the first few minutes of arrival. The cause of the fire is still under investigation but it was noted that smoke detectors could not be located throughout the house.
The fire caused four fatalilties. Two adults and two children, 8 and 9 year old. Two other victims were transported and are still ithe hospital. Unknown condition at the time of this press release. Names, relationships, and genders were not given while investigation is on going. One firefighter was transported for minor injuries and released.
(American Red Cross) We are deeply saddened by the loss of life resulting from a home fire in Akron early Saturday morning. Our hearts go out to the families affected by this tragedy.
The Red Cross partners with many Fire Departments in Northeast Ohio, including the Akron Fire Department, to provide and install smoke alarms, free of charge, to any resident who requests the alarms. We also provide valuable fire safety information, and help residents develop plans to escape from their homes should a fire occur. The initiative is call Operation Save-A-Life.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan helped launch Operation Save-a-Life at a home in Akron earlier this year.
Akron residents can call 330-535-2030 to request a home fire safety inspection and free smoke alarms. In Cleveland, residents can call 216-361-5535. Youngstown residents may call 866-319-7160. Elsewhere
throughout Northeast Ohio, residents can log onto redcross.org/neo to request smoke alarms for their homes.
We are grateful for our partnerships with so many fire departments, corporations and community groups for helping to provide this valuable, potentially life-saving service, and we urge all residents to check their homes for working smoke alarms, and to contact us at the numbers or website above if they need smoke alarms for their homes for working smoke alarms, and to contact us at the numbers above.
(City of Akron) Early this morning the Akron Fire Department responded to an advanced-stage fire in a three-story house on East Tallmadge Avenue.
The Fire Department acted quickly to extinguish the flames and rescue the individuals inside. Tragically, two adults and two children lost their lives in the fire. One adult and one child have survived and are being treated for their injuries.
"My family, the Akron Fire Department, and the entire Akron community, are profoundly saddened by this devastating incident. Any time our community experiences a loss such as this, it reminds us how precious life is," said Mayor Dan Horrigan. 'My deepest sympathies and prayers are with the family members of those who lost their lives, as we continue to pray for strength and healing for the survivors being treated. We will see to it that the victims' families and the survivors are supported in this time of great sorrow and need.
There is no higher duty we have as city leaders than to protect the health and safety of our residents and I thank the Akron Fire Department for their bravery in responding to this fire and for their attempts to rescue those trapped inside. I offer my full support and confidence as the professionals work to investigate the cause of this fire."
(Akron Public Schools) "Akron Public Schools and its community of families are profoundly saddened by this loss of two precious children and other members of their family. Three of our schools have felt this tragedy, deeply, and will be visited by our counselors this week for assistance. We offer our heartfelt prayers."
Akron has a new fire chief, and Chief Clarence Tucker will be the second African-American to hold the post inthe Department's history.
Mayor Dan Horrigan made the announcement today following several months of interviews; he fills the void left open when Chief Edward Hiltbrand retired in September. Retired Akron Fire Department Chief Larry Bunner served as Interim Chief during the selection progcess.
Tucker becomes the AFD's 19th chief and has 28 years of service with the department.
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(City of Akron) Today Mayor Dan Horrigan announced his selection of Clarence I. Tucker to serve as Akron's next Fire Chief. This announcement comes after a months-long competitive selection process and several rounds of interviews. Tucker currently serves as a District Fire Chief, where he manages the City's Fire Prevention Bureau, which oversees fire inspection, public education, and arson units. Mayor Horrigan administered the oath of office to Tucker this morning at Akron Fire Station No. 7 on Tallmadge Avenue—the firehouse where Tucker was first stationed when he joined the Department nearly three decades ago.
Tucker will be the City's 19th Fire Chief and the second African American to hold this top post in the 180 year history of the Department. Charles R. Gladman served as the City's first African American Fire Chief from 1997 to 2007. Tucker's promotion was prompted by the retirement of Chief Edward Hiltbrand in September of this year. Retired Akron Fire Chief Larry Bunner temporarily returned to the City to serve as Interim Chief while the Mayor selected a permanent successor.
