The city will try to fill vacant storefronts on Pearl Road by stepping back and giving small businesses the freedom to prosper, Mayor Tom Perciak said.
"Local government needs to stay out of the way so businesses can bloom and grow," Perciak said.
The mayor's remarks were part of his annual State of the City address, which he delivered Tuesday to several hundred people during a monthly luncheon at the .
Some highlights of Perciak's speech:
• Plans are continuing for the despite a statewide road funding crisis that has delayed a grant six years.
• Strongsville spends about $6 million a year maintaining its roadways, $14.8 million on police and fire, and $3.8 million on recreation. "I just want you to know we're spending your money wisely," Perciak told the crowd.
• Work is expected to start in June on the , which has been closed near Valley Parkway for nearly a year. The project will cost $600,000.
• Other city projects this year include a culvert replacement on Pebblebrook Drive ($250,000), a sanitary sewer replacement on Lunn Road ($118,000), a culvert replacement on Idlewood Trail ($136,000) and a sanitary sewer line that will replace 39 septic tanks in the area of West 130th Street, Royalton Road and Webster Road. The city received a $408,000 grant to help offset that project.
• of 5.3 percent is among the lowest in the state. The jobless rate in Cuyahoga County is 7.2 percent; in Ohio, 7.6 percent; and nationally, 8.3 percent.
• About 400 new jobs were created in Strongsville in 2011.
Perciak also broke tradition and fielded questions from the audience, assuring one business person that plans to hire local workers when it on Pearl Road, and lamenting with another that there is no federal money available to construct an I-71 interchange at Boston Road.