Tackling infrastructure with a lot of help

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Mayor Glenn Broska seems to be on the right track in moving Streetsboro forward by aggressively seeking grant funding to pay for needed improvements while continuing to focus on economic growth for a community that remains a magnet for development in Portage County.

During his recent State of the City message, Broska noted that Streetsboro gained more than $2 million in grant funding for infrastructure needs in 2013 and will receive close to $4 million this year. Money leveraged through grants helps enable city finances to remain stable while moving forward on long-range projects, such as road construction and water lines.

"I like spending other people's money. I don't like spending our money," he told the Streetsboro Area Chamber of Commerce, which hosted his recap of city progress.

Grant funding will underwrite most of the cost of a major project that will result in the addition of nearly a dozen new industrial sites when Ethan Drive is extended to Philipp Parkway, which will grant easy access to Interstate 480 to locations on Route 43 without routing traffic through the city's center.

While the city lost about 300 jobs last year with the closing of Commercial Turf Products, that was somewhat offset by a number of positive economic developments, including the expansion of Viking Forge, the opening of Harbor Freight Tools and the Zip City recreation facility and the news that the long-vacant Wal-Mart site will house Big Dee's Vet and Tack Supply.

Streetsboro's prime location at the nexus of several major highways, including the Ohio Turnpike, has made it a natural site for industrial, commercial and residential growth. While the lingering recession has slowed the pace of growth seen during the 1990s and the first decade of the new century, Streetsboro remains one of the most vibrant communities in Portage County. Broska's leadership strategy looks like a good one for continued progress.

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