Justin Greer’s Take on The City of Barberton’s Future with Business.

This article is written to convey personal beliefs, opinions and visions of and for the City of Barberton. Anything mentioned or referenced in this article is public knowledge.

Who Are We?

The City of Barberton needs to establish itself with an identity of who we want to be and who we are. The City of Barberton School system along with the 4 Cities Compact are bringing the foundation of the work ethic and jobs back to our community. These jobs are great and offer really good pay and quality of life. These jobs entail electricians, carpenters, welders and much more.

Over the last couple decades there was a push that everyone needed to go to college in order to be successful. This in my opinion was one of the worst things we could have done to our generation. What this push did was started slowly cutting away at the workforce of skilled labor. Some may argue that these are jobs of the past. This is not true and is that type of thinking of why our workforce is in a shortage of skilled workers.

The City of Barberton was built during an industrial time of history. It has survived with the same model for over a hundred years but ultimately industrial jobs are not in demand as they once was. These types of jobs are not gone but they no longer support a growing community by themselves.

The City of Barberton needs to reestablish themselves and create a new identity. We house BWXT here locally and they are a growing company but they only offer so many jobs. There is other smaller factories around town which are great as well.

I will bluntly say that these factories are sustainer and stabilizers economically but are not forward thinking in the sense I am referring to. They provide awesome jobs but if we as a city want to move forward we need to think forward. We have a solid base with these factories. It is time to be proactive instead of reactive. I feel the City of Barberton has been sitting and waiting for a business to expand or looking to relocate. This is an approach that I don’t feel comfortable with.

To move forward we MUST think forward

The header says it all. Recently I was approached by a man who said we need to push for industry with industry wages. Immediately, I took a look at him and seen that he was easily in his mid to late 50’s. He was not wrong but he was saying this referencing the past. This is how generations work. The older generations always talk about how their time was better and things need to go back to the way it was. Unfortunately, thinking backwards will produce backwards results.

In order to move forward I think the City of Barberton needs to think forward. This is something that I feel they have been failing at. To them, business is business but that train of thought is like placing a bet on an old horse. The question is then, how do we come up with a good business and economic plan? An answer to this can be simple and may be right in front of us.

We have a neighboring city that has embraced the thinking forward model and has grown above their own expectations. The City of Cleveland is a hub for technology and is gaining traction in the technology industry. We have the template in front of us to success with a tested and working model, let’s use it. It costs us nothing to be proactive if we do it with common sense.

Offer Startup Support

Currently, the City of Barberton does not provide any startup support for new technology companies/startups. In Cleveland there are groups like JumpStart that help with space, mentor and help companies launch successful businesses. Providing co-working space is also something that does not exist in the City of Barberton. Co-working offices offer all the amenities of a company and provide a diverse environment that promotes growth. A startup or small business can then pay $150-$200 a month for desk space.

The City of Barberton currently has 300+ properties on the books one way or another. Most are residential but some are commercial space. I would like to add at this point in time, some are commercial spaces that sit empty. The awesome thing about startups is they cost little to run but come with big potential.

I want to make this very clear that most startups fail. This is not a secret but if Cleveland wrote these startups off, I guarantee they would not be as successful.

Using Startups Technology

I use Cleveland as a success story because they implemented the ideas mention in this write-up. Sampling the Startups is a great way to advance with minimal funds and efforts. Startup companies are eager to succeed and they offer technology that is far beyond anything local Government will be able to provide. This may include an app or research and studies. The City of Cleveland often times holds contests for their local community to come up with a solution to an issue. These issues are usually something local.

I recall being invited to be on a team that was formed by local software developers, analytics and security experts. The contest was put on by a Great Lakes company on how to promote awareness about the water pollution of Lake Erie.

The City of Cleveland benefited from this contest and they did not put a dime towards it. They simply offered support and collaboration. They understood that printing fliers or posting on social media was not enough to address ever-changing issues. The winners of this contest were awarded $200k (federal money) and would be offer to work on other projects within the city. Ultimately an app and framework was developed that monitored the water in the Great Lakes using beacons and would give real-time pollution levels. This was all done with 2k in resources that was paid by the competitors of the program. The city was granted federal dollars to go towards the project. Now more than ever, people are aware and pollution has decreased.

The above story is just and explain of a real world example of when the City of Cleveland embraced startup technology.

