LG Chem expected to open within a month, plus Ravenna, Aurora, Shalersville and Streetsboro updates

Image via LG Chem

City of Ravenna

The City of Ravenna took care of the incentive that it offered LG Chem, the largest Korean chemical company, for choosing Ravenna as a place to put its plant and research headquarters. LG Chem is being constructed on Rayann Boulevard.

“It amounts to a return of, once they’re up and running, part of the city income tax that’s paid by the employees who return to the company. It’s a five-year offer,” Mayor Frank Seman said. “We still have to send a copy to the state, but our part is all done. We promised the incentive when we first met with LG Chem.”

The building is very close to being done, with pretty much just landscaping work left. The official opening will likely happen within the next month.


The city authorized the fire department to apply for three grants to be used for purchasing equipment.

“It’s a chance for us to be able to upgrade the fire department,” Seman said. “The grant money will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the state fire marshal’s office and firehouse subs.”


The city is considering requiring rental properties to put in, along with smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, which would go off when the deadly gas – which you cannot smell – builds up in an apartment or a house.

“It goes off if emissions are coming out if, say, the furnace is leaking or you bring a little electrical heater into the house and it fails,” Seman said. “This device will detect and go off and let you know that you need to get out of that area.”


The city is considering making it a law that garbage and recycling containers be placed beyond the front line of houses.

“They wouldn’t be able to be sitting out in front of the house. They’d have to be to the side of the house,” Seman said. “It’s up for another reading and probably will pass next month.”


Jerry Beach, a longtime courthouse employee, passed away a couple months ago. Donations can be made to the fire department and the ambulance crews in honor of Beach.

“Jerry had a lot of health problems, and the ambulance crews often were called to take him to the hospital,” Seman said. “Our guys really treated him well.”


A Ravenna High School honors government class, taught by Matthew Wunderle, attended “We The People” The Citizen and the Constitution, an Ohio high school state competition and invitational, Feb. 3 at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

“It was phenomenal,” Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ryann Kuchenbecker said. “I actually had the pleasure of going because my daughter is in that class. These kids had to really prepare in six different topics, not knowing which topic was going to be addressed. They were set up in teams of three. They’d actually have to answer the questions. The judges ranged from Supreme Court representatives to statehouse representatives to lawyers to professors. All these young adults should be proud and deserve all the praise along with Mr. Wunderle, who is one of Ravenna’s finest and best teachers. His ability to encourage, support and show kindness all while holding his students accountable is admired and a true gift.”

The students are also doing internships at City Hall and other places in town.

“We show them the workings of local government,” Seman said.


Main Street Ravenna, located at 269 W. Main St., will host its annual Winter Writing Festival (WWF) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. There will be several workshops, a writing contest for Ravenna students and a main speaker to kick things off. The workshops will cover topics such as poetry, graphic novels, how to write mysteries, children’s books and how to self-publish or work with a publisher. 

“This year, after the pandemic and previous virtually held events, we are finally hosting the event back downtown,” Main Street Ravenna Executive Director Arasin Hughes said. “We are holding the workshops in downtown businesses and buildings to bring people into the stores and to walk downtown.”

This year’s David Dix Speaker will be David Giffels. Giffels has authored six non-fiction books, including the critically acclaimed memoir “Furnishing Eternity: A Father, a Son, a Coffin, and a Measure of Life.” The book received high praise from the New York Times Book Review, Kirkus Reviews, was a Book of the Month pick by Amazon and Powell’s, and was a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice.” Giffels is a former Akron Beacon Journal columnist, with some of his writing appearing in The New York Times Magazine, the Atlantic.com, Parade, The Wall Street Journal and Esquire.com. He has won a number of awards in Ohio, including the Cleveland Arts Prize for literature, the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a General Excellence award from National Society of Newspaper Columnists. 

“We are very excited to bring David Giffels in for this year’s WWF,” Hughes said.

Local students in grades 2-12 have submitted their entries for the WWF contest. They have the opportunity to submit their short stories on a Ravenna mystery for recognition, reward and more. Students will be recognized the day of the festival in tandem with Giffels’ speech.


Reed Memorial Library (RML) is looking to move forward with a project to enhance its exterior front and rear to attract visitors and add more accessibility by widening the front sidewalks. Amy Young from RML conducted a presentation to city council Feb. 6 to express this.


The Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce will host a Lunch and Learn with Treasurer Brad Cromes at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21 at RML. Lunch will be provided. The admission fee is $10 for Chamber members and $15 for non-members.


Balloon A-Fair will host a 70s Disco Party at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Ravenna Eagles Club at 812 Cleveland Rd. Proceeds will help in fundraising for Balloon A-Fair. There will be a disc jockey, prize raffles, a 50/50 drawing, free pizza and snacks, a cash bar, a photo booth and a limbo contest. The admission fee is $10.


There will be a Heart Health Screening from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Feb. 14 at University Hospitals in which blood pressures will be taken.


The Chamber is accepting Honorary Way nominations through Wednesday, Feb. 15. The Chamber, Neighborhood Development Services and the City of Ravenna came together four years ago and decided that they were going to try to do something to honor a Good Samaritan within the community who gives back to Ravenna as a whole.

“They don’t have to live in Ravenna, they just have to have done something good within the Ravenna community,” Kuchenbecker said. “We vote on it every six months, with one coming up in March.”

To vote, people can go to ravennaareachamber.com or send their vote to [email protected]


Raven Packs are looking for individuals to join their fundraising committee. Interested parties can contact [email protected].

