This month, we will be celebrating the one-year anniversaries for the Stow, Kent and Hudson websites.
This week, we will feature various leaders from Stow, because Stow.Ohio.com was the second site launched in 2012. To kick off the celebration, we spoke with Mayor Sara Drew about what's in store for the city in 2013.
Between progress on a highly-anticipated new development and clearing up some misconceptions about the city --which is the third largest in Summit County, by the way-- there's a lot going on for Mayor Drew and the community as a whole.
Q: What development, slated for 2013, are you most excited about?
A: The development that I am most excited about for 2013 is the site plan submission and anticipated approval for the redevelopment of the Stow-Kent Shopping Plaza into a mixed used development.
From the preliminary plans, we anticipate it will incorporate both a residential and a retail component. Much of the existing, vacant Stow-Kent Plaza will be torn down. The area that is remaining will be refurbished and there will be a mixture of housing styles, both town-home style and cottage-style units. The preliminary site plans we have seen are really outstanding and have much more of a village neighborhood feel. It's certainly not a large apartment complex similar to things that we already have in this city.
My hope and what I anticipate is that later this spring we will be able to get those plans submitted and approved and then preliminary site work and preparation on the site can begin this year.
It's a very unique project for Stow. There is nothing within the city that compares to what is being proposed. I think it is something that the entire city will really embrace and really feel very good about. It has been a long time coming. Stow-Kent has been mostly vacant for more than a decade and so this will really be a significant improvement to the city.
Q: What one thing that people don't know about Stow?
A: I don't know that people outside of our community necessarily know how diverse our community is. We really have a great range of housing stock at all price points available. We have many families who have different backgrounds who live in our community.
We also have a really diverse business sector. We have everything from large, industrial manufacturing firms, to service industry companies, to unique retail operations, as well as, some big box retailers that other area communities like Kent and Hudson maybe don't have. So they come to Stow to take advantage of those things like the Targets and the Wal-Mart.
I think diversity is something that is really reflected in our citizenry and in our business community. When I talk to people who don't live in Stow. I often find that they are not aware of how many facets of our community exist.
Also, Drew also mentioned how people may perceive the size of the city.
People are often not aware of how large our community actually is. We are the third largest city in Summit County. Akron, is the largest, then Cuyahoga Falls, which is larger than Stow by about 15,000 people. So, I jokingly say our city motto should be: 'Stow, we are bigger than you think.'