If there is something the City of Barberton is good at, it is writing grants. I will not pretend that it is easy to write a grant but let’s put some possible numbers to this.

Let’s say that the City of Barberton launches a contest and invites startups to develop a cost-effective way monitor traffic on the towpath that runs through the town. Local companies then come in and start designing a product based on the contest requirements. Let’s make the goal to have a system in place that cost under 5K with no more than 1k operating costs per year and provides data of times attended, speed and actions of people using the parks and towpath. This ultimately will allow for more money to be allocated by the State of Ohio if we can show hard numbers.

This is as simple as it can be. The contest above is very feasible in my eyes and cost the city nothing. Once the contest is over and a winner is picked, they then become the contract holder while the City then can write grants based on the new advancements and information from the contest. The Startup now grows to become successful and the City of Barberton is now on the map as a place where they embrace technology.

It is a win/win and is a very workable and proven model.

Government is Slow and Problematic

As the owner of 3 small businesses I see there is a disconnect with local Government and businesses. I do not blame anyone but at the end of the day someone is responsible for the bad and good in the business economic atmosphere of the city. I often mention the Mayor’s position because ultimately the buck stops there. Even if the position tried everything they could and there is still failure, it is no ones fault but the vision or ability of the person holding that position.

I do not claim to know how to run a City but I do claim to know how business works. If one of my businesses failed and I tried everything I could to make it work, I still failed as an owner. I either did not have what it took or my plan and vision was wrong. It is very simple and it’s black and white. The only time it becomes complicated is when politics are involved.

Listening and Gauging as a City

The City of Barberton School District started a committee called the Key Communicators. This consists of business owners and managers in the local area. The goal of this committee is to communicate real world needs that are up-to-date. This information is then used to alter and tune education to meet the most recent demand of technology and standards.

To my knowledge, the City of Barberton does not have committee like this. They have the Chamber of Commerce but like anything else politics are involved. A committee should be composed of a full spectrum of business owners and managers. As the header suggests, Government is slow and is inherently reactive to things that go on. A committee would help the City see into the future of business, plans, needs, and expectations. In my opinion if all they do is simply listen to everyone, they will be able to gauge and adjust course (being proactive) with ever-changing business economics.

Barberton Politics Ruin Everything

One thing I have noticed personally is that the City of Barberton does not like to hear negativity and if they perceive you as a threat to anything, you will take a back seat to everything. Politics play a huge role in The City of Barberton and it is very annoying as a business. The City of Barberton will deny this but people are not blind.

This section is simply to hammer home that the City of Barberton needs to listen to everyone if they want to move forward. If the city officials truly had the city at heart, politics would be second to our community success. We need to create more transparency in everything. In my opinion, this will create better trust and will eliminate bias, unfair and in some cases unethical actions by groups or individuals.

We need to remove the stigma we have and that starts with blunt and straight forward conversations with those that have been behind the scenes when it comes to businesses new and old. Whether these people are friends, family members or long time position holders, they have to be looked at if we want to move forward.

Conclusion

There is no question that the City of Barberton needs a change in course when it comes to business economics. One business left Barberton and just like that 5-8% of annual income vanished.

The City of Barberton is not known for it technologically resources and this can change and bring millions of dollars back to the town with minimal workforce. A company of 10 in the technology field on a project can produce 10 billion dollars in revenue. Although extreme cases, look at SnapChat, WeWork, and Pinterest. Cleveland has Linestream, Streamlink, ViewRay and a ton more. They were given a chance when Cleveland welcomed them and now both Startup and City are BOOMING!

If the City of Barberton could even get a percentage of that kind of interests from tech companies, we as a city and community would benefit. I would love to see Barberton labeled a Smart city by 2023. Even if I have to attempt to make it happen by myself I will push my hardest. It would be so much better if the City embrace technology in a way that other Cities have.

Do you have any idea that you think would make Barberton a better place, let me know. I love to hear the good, bad, and ugly.

weight-wait-ron-white-barberton

In the eye of the beholder Weight/Wait Art Piece

Today I walked into Kave in Downtown Barberton and finally had a change to sit down and star into the charcoal art that measures 5ft x 16ft. This piece of art instantly took my by surprise because I considered myself an art lover but this was the first time I just stood there for 5 minutes just staring. Ron White the artist reasonable for this art piece titled “The weight/wait” is a high school art teacher here in Barberton, Ohio. The entire art piece is black and white and done in charcoal and is absolutely mind bending.

I wanted to write about this piece to explain it but then I remember that art is in the eye of the beholder. This makes it extremely difficult to explain as it means something else to anyone that examines it. With this is mind, I decided to simply just write about some of the things that sticks out to me.

Shaming and Pointing Fingers

The focal point of the piece is in the middle where there is a man standing in the corner of two types of brick walls being shamed/disciplined. The walls morph into a book that I assume represents the law. There is a man holding the book pointing down on the person in the corner as to say “You” or “It’s your fault”. The book edges morph yet once again into rope throughout the entire piece. The most notable part of this rope is there is a couple of pair of hands that our bound together to represent “My hands are tied”. The ribbon intertwines through every subject in this art piece representing the law has a hand in everything. Even a small figure of a runner (which I assume is Jeep Davis) is bound by the ankle with the rope.

Puppet Masters

One of my favorite parts of this drawing is the puppet masters. There is a small figure holder a piece of paper that says “Building Code, Zoning Code” with a long reach over a larger business man. There are strings attached to the small figures fingers representing the overreach and power an individuals holds over business and economics. There is another figure hidden in the background with a long reach under the small individual holding the zoning paper. This large hidden figure is holding a match under the planning director indicating the corruption by larger business in government. In the focus there is also a man in a business suit holding a face.

The Next Generation

On the left side of art piece there is two egg shells with what looks to be nude bodies indicating the new generation. One of the young figures are curled in a small ball as to be innocent doing nothing. Near this figure is yet another egg that is cracked and there is an arm reaching out. The arm is reaching up to part of the rope (representing the law) with a pair os scissors as to be cutting the rope.

No See, No Hear, Forget

On the right side of the piece is a man in the background wearing robe of sorts. The figure resembles frank Einstein. The figure has its eye closed tight and you can see the hands plugging the ears of this figure. This figure makes me think of the primitive foundation  of everything is knowing blind to the things going on. All the corruption is known to exist but everyone looks the other way and chooses to hear, see and say nothing. Below this figure stretching under the entire art piece is what looks to be a black man holding up everything as if it suggests the system was built on African-Americans shoulders.

Final Thoughts

This piece as a ton to offer. I have been staring at it for about an hour while I write this blog post. Ron White (Mr. White) has successfully created a piece of art that I think is as moving as anything thing I have seen in recent past. So much so that I think I would offer a large amount of cash to have this piece hang above me at home or my office to create a talking point and express my feelings for our current administration.

If you have not seen this art piece, please check it out at Kave in Downtown Barberton.

 

Honor Crewing the RiteAid KidScents DreamShip at the Hall of Fame Balloon Classic

This past weekend I was invited by some friends to crew for the DreamShip hot air balloon at the Football Hall of Fame Balloon Classic. The DreamShip is a very special balloon and has roughly a 1/3rd if the balloons panels are designed by children of fallen and wounded Veterans. It is sponsored by RiteAid’s KidCents program and flown by two person crew. They travel the States and attend events to show off the artwork and spark conversations about the reality of the sacrifices made by our Military and their family.

When I was asked to help crew I was unsure what to expect since I  have only helped setup a balloon 1 time. A good friend on mine has been crewing for balloons for a while and thought it would be great if we would get some Veterans to help crew the DreamShip while they were in town.

Crewing for a hot air balloon consist of helping unpacking the balloon, inflating and ensuring that the balloon is set to go for its flight. The crew also is tasks with chasing the balloon down where ever it goes. Other than having the honor of crewing for the DreamShip, this was the best part for me. Balloons travel with the wind and this make the landing location unknown. Chasing the balloon can was exciting. It reminded me of chasing storm or something along those lines.

All-in-all the experience is something that I wont forget. The DreamShip is an awesome balloon that has an amazing story behind it.

 

 

The Most Humbling Selfish Act of Kindness, Barberton Ohio and Salvation Army

Every 4th Friday, the Barberton Salvation Army hosts a Food Bank. If you do not know about this service, don’t feel bad. I have been involved and I had absolutely no idea how involved and elaborate the Food Bank is here in Town. Along with BACM and other local churches these organizations lend a hand when a hand is needed. The people who help are almost all volunteers and they all are AMAZING people.