Clarence Tucker will enter the position with 28 years of dedicated service and experience with the Akron Fire Department. He will lead a Department of 326 uniform personnel and 24 support personnel beginning Monday, December 5, 2016. Tucker joined the Akron Fire Department on September 12, 1988 as a firefighter/medic. He was promoted to the position of Lieutenant in 2000, Captain in 2005, and officially promoted to District Chief in 2015 (having served provisionally prior to that). Among many other leadership roles he has undertaken during his career, Tucker has managed the City's hazardous materials response team and chaired the Summit County Local Emergency Planning Committee.In 2005, Tucker completed a five-year program of Executive Fire Service
Management training from the Executive Development Institute through the International Institute of Black Professional Firefighters. He went on to earn his Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Malone University in 2009, and this month he completed the program to receive his Executive Fire Officer certification from the National Fire Academy, where he was exposed to a cutting-edge curriculum designed to teach leading fire officers how to address difficult and unique challenges
facing modern communities.
"I was fortunate to be presented with several highly qualified and exemplary public servants as candidates for this position," Mayor Horrigan said of his selection. "In Clarence, I found an immensely prepared and well-respected leader with an enormous heart for this community."
"My vision for the future of the Akron Fire Department is to forge new, innovative partnerships, develop creative solutions to deep-rooted challenges like the opiate epidemic, and to continue our honored tradition of running a prepared, professional, and compassionate Fire Department. I have full confidence that Clarence will bring strong, steady leadership and a commitment to excellent customer service and patient care to this position."
Of his promotion Tucker said, "It is my honor and privilege to continue my service to this City and this Department as Fire Chief. I join the Mayor in thanking all of the hardworking men and women of this Department for everything they do, both on the
front lines and behind the scenes, every day, to keep us safe. I look forward to working together to continuously improve our performance and our service to the citizens of Akron."
Akron's focusing on a new plan to freshen up downtown -- and much centers on Lock 3 and 4 as well as Main and Exchange Streets. Planners hope to have the new blueprints for their redevelopment program fleshed out more over the next year.
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(City of Akron) Today, Mayor Horrigan joined with DAP and Downtown stakeholders to announce the completion of Phase I of the Downtown Vision and Redevelopment Plan.
One of Mayor Horrigan's first long-term projects upon taking office this year was to partner with Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) to embark on the development of a plan for Downtown. Last year, both the Blue Ribbon Task Force and DAP's strategic planning process identified the development of a Downtown Plan as a primary recommendation. A multidisciplinary group of 37 representatives from small and corporate business, development, city and county government, health systems, non-profits, finance, education, housing, tourism, real estate and philanthropy was assembled to populate the steering committee that led the effort.
DAP contracted with nationally-recognized consultants MKSK of Columbus to lead the planning process, which was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and GAR Foundation.
"To compete regionally and nationally, Akron must have a thriving and prosperous urban core. We have remarkable potential for growth in Akron, but we need a long-term vision for our Downtown and a deliberate, realistic plan to create conditions that will spur catalytic private sector investment," Mayor Horrigan said.
He adds, "Today we celebrate the completion of the first phase of the plan – a comprehensive review of the current conditions and the recognition of broad-based planning principles and key opportunity sites – and we look forward to the next phase, which will engage the community in setting priorities for fostering a revitalized Downtown that belongs to, serves, and connects all of Akron."
Phase I of the Downtown Vision and Redevelopment Plan involved key stakeholder interviews and evaluating existing conditions as well as plans and processes that have been undertaken that intersect with the Downtown neighborhood. Phase II of the plan, which will involve further market studies, policy and implementation strategies and a broad community engagement effort to involve all Akron citizens, is already being discussed, with hopes to begin this process early in 2017.
Through the Phase I process, ten planning principles were identified to be prioritized and integrated into new public or private developments. Some of the key principles include: focusing development on Main Street, prioritizing residential development, addressing business vacancy, creating a coordinated incentive package for development, expanding on successful nodes of activity, focusing on accessible, livable street design and prioritizing connecting downtown with Akron neighborhoods and institutions. Five key opportunity sites for development were identified as well as recommendations for each to activate growth. Of the five sites identified, The Lock 3 & 4 area and Main & Exchange were prioritized as the most critical and catalytic areas to focus development.
Suzie Graham, President of DAP adds, "Downtown Akron Partnership is thrilled to see the fruition of this important first phase of work. The Downtown Akron Vision and Redevelopment Plan – Phase 1 sets the trajectory for Akron's next stage of growth as a competitive, beautiful, balanced, right-sized city. This work will strengthen the performance of the downtown
neighborhood as a place to attract businesses, talent, visitors and residents and as a resource to benefit all of the residents of Akron. We are honored to have the trust of city leadership, downtown stakeholders and our philanthropic partners as we continue this partnership into its next phase and look forward to building our future together."
Reaction to the passing of Summit County Executive Russ Pry was quick on Sunday; Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said he would "...miss his leadership and his ability to bring people together" and credited Pry's personality to bring people together.
Congressman Tim Ryan calls Pry "...first and foremost...a dear friend, a thoughtful, compassionate human being who always put the good of the people ahead of politics."
Senator Sherrod Brown noted Pry's loss is "...will be felt by all those whose lives were made better by his service to his community.”
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Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan: “I’ve lost a great friend much too early. We will all miss his leadership and his ability to bring people together. Russ had an uncanny knack for empathizing and identifying with all people, regardless of their age, race, gender, orientation or creed, making him well-loved by all. Personally, I will miss his friendship, his quick wit and his invaluable advice.”
U.S. Congressman Tim Ryan: "Russ first and foremost was a dear friend, a thoughtful, compassionate human being who always put the good of the people ahead of politics.
I have never seen a better leader than Russ Pry, who made local government work efficiently and effectively for the people he represented. He had no ego and always brought people together to make lives better for ordinary people.There is a huge hole in Summit County today and a huge hole in my heart as well--one that can never be filled. But we can all learn from how Russ conducted himself; always with humility, always responsibly and, for those of us in public life, always making sure government was creating opportunity for those who were looking to get ahead in life.Andrea and I extend our deepest sympathies to Russ' family and his amazing group of friends and coworkers who know better than anyone the amazing gifts that Russ brought to the people of Summit County.He was a friend, a leader, a generous and brilliant public servant lost too soon."
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown: “Connie and I are saddened to hear of Russ’s passing and offer our deepest sympathies to his family and the Summit County community. His loss will be felt by all those whose lives were made better by his service to his community.”
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper: “Ohio Democrats’ hearts are heavy today as we mourn the passing of our friend, Summit County Executive Russ Pry. Russ loved the people of Summit County and served them with an open heart and generous spirit, always fighting for progressive values. He was a great champion for Summit County Democrats, and he helped nurture the current generation of Democratic leaders. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family.”
17 overdoses and one death in one day have city and county officials reacting to Akron's heroin epidemic.
Akron mayor Dan Horrigan says the problem can't just be solved by arresting people.
"We must realize while our first responders continue to bear the brunt of this epidemic," Horrigan told reporters at a news conference at the Summit County Public Health Department, "this is long past moved into the public health crisis, and away from a public safety crisis that afflicts many communities across our state and across our country."
And Akron police chief James Nice, his department investigating what happened Tuesday and any link between the cases, says the epidemic will continue while the supply keeps coming in...which nothing that local police can stop...
"But as long as the supply is coming in so strong from Mexico, which the Akron Police Department is not able to do much from it coming into the country," Chief Nice says, "we're going to have problems with heroin as long as it coming into the country so easily."
The overdoses happened in the afternoon and evening hours in various parts of Akron.
A 44 year-old man died, and among those who survived were a mother and two adult daughters, who all overdosed at the same time.
Most survived thanks to the anti-heroin drug. Narcan, but police say that the heroin may have been laced with fentanyl...which is more resistant to Narcan.
As of early Wednesday afternoon, two more overdoses have been reported.
The City of Akron isn't very happy with those urban explorations inside the ruined Rolling Acres Mall. The city now owns the hulking old shopping center after numerous sheriff's sales for back taxes came up empty; Rolling Acres has been a magnet for photographers and thrill-seekers skateboarding and biking inside the mall. Mayor Dan Horrigan issuing a "public safety" message warning people to stay out and says violators will be fully prosecuted.
It hasn't gotten much better since this authorized RCExplorer drone video shot in the winter of 2015.
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(City of Akron) The City of Akron has taken ownership of Rolling Acres Mall and has secured the building. While the City understands there is public interest in the space, there are no plans to give any future tours.
“For everyone’s safety, I request that citizens stay clear of the area. Police will have an increased presence,” stated Mayor Dan Horrigan.
Any trespassers may be prosecuted.
So much to share from last night -- Akron as you've never seen it or heard it, all for King James.
Some accounts pegged the crowd at 30,000 people but others were in the 20,000-25,000 range after Lock 3 topped capacity of more than 7,000 packed in standing room only for the LeBron James Hometown Hero Celebration sponsored by the City of Akron and LeBron James Family Foundation.
Overflow crowds on South Main Street went into Canal Park and packed every seat to watch the ceremony on the stadium's big video screen, then enjoyed the fireworks show at the conclusion.
It was an all-Akron affair and more personal, unlike the massive parade and ceremony that drew 1.3 million people to Cleveland Wednesday. Local performers included the Miller South Choir; speakers included Mayor Dan Horrigan, who renamed the stretch of South Main from West Market south through downtown as "King James Way" to formative coaches Dru Joyce II and Keith Dambrot.
Others such as Akron Public Schools Superintendent David James noted the transformative impact on Akron LeBron's had, including programs for local elementary and secondary school students but also millions allocated to support scholarships at the University of Akron.
The Kenmore High School football team was on hand in their stylish Nike uniforms -- gifts thanks to LeBron last year.
One note for the summer: LeBron announced he will not take part in the basketball competition at Rio this summer, opting instead for rest. It's not like The King has anything to prove in the Olympics; even there, he makes history with two gold and one bronze medal with Team USA, one of only three players to play three Olympics. He's also the Team USA basketball all-time leading scorer, too.
We could learn more next week about plans for Stark State College to establish a presence in Akron.
Stark State, along with leaders from Akron, Summit County and others, plan an announcement on Thursday morning in Akron.
A news release describes "Stark State College Akron" as "a new education and workforce training center" with few other details.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Summit County Executive Russ Pry will be there, along with Stark State president Dr. Para Jones.
Stark State recently received $6 million in state funding towards an Akron initiative.
Stark State already has a Summit County presence, with a branch in Barberton.
Former President Bill Clinton was welcomed by a boisterous applause when he entered the United Steelworkers local 2 building in Akron on Saturday.
Senator Sherrod Brown introduced former President Clinton, telling him no offense, but Hillary is the best qualified presidential candidate running in his lifetime.
Speaking to a crowd of about 100 people, Clinton told the group, the country cannot afford to vote a republican as president. He says to a roaring crowd, thanks to Ohio that won't happen.
Clinton was joined by Summit County Executive Russ Pry, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Congressman Tim Ryan, and former Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, who Clinton joked with, saying he looks just as young as he did when he first came to Akron. He joked "it is a life after politics".
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was in Cleveland, speaking at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church.
Mayor-elect Dan Horrigan will take the oath of office on New Year's Day in downtown Akron.
The city says Horrigan will become Akron's 62nd Mayor in a public ceremony January 1st at 10 AM at Greystone Hall, on South High Street.
The ceremony is expected to take about 30 to 40 minutes. Though it's open to the public, the city says seating is limited.
(City of Akron, news release) The City of Akron will be hosting the ceremony administering the inaugural oath of office to Mayor-elect Daniel Horrigan on New Year's Day. Horrigan will be sworn in as the 62nd Mayor of Akron on January 1, 2016 at 10:00 am at Greystone Hall, located at 103 South High Street in Downtown Akron. A brief reception will be held immediately following the 30-40 minute ceremony. This event is open to the public, however seating is limited.
Jason Segedy is getting ready to make the move from the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) to the cabinet of incoming Akron mayor Dan Horrigan.
Akron's new planning director has put forth a lot of ideas before being hired for Horrigan's cabinet.
Segedy says that those ideas helped him to get hired, but he's practical as well.
"They want someone in the cabinet that can kind of 'dream big', and I like to think that I'm a doer as well," Segedy tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol. "So, I try to do the pragmatic part of it too."
Segedy says he wants to bring people who come back to the area after leaving, back to Akron itself.
"We do get a lot of people who 'bounce back' to the area, that grow up here, move somewhere for a while and come back," Segedy says. "And I'd like to see the city do more to try to get them to maybe choose Akron over another community the region."
Segedy says he wants to help regrow Akron's shrinking population, and says he wants to end the "rust belt" population loss narrative.
Akron's Mayor-elect Dan Horrigan used his first press conference this morning, following his election win Tuesday, to announce details related to a new advisory board that will look into the city's financial and economic health.
"It's just not looking at things that are wrong, but also looking at things that are right and improving them," said Horrigan .
Horrigan announced that the city of Akron will be forming the Blue Ribbon Task Force, which will be led by Tim Ochsenhirt, a retired managing partner at Roetzel & Andress.
"We're going to look at the finances of the city. We're going to look at the operations of the city and some of the opportunities and risks that the city may face," said Ochsenhirt.
The task force will be comprised of several local leaders, including Dan Colantone, president and CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber and David James, superintendent of Akron Public Schools.
According to Horrigan, the task force has been asked to focus on the following areas:
· City finances
· City operations
· Personnel and human resource management
· Economic and neighborhood development
· Risk management
· Charter changes
The budget for the task force has been set at $300,000 to pay for consultant fees and the force itself, but details on the breakdown have not been released.
The task force is expected to present their findings to Akron City Council in February.
In less than 24 hours, the polls will open for Akronites to elect their first new long-term mayor in nearly three decades. Republican candidate Eddie Sipplen and Democratic candidate Dan Horrigan talked to The Jasen Sokol Show about their experiences on the campaign trail, the sewer issue, and who they think is underrepresented in city government.
Democratic mayoral nominee Dan Horrigan says his campaign is still working hard, despite the success of other Democrats in the past.
"You always work hard. You don't take anything for granted. Nobody gives you anything, " Horrigan tells WAKR.net. "You've gotta go out and earn it, and that's one of the great characteristics of the city...we've earned every everything that we've had. Nobody gives us anything."
Horrigan faces challenges from Republican Eddie Sipplen and Independent Bill Melver. The city of Akron historically leans heavily Democratic, and has had a Democratic mayor leading the city for the past 30 years.
There are more than 20,000 registered Democrats in Akron, compared to more than 2,800 that identify themselves as Republican, according to the Summit County Board of Elections data. There are over 99,000 voters who identify as independent.
Horrigan says his campaign's efforts on the ground proved to be an important tool, saying candidates have to understand the voters' needs and concerns. "This campaign has always been about issues," Horrigan says. "And it's about the voters. It's not about me, and it's not about the other opponent. It's about what they (voters) care about. Because that's what elections are for."
Akron will elect a new mayor for the first time in nearly 30 years next Tuesday. Early voting through the weekend hours at the Summit County Board of Elections, 500 Grant Street, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday; 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday and 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday. Precincts will be open the usual times for in-person voting on Tuesday.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman offered his support for Republican mayoral candidate Eddie Sipplen during his visit to Akron on Saturday.
"I was excited when Eddie agreed to step up and run," Portman said at Sipplen's campaign headquarters on W.Exchange Street.. "I think Akron needs Eddie Sipplen." Senator Portman, as part of his first Super Saturday grassroots campaign event traveled across nearly all of Ohio, in an effort to reach 25,000 voters in one day.
He also gave his thoughts on why he thinks Eddie Sipplen would be the best leader for the city.
"He's a guy with his MBA, his legal degree; he's got great qualifications," Portman said. "He knows how to work across the aisle and work with everybody and that will be great for Akron." With the election less than a couple of weeks away, the two candidates, Sipplen and Dan Horrigan, are ramping up their efforts to convince voters to punch their ticket as the next mayor of the Rubber City. Portman's team assisted Sipplen's campaign Saturday in reaching more than 1,500 voters by going door-to-door and asking for their vote.
Sipplen says his focus is on the people of Akron. "We [he and Portman] talked about the financial aspects of the campaign and he was like look; it's not about the money in the campaign its about what you are going to do for the people. Stay focused on that." Sipplen says his campaign has always been one that wants to talk to voters directly and that involves getting out into the neighborhoods. He says that's what he's always done and it won't change, as the November election approaches. "I'm not taking it for granted," Sipplen said. "I'm knocking on the doors. Every volunteer that's out there knocking on the doors. I'm out knocking with them so they know that I walk the talk."
WAKR contacted Horrigan for comment on this story, but he was unavailable.
The general election to choose the next mayor will be on Tuesday, November 3rd.