Ravenna Township

Ravenna Township tore down a vacant home on Bridge Street that had been empty for quite awhile.

“It was a nuisance because it was dilapidated. The roof was partially collapsed,” township Trustee Vince Coia said. “The next of kin who had any right to the house live in England, so there was nobody taking care of it, and it was an eyesore. The Portage County Land Bank owns the property, and they had monies to have the house town down. They can sell the property to somebody if somebody is interested in it.”


The township hired a new full-time firefighter, Alec Vallant, Feb. 7. Vallant was previously a part-timer.  


The township is trying to work on some bids and prices for a new storage building in which to store seasonal equipment on Spring Street next to its other buildings.

“We have a storage building on Cleveland Road,” Coia said, “but it’s seen its better days.”


Aurora will be adding a new full-time firefighter position and two new full-time police officer positions.

“That’s because emergency calls have increased significantly,” Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said. “We’ll fill the positions as soon as we can find people to fill them.”


Aurora has been focusing a lot on improving stormwater management throughout the city. One of its focuses has been the Geauga Lake area, and the city was awarded a FEMA grant of $2.3 million to purchase flood-prone homes in that area.

“We expect to be receiving that money this year and executing that project,” Womer Benjamin said. “We can tear the homes down and allow those properties to become part of better drainage systems. These homeowners have agreed to be part of this project because they’ve endured the water problems they’ve had for a long time. The Geauga Lake area is one of the lowest areas in the city and very prone to flooding because it’s so low. We’ll assess whether we leave the properties vacant to help provide extra land for drainage, or we may do other best management practices on the properties to assist with the drainage.”


Three bridges have been closed for the last year because of safety concerns.

“We’ve budgeted to repair two of the bridges and to design a repair for the third bridge,” Womer Benjamin said. “That’s fairly costly, about three-quarters of a million dollars.”


The city is having a hard time securing new trucks that the service department needs.

“We thought we were getting three from Ford,” Womer Benjamin said. “They have some process they went through, and they awarded us three but then told us we could only get one. So we were lucky to find two Chevy trucks elsewhere, and city council approved the purchase of those two Chevy vehicles.”


The city is going to replace its last century-old water line on Maple Lane.

“I’ve replaced four of the five that remained when I became mayor nine years ago,” Womer Benjamin said. “These are very big projects, so it’s significant that the last of them is getting done.”


The contract for Aurora’s law director, Dean DePiero, was approved.

“The law director works under a contract with the city,” Womer Benjamin said, “and every year, the city amends the contract to update compensation and things like that.”


The annual State of the City luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Bertram Inn Hotel & Conference Center at 600 N. Aurora Rd. The event will be sponsored by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. The speakers will be Womer Benjamin and Aurora City Schools Superintendent Mike Roberto. They will talk about what happened last year and what is going to be happening this year with the city and the schools. The admission fee is $30 for Chamber members and $35 for non-members.


Aurora’s part-time events coordinator position is now a full-time position.

“It’s become obvious that people love the events that we put on in the city,” Womer Benjamin said. “There’s been increasing attendance and increased expectations from the people who participate. We just feel that the residents are expecting more and more from these events and that a full-time person is needed.”


City council approved the contract for a feasibility study for a rec center.

“I’ve appointed an ad hoc rec center committee,” Womer Benjamin said, “which is continuing on the work that we’ve done over the last several years to look at the possibility of building a rec center somewhere in the city.”


The Aurora Schools Foundation will host its second annual fundraising gala at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Aurora Meadows Event Center at 50 Trails End. Tickets cost $75 per person. For more information, visit auroraschoolsfoundation.com.


Shalersville will be conducting a land use study over the next six months and is doing some minor tweaking of its zoning.

“Every 15-20 years, you have to take a look at your zoning book and tweak it and make some changes if you need to as the times change and stuff moves in and moves out,” township Chair Frank Ruehr said. “Regional Planning will be there. We’re working on trying to get public input on where people want to see the town go in the next 20 years. We’ll be having several meetings about it.”

The first meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 at Town Hall. It is open to the public.


Things are moving along on the big Geis Development Building on state Route 44 north of the Ohio Turnpike.

“All the walls are up, all of the cranes have moved out of the inside of the structure, and they’re finishing up the roof,” Ruehr said. “They hope to have it completed and ready to rent by the end of the year.”

The building, which is more than one million square feet, will be a large warehouse. It will be the biggest building in Portage County.


Township Trustee John Kline and his wife were in a pretty serious car accident at the end of December. There will be a big benefit fundraiser for the Klines that a local businessman will sponsor from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Corners Catering & Event Center at 11845 state Rte. 44 in Mantua.

“Both John and his wife will be off work for a good amount of time,” Ruehr said.


The State of the City luncheon will take place at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 at St. Joan of Arc Church at 8894 state Rte. 14. Mayor Glenn Broska will be the speaker.

“I’ll give a recap of last year and will talk about what we have planned this year,” Broska said.

The admission fee is $25. Anyone interested in attending can purchase tickets at the Streetsboro Area Chamber of Commerce at 9205 state Rte. 43, Ste. 209.


Raising Cane’s, a fast-food chicken restaurant, opened about two weeks ago at 9550 state Rte. 14.


TimberBeast Axe Throwing opened about two weeks ago at 9300 Market Square Dr. in Market Square Plaza and has leagues.

Roger Gordon
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