This past Friday I had the honor to spend my morning at the Barberton Salvation Army. Through the chaos and crowds, there was a glow. I was greeted as soon as I walked in by random volunteers that have been giving their time for years. The local NCS organization was in the room with people handing out information while there was a line coming through the front door to check-in. From Joyce and Bethany at the front desk to the lovely ladies and Josh in the back, I was surrounded by a hidden gem in Barberton.

At times you may see me call someone out but more times than not I try to promote the good that I come in contact with each day. Even with all the things I have done in life, I still find the greatest equalizer is to help make someone else’s life a little easier that it was before they met you. No act of kindness is ever wasted. The Salvation Army location here in town is wonderful and provides great services. I highly suggest taking some time to just say “hi” or show up with some time in hand.

I like to spend my time helping others either by my time or by providing information. As long as my business allows me the time and resources, I will continue to educate myself while educating others. With all this and the support of my Family, I have been fortunate enough to do what I like to do here in my community. I would love to share this experience with others. I extend my hand to anyone that would like to volunteer when they have time. You can contact me or the Barberton Salvation Army directly.

Defensiveness About Criticism; A Barberton Curse Decades Old

There is a great article written about how to deal with public criticism properly titled “The Difficult Art of Responding to Public Criticism“. I found this article when it was first published about 2 years ago. I was led to it originally due to the way a chamber handled favoritism and became extremely defensive when confronted by other store owners. Being confronted with criticism publicly by an individual or a group is normal. Becoming defensive after being criticized shows the lack of experience, professionalism, and self-control.

Barberton has a long history that I am extremely proud of. Along with the good we have to accept the bad and this is where I am seeing mixed emotion from both political figures and certain individuals of the public. No one likes to be told the someone is not happy about an action taken. I understand this since at some level it is a personal decision that led to that said action. It is natural to become upset when being questioned as an adult. With this said, there is a huge difference when you are a public figure or the local government.

I have experienced it first hand

When I first started this blog post I wanted to simply state a point and leave it along. I started to think and this post would then hold only criticism and non structural complaints if it was short. I have seen elected and appointed officials become defensive just as soon as something was said. I have experienced this first hand. As the header suggests, I have asked questions and received smirking answers that sometimes carries with it an over statement typical when someone is trying to prove your criticism or question is not correct or threatening. I take mental notes of what is said and how it was perceived. This tends to come in handy later on down the road to drive home a point.

I watched as a Citizen stood up at City Council and questioned how things were happening throughout the city and he was met with chests being puffed out by some officials. This is uncalled for and sadly when I start digging into history and talking to more people the stories sound all too familiar. When did questioning our local leaders and Government put you in a bucket of “Cry Babies”, “Naysayers” and other slandering names? The simple act of criticizing our local government for anything now labels people “Complainers” and unfortunately put some people in the crosshairs for what some would call unethical abuse of power and knowledge.

It is not all bad

I would like anyone reading this to know that not everything is bad. I think the people in power truly do care for the City of Barberton. Sometimes it is biased but none the less they care. I have no issues with the Mayor personally. This goes for 98% of the officials in the City of Barberton as well. The City of Barberton is a lot different from it was when I was a kid and I will say that most of the difference is for the better.

if you look at the picture as a whole too much you will fall victim to complacency. This is because as a whole, Barberton is an awesome town but I would remind people it is not the officials but rather the citizens that make it so. The people in this town are truly amazing and are the exact reason I love it.

My Criticism

No one is perfect but collectively we can be more right than wrong. I will be the first to admit I am not perfect and I am defiantly not always right. I will admit when I am wrong and I will admit when there is issues. Some call me a blessing and some call me a Jack a#@. Either way, I will always do what I believe is the right thing for all. I am careful to not be so stubborn that my own ego gets in the way of decisions. When I am wrong, I will admit it and correct it humbly. Enough of my faults. What about my Criticism?

  • Members that have voting roles on certain boards have direct connection that clearly are a conflict of interest yet they still vote.
  • Almost all of the businesses that I have talked to about their experience in Barberton have stated that the City is a pain to work with.
  • Our city does not have an Engineer like we are required to have. We pay more for consulting than what an in-house engineer would cost.
  • Our city is monopolized by a few family names and those families still sit in seats throughout the city dealings.
  • Asking questions and questioning decisions become personal.
  • Whether they admit it or not, if you befriend certain people you can slide through cracks for certain things.
  • Information privy to officials somehow gets leaked persuading opinions and one-sided narratives.

 

So why get defensive when criticized?

Being questioned creates a feeling of being challenged or threatened by those that do not know how to handle opinions other than their own. The natural stance when being threatened is to fight back. This is where I see a large issue and one of my biggest gripes about some people in power.

That fact that a relationship with certain powers plays any role in decision making is crazy. Not to be too petty about the issue but when the city stops sharing certain information based on if they feel threatened by it or the person/business is childish and does not benefit no one but themselves. Of course no one that controls these things will admit this, but I can tell you it happens more than you might think. I guess the fact that most of the positions are paid and any person that is perceived as able to take that away is an enemy. Sadly, this is how I feel our city is ran and managed in some aspects. If you don’t praise them, you get no help from them.

“You can not fix something that you do not know is broken. No matter how much your circle tells you something, does not mean they are right.”

Barberton, will you be force to put a cell tower near your yard?

At the last council meeting, I was introduced to a new bill that could potentially change some public land and even residences own property and landscapes around town. The things to note here is that these changes currently are out of the control of Barberton and we have absolutely no say so in the matter. The Service Providers will not have to pay to use our land either.

Download and Read the Full 67 Page Draft as currently Written by clicking here.

What are you talking about Justin?

Bill 331 was signed by Kasich in December 2016 that classified cellphones as a utility and as such the law allows cellphone providers to build new cell towers up to 50 feet high in the public right-of-way at their discretion. This means that if they deemed your devil strip essential for performance, you could end up with a cell tower in your front yard.

The scenario above is not just some made up scare tactic to sway your opinion, it has been proposed already. Contractors for these companies have come into Barberton and have strategically marked possible location where these “micro towers” could go. The results were devil strips, sidewalks Lake Anna, parks and our kids schools.

What can we do to protect Barberton?

For the past year or so, the City has been working with a law firm in Columbus, Ohio to create an ordnance amendment that would restrict and protect our city from undesired placement. The result is currently 67 page document that is currently in draft to be passed here shortly by City Council. The amendment covers annual registration, construction, maintenance, etc.

Shannon Wokojance (Ward 1 Council Woman) stated that she understands that this is important but she wanted this topic to be read at least a couple of times in Council Chambers to make sure that every citizen understand what is going on. I applaud her for stepping up and doing so. Although this is a time sensitive matter, the city has had 1 year to get this done and should not be rushed through blindly “just because”.

The citizens are now able to educate themselves and I am able to learn and then write about it without having to use past tense which seems to happen a lot within our city.

My Thoughts

If we are to protect ourselves from random cell towers, we need this amendment. After reading the full 67 page document, I find myself trying to determine what the City of Barberton can do and what the Service Director can do. Throughout the document you will find that the Service Director is given sole authority to basically forego all restrictions if the person holding the Service Director position chooses. I would not have an issue with this so much if the Service Director was an elected official.

Do not misconstrued my words though. I am not saying that the Service Director (Currently Mike Vinay) has anything but the best intentions. However, it does create a single point for these powerful companies to lobby. I would much rather see a board put together with citizens of Barberton advised by the City attorney and the Service Director. At a bare minimal, the City Council should be involved.

The amendment does also force these companies to compensate the city for every cell tower they place within city limits. The amendment also establishes that no tower (unless authorized by the City) be placed in a historic District. Each tower will require the Service Provider to register for construction which can be approved or denied. This amendment simply provides some guidelines to how and where towers can be placed.

I do not think this goes far enough to protect the residence specifically but it is surely better than nothing.

You can download the drafted Amendment here.

Share your thoughts!

 

10 things about Barberton that you may not have known

I am a local history nerd and I find myself knee-deep in books and photographs of Barberton’s history all the time. I have visited just about ever historic location in Barberton and even found the ones that are not listed. Though out my endeavor, I find interesting information that I never knew. I put 10 things together that I found intriguing about Barberton, Ohio’s history.

  • In the early days of Barberton, The police would use wheelbarrows to haul the drunks to jail for an overnight stay. The Barberton Fire Department lended the Police a fire wagon to use until the police finally purchased their own.
  • The Fire Department was established in Barberton for the factories more than the residences.
  • Lake Anna was a pond named “Davis Way Pond” before Barberton was founded. The name was changed to “Lake Anna” in 1890.
  • In the mid 1900’s, Barberton has a serial thief known as the Peticoat Thief. The thief would steal women’s lingerie. One account stated that her lingerie was laid out on the bed as if the thief was pretending that there was someone laying in them.
  • At one point in history, Lake Anna was believed to have healing powers. People would bath in the pond to cure illness’ and other sickness.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Lake Anne is a glacier lake meaning it was formed by a glacier in the ice age and is not man-made.
  • Lake Anna was almost filled in by its previous owner due to nobody wanting to buy it. He started filling the pond marshes in with slag from the pipe factory. This is where the shape of the lake we not know comes from.
  • When the Indian Statue on Wooster Rd and Norton Ave was being planned, the current mayor wanted Chief Hopocan to hold a light bulb. O.C Barber was quoted disagreeing with the Mayor stating that his idea was more about the Mayor then the original purpose. The idea ultimately was scared in favor of what we see today.
  • The original Diamond Match factory was in Akron, OH. To ensure the survival of Barberton in its early days, O.C Barber decided to move Diamond Match Factory to Barberton.
  • O.C Barber founded Sterling Boiler Works in Barberton and later made a deal with B&W to merge and move to Barberton where they still resides today.

Issue 8 and Barberton, Ohio

If you talk to anyone in Barberton, Ohio about what can be improved or what they thought the current administration could be doing better, you will find 2 issues over and over again.

  • The Roads
  • The Flooding

Some that are reading this may disagree but I personally asked residents and came to these conclusions. There was some other issues like drugs and animals but the issues that plague Barberton, Ohio are Roads and Flooding. Drugs are more of an emergency that requires a lot more attention. Just know that our drug problem is my personal number 1 issue. For this post, I am going to speak on the road issue here in Barberton.

Issue 8

Roads are always at the top of anyones list because they are the most use public property. This public property has the ability to personally affect us and our wallets by being in poor condition. If you recall and currently still notice, the citizens voted for “Issue 8” back in 2013. This increased our taxes .25% and was for the roads. Due to lack of funding from the State and Federal Government, funds had all but disappeared. Mayor Judge said that the city was operating on a $200k budget when it could be $1 million. The money was just not there and we needed to provide more to keep up with our roads.

To date the city has collected $5,449,485 dollars and spent $8,434,175 dollars on road repairs. You may be thinking that the numbers can not be right. How did we only collect $5 Mil but spent $8 Mil. The City of Barberton basically spent more up front (mainly for the 9th St project) and have a financial plan to pay using the Issue 8 money as they can. Just last year in 2017, the City had paid $700k toward that note.

Where’s our money?

If you know me, I follow everyone’s questions really closely on Twitter and Facebook. People tend to ask why our roads are in the shape they are even with our Issue 8 taxes. This is a great question and until recently, I did not have an answer.

It all starts with the note for 9th street and flows into the recent grant that Barberton has been awarded. The 9th St project put us in the negative to start but there is a financial plan in place to pay that back. All Federal Grants require a 20% match from the grantees. This means that the city has to pay 20% of the total grant to get the grant. Currently the city is operating in a deficit so they are using the issue 8 taxes to meet the 20% needed. Ultimately, this is why the citizens  are asking the question; “Where is our money? Why are the streets not being fixed

Conclusion

Mike Vinay; the service director said, the cities idea is to pay down the debt in order to issue new debt and build a fund balance that will carry Barberton through the other grant funded projects. Personally, the way this works makes sense to me but I will say that it was not clearly conveyed to the citizens. This whole thing is like a slinky effect where we incur debt by projects but must pay debt before new projects can start.

If you think about the funds being directly used as they come in, then you may think that you are not seeing anything happening. Unfortunately, street repair costs a lot of money and requires building a fund. This can take time and creates the illusion that nothing is going on. I am not saying that I am completely happy with the streets but now I understand where our money is going and how it is being spent.

I am always open for questions. If I can not answer them specifically, I will find out for you. You can find me on Twitter @barbertondrone and Facebook. Follow and connect with me and stay updated.

 

 

It’s Time to Contribute and Help Barberton

Being part of a community is more than juts living there. What makes a community better is the people! The people are the very foundation of every town. It is our job as citizens of Barberton, Ohio to make our home safer. By being active in the community our town will only get better.

