Mayor Larry Antoskiewicz is releasing his 2021 State of the City address a bit differently this year. His presentation can be seen on the city’s website, He stated that “as many community members may have noticed, this is an unconventional format for this address, but, as we know too well, the past year has been anything but conventional. We all experienced a new way of doing things – working from home, socializing through Zoom, even grocery shopping online. But we endured and survived. Yes, 2020 was one for the history books, and I think everyone can agree, it’s a year we are happy to leave behind us.” He went on to say, though, that due to the circumstances, “we learned to work together even more closely to fight the challenges in our way, while never ceasing to serve the residents of our community.”
Antoskiewicz stated that the collaborative effort with local, state and federal agencies is ongoing and provides assistance for unforeseen events. He and Fire Chief Bob Chegan, who acts as the city’s emergency medical coordinator worked closely through the pandemic, putting into practice all health orders and guidelines, for the safety of employees and residents. “ The City stayed healthy through decisions made by this leadership and the commitment, resilience and dedication of our employees,” said Antoskiewicz. “We also weathered the financial storm, applying for ALL available funding sources. The pandemic recovery is underway, but economic metrics show just how far we have to go. We continue our conservative financial approach but now with renewed optimism for growth.”
“We have a track record of being fiscally prudent stewards of taxpayer dollars, and this was especially true during this past year,” said Antoskiewicz. “We halted any major purchases but continued to tackle projects to keep our City moving forward. I had high hopes for 2020 as the newly elected mayor, but shortly after the virus began to spread and businesses were forced to close, we received a revised estimate on the potential impact to our tax collections. I quickly addressed the potential shortfall in funding by cutting the budgets by 15 percent. Although cuts were made, no City services were halted, and residents could still do business through the new safety protocols. The final impact of last year was less than feared, as receipts were down $660,000. The funding the City received from the Federal Government and the State of Ohio helped offset this loss, and as a result, the City’s finances ended the 2020 fiscal year in solid shape despite the crisis.”
Although there were cuts, the city service department continued to perform a number of concrete, asphalt and crack sealing projects last year. “This year we continued our road program with additional asphalt and concrete work. We also continue to upgrade our aging equipment and fleet with the purchase of two snow plows, a crew cab pickup truck, a skid steer loader with an attachment and a mini excavator,” said Antoskiewicz.
The city’s new engineering Firm, CT Consultants, has several projects on the horizon. “This fall, we will be adding more sidewalks along State Road; resurfacing Boston Road as a joint project with Medina County later this summer; and resurfacing Ridge Road next year. Storm sewer improvements are planned for the Pinestream Subdivision in the fall. This project will increase the size of a storm sewer and redirect water flow, thereby reducing flooding in the neighborhood,” said Antoskiewicz.
Wastewater and Stormwater
Alleviating the stormwater issues is a continual top priority. “We are awaiting the arrival of our second vac truck, so we can continue cleaning our catch basins and sanitary lines, which is another important piece in our ongoing efforts to alleviate the impact that stormwater has on our community,” said Antoskiewicz. “We are also awaiting approval from the EPA to transform our B Plant, on Sprague Road, into a pump station, which will make our system more efficient and also help mitigate some of our flooding concerns in that area. Running the sanitary line down Abbey Road will also give us an opportunity to develop 240 acres of commercially-zoned property.”
Community Development
Focusing on the future, the ten-member Master Plan Advisory Committee has made their recommendations, which include economic development, infrastructure, recreation, and housing. In addition, the city has been in the midst of a design and improvement plan for Memorial Park. (See Memorial Park Plan article) The city will be hiring a City Planner to supplement the building, community development and engineering departments. Community Development Director Tom Jordan worked to keep businesses apprised of any grant and loan assistance programs and made himself available to assist businesses.
“Despite one of the biggest retail downturns in U.S. history, our business community emerged remarkably unscathed under the circumstances. In fact, our business community grew,” said Antoskiewicz. “We saw the addition of numerous small businesses. And, as we all know, residents are always anxious to see more dining options. The Islander has received approval to transform the vacant Mario’s site into a trendy restaurant featuring attractive patio space. The new tech company Gray Matters is constructing a 10,000 square-foot facility in the Industrial Park. We also have a new 15,000 square-foot office building, recently constructed near the intersection of Royalton and York roads, another investment following the widening there. A two-story medical office building has been approved for a vacant parcel on 82 near State Road. The Stay-A-While cat shelter is finishing up the relocation of their facility into a new complex in the Industrial Park. We also have a few projects to provide seniors with housing options to age in place: Traditions at Royalton Place is in the final stages of completion, and Vitalia senior living community is well under way.”
Antoskiewicz also announced that the city is in the process of completely revamping its website to be much “more modern, attractive and user friendly for not only residents but also businesses.”
Antoskiewicz announced Lt. Keith Tarase as the new Police Chief. “We are replacing six seasoned, retiring officers with enthusiastic young candidates. Our retiring school resource officer mentored an energetic officer, Lexie Jezior, and she will take over those duties next school year. Some of the other goals for the Chief are to improve efficiency of operations; improve communications with residents, businesses and community leaders; bolster working relationships with other outside agencies and departments within the city; and promote a positive image for the police department within the community by upholding department standards and soliciting feedback from the community” said Antoskiewicz.
Antoskiewicz closed by stating that “getting back to normal is something each and every one of us has been striving for, and it is what I am working toward here at City Hall. . . Here in North Royalton, our Office on Aging reopened to seniors June 14. We are seeing the return of many events: including our popular CLE Market on the City Green, featuring 30 vendors every second Saturday of the month through October, movie night at Memorial Park on July 16, the Mayor’s annual Senior Picnic on July 22, the annual George Modock Jr. Memorial Fishing Derby on July 23, a two-day summer fest on the City Green in place of our traditional Home Days planned Aug. 21-22, complete with a fireworks display. Yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I believe we have all come out of this experience better people and a stronger community. . . The state of our city is healthy, but our community is about the people, and I am looking forward to reuniting after the year apart. Often times, the best view comes after the hardest climb. And so, that is what we are looking forward to after this difficult year. We are on the cusp of a new future full of hope and optimism.”

Contributing Writer