Mayor Timothy J. DeGeeter Reveals Vision For Parma With State Of The City Address
In his sixth State of the City address on February 28, Mayor Tim DeGeeter highlighted Parma's neighborhoods, recreation opportunities, and businesses. During his speech at the General Motors Parma Metal Center, DeGeeter also unveiled plans to create a police bike patrol to enhance community policing. He opened his speech recalling that in December he was at the factory when it was announced GM planned to invest $218 million into the factory. "I don't know who was more energized – the employees or me," he said. "This major commitment secures the plant's future in Parma – so critical for the workers employed here and crucial for our city and Northeast Ohio." He also likened GM's revival since the recession to how Parma has been recovering in the aftermath of the worst economy since the Great Depression. "Parma, too, has come a long way since then as we've faced up to our challenges," DeGeeter said. "All of us – together – have confronted the effects of the recession, the near collapse of the housing market, and the millions upon millions of dollars we've lost through state funding cuts." He said he believed there was renewed confidence in Parma's future. "Perhaps that confidence in our future – that pride of place – is best encapsulated by the slogan, 'This is Parma,'" he said. DeGeeter said the city has embraced the slogan, which was formulated by a Parma-based young professionals group formed in the summer.
Using the phrase as a jumping off point, DeGeeter focused his speech on the positive developments occurring throughout the city that make Parma an attractive place to live and work. "The Parma we know – and the one people are rediscovering – is home to strong neighborhoods that reflect our ethnic diversity in a way that honors our old-world roots while being very much in the present," DeGeeter said. He said the latest trends in development indicate that people want to live in unique, affordable, and walkable neighborhoods. "We have that in Parma," DeGeeter said. " It's a source of strength for us – and a foundation upon which we can build."
In the speech, the mayor also touted the $95 million redevelopment of The Shoppes at Parma and how it has become a cornerstone for the city's emerging "Town Center" concept – a vision incorporating, among other attractions, the nearby Cuyahoga County Public Library branch, University Hospitals Parma Medical Center, Anthony C. Zielinski Park, Byers Field, and the Day Drive Corridor. "When The Shoppes at Parma officially has its opening this summer, it'll mark the rebirth of a shopping center that could've been another in a long line of dead malls in Northeast Ohio," DeGeeter said. "Instead, it's a natural cornerstone for our Town Center." Parma's new splash pad – scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend in Anthony C. Zielinski Park – also is part of the vision in not only attracting visitors to the town center area, but to give residents another family-friendly option for recreational activities in the city. DeGeeter described the construction of the splash pad as "one of the biggest projects" the city has "taken on in years." "You only have drive down Ridgewood to the see the amount of construction work that has been done to get it ready," he said.
DeGeeter in his remarks also touted the recreational opportunities that could result from the city's collaboration with the West Creek Conservancy to acquire, preserve, and repurpose 80 acres of property at Parmadale. "It would be the most significant undertaking in 20 years since the reservation's creation," he said. "The project would increase the park's size to more than 500 acres, and add an exciting dynamic to West Creek as it will integrate natural resource preservation, habitat restoration, and recreation activities – all in the heart of Parma."
In his address, DeGeeter also highlighted Parma's commitment to public safety as a crucial factor in the community's quality of life. "Our officers truly believe in community policing," he said. "The creation of the first bike patrol in the police department's history underscores that commitment." The bike patrol will launch after the beginning of May and will focus on business districts throughout the city, DeGeeter said.