Where to start?

The biggest way for the community to step up here in Barberton, Ohio is to be active. I know the saying “See Something, Say Something” is used all the time but it holds true. Many times I see people want to complain about something but then do nothing to change it. I am here to tell you that no matter what it is, we the people and as individuals have the ability to make change.

Report Drug Activity / Dealers Anonymously

I see and hear it all the time. Someone will say that there is a drug house or activity. The issue is that most of the time is just talk. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. We have a huge drug problem in Ohio and we need to help those that need help and rid the people who enable it. Visit the link below to report illegal activity without outing yourself.

https://local.nixle.com/tip/city-of-barberton/

Be the Change You Want

Often times, government wants to say the header but alienates individuals when doing so. I am fed up with the drug issue and I am not scared whose feelings I hurt. There needs to be something done about it. Addicts are not bad and need help. The people who need to be put away are the dealers, suppliers, and the enablers. Stand up and report drug problems.

Helping others that are in a time of need is rewarding. I get the same “high” helping someone as I did on the battle field in Iraq. Being generous and doing the right thing one-act at a time will make Barberton better. We will grow and be known for good. Remember, the people are what Barberton great.

I am compiling a packet of information in the coming weeks to help you help others. Stay Tuned!

All But Two

Today I write this blog with a little bit more information and confidence than I had yesterday. Once again, I will have another blog post about the city’s future acquisition of 425 Hopocan Ave, Barberton Ohio 44203. I realize that this topic is old news to a few so I will keep this as brief as possible but still try to present the facts as I know them.

During the Barberton City Council Meeting June 11, 2018, the Police chief, Judge fish and others were invited to answer questions. This was a move to provide anyone with questions to clear the air about the property purchase. After the council meeting last week, something had to be done to make sure questions and details were presented factually. Judging by the tone of some officials, this was a nuisance to them and they obviously did not think it was needed. I feel, that if this information was presented in this manner to begin with, this would have just been another day in the City of Barberton.

If you follow this blog you would have seen my last blog post found at https://www.justin-greer.com/2018/06/05/can-we-get-some-straight-answers-please-city-of-barberton-justice-center/.  Once again, this was because there was some very serious concerns about what was happening. From my point of view and many others, either of two thing was going happening.

  • The city was not being transparent about the entire thing
  • The city has no clue what was going on.

Either way, it did not look great and as a citizen I was concerned about deals being made and not even Mayor Judge understood it. I give the Mayor a break from time to time because there is a lot that is going on in this town but this was something that he should have been on top of.

So here is the deal in a nutshell

The court has funds for specifically purchasing and helping with anything the courts need. This includes land and buildings. Since the courts CAN NOT purchase land on their own behalf, they need someone else to do it for them. In good faith, the courts know that the Pit Stop is a great location for a new Justice Center and have tasked Barberton to handle the transaction. The question I guess then is, Why are we paying them back for the land and why don’t we just buy it ourselves? This is a question that quit honestly I did not think of until this morning but I will be reaching out to ask here today.

The chief of police did secured a $400K grant that will be used for surveying, ground testing and other needs prior to building. I am not sure if this is enough money for much but it will start the process and at least help.

The Title, oh the Title

So far we have heard from courts in great detail about why and how they plan to help with the movement forward. We have heard the concerns of the council as well as some citizens. There is still two people we have not heard from.

  • The Mayor
  • The Pit Stop Owner

Be it coincidence or just convenient timing but the Mayor and the Planning Department were not present to answer any questions directly. I feel conformable mentioning the Pit Stop owner because he reached out to me and agreed to talk about parts of the deal and how we as a city and him got to the step we currently are. I should have more information from that side here in the next couple days.

Closing

All in all, the purchase of the Pit Stop properly can be a good thing and I personally think it is. We can use that property as a prime location for expanding our downtown area. I support the purchase of 425 Hopocan Ave but I just wish there was more transparency. Most official responses are tethered with a tone that feels like you are doing some thing wrong.

I try to keep the information as accurate as possible and expect to have some pushback due to numbers and information being a personal decision at some level. This allows me to see where strings are being pulled and controlled. If you feel that any information is wrong, contact me. Show me the numbers and prove me wrong. I own all information and correct anything that is inaccurate.