Streetsboro councilman Kocisko advocates for continuation of Streetsboro Family Days on his last day of service

Streetsboro City Council met for its regular session Monday. Those in attendance (left to right) included Council at Large Justin Ring, Council at Large Chuck Kocisko, Ward 2 Councilman Anthony Lombardo, Council at Large Jon Hannan, Council Clerk Caroline Kremer, Ward 3 Councilwoman Jen Wagner and Ward 1 Councilman Mike Lampa. Finance Director Jenny Esarey and Director of Parks and Recreation Greg Mytinger attended the session virtually over Zoom. Ward 4 Council Woman Julie Field was not in attendance.

Streetsboro Council at Large Chuck Kocisko used his last day in his position to advise his council members to purchase or build a stage for the continuation of the city’s annual Family Days event at the city council’s Monday meeting

Kocisko founded Streetsboro Family Days in 2002 to provide free music concerts for Streetsboro residents, funded by donations from local businesses, nonprofit organizations and residents, according to the program’s website

“There’s a lot of people that do depend on Streetsboro Family Days, for candidates, not just families with the children, but there’s businesses that do depend on it,” Kocisko said. “But Family Days will be just in the history of Streetsboro if we don’t get a stage to work off.” 

The council at large went on to say he’d brought up the topic in prior meetings, but they did not yet make a decision.

Council at Large Justin Ring agreed the city should invest some funds into Family Days, since it’s a common practice within most other city councils to offer some financial contribution to community engagement events. 

“I’ve always been of the mind that the city should contribute something to Family Days every year,” said Council at Large Justin Ring. “I don’t mind the city contributing to the event because it does bring the community together.”

However, Ring, along with Ward 1 councilman Mike Lampa, said he’d support the purchase of a stage in some form, so long as it was more cost effective than renting, could be used for other community events and contributed to Family Days becoming a more self-sustaining program. 

“I wouldn’t be opposed to that idea if that stage could be built for the same amount of money that we would be paying in two years to rent it,” Ring said. “Say it costs $18,000 over two years just to rent the stage, but we could build one that’s serviceable for that same amount of money, I’d rather do that and own it anyway.” 

“It makes sense to me to buy a stage out right,” Lampa added, “However, I don’t want to say we’re just buying this for Family Days. I would like to see other [events] happen on that portable stage as well.”

The investment in a stage may also be questionable if there are no future prospects for Family Days becoming a self-sustaining event that can operate without city intervention, Ring said.

“This isn’t anything against your Family Days, Chuck, … but I almost felt like you’re holding the city hostage [as if] Family Days is going to be canceled if we don’t do this,” Ring said. “That may be a reality, but I don’t know that that’s the city’s fault or responsibility. So I don’t like being put in this position where it looks like we’re being the bad guy.”

Kuscisko said he was not trying to pin blame on the city, but urged council to approve the purchase to ensure the continuation of the event after he steps down from council.

“I’m not trying to put the city against family days and vice versa,” he said. “If we have no way of putting a stage in the park — if we don’t have a stage to perform entertainment on and the only entertainment going to be by the new amphitheater, there is no way we’re going to exist.”

The topic arose during the discussion of the fourth item on the council’s agenda, which relates to the city’s contract with The Thrasher Group Inc. for the construction of the Streetsboro amphitheater. Greg Mytinger, Director of Parks and Recreation, said the project would cost  $49,990 maximum, on top of the approximate $20,000 already paid to Thrasher Group for the project’s conceptual plans.

Several council members expressed frustration after The Thrasher Group failed to provide part of the quote and provided the council with inaccurate estimates for the cost of the project at its Nov. 8 meeting.

“[When] we chose this group, one of the main reasons was because of the pricing, and now it’s going to cost significantly more than what the other group had quoted us,” Ring said. “It was a little bit just a little disappointing that [Thrasher Group] got this bid on numbers that were wildly inaccurate.”

Finance Director Jenny Eseray, who’s time on the council also came to an end at the Monday meeting, said the city does not have the funds necessary in the budget to find the project without the approval of a budget amendment. 

“There is not enough money in the line item to cover this,” Eseray said. “We only have about $28,000 in account for 401325714, so if the council would like to forward … we would also have to include a budget amendment for the difference in order to accommodate this expenditure.”

Kocisko concurred that the error was frustrating and should’ve been addressed before the documents were sent to the council.

“That kind of bothers me a little bit,” he said. “This gentleman apparently is no longer with the company that made the error,” he said “I just questioned the person that was above him that didn’t go back and check his figures before it was submitted to council.”

The council approved the adoption of plans to fund the construction project along with an amendment to further discuss the purchase of a cost-effective portable stage.

During the Mayor’s report, Mayor Glenn Broska moved to reinstate Matt Bross as Board of Zoning and Appeals at Large and Brian Pearson as Civil Service Commissioner both for full terms.

The council also discussed and approved the:

  • Purchase of BS&A Water Billing Software to improve water billing efficiency
  • Purchase of an asset management program with Dude Solutions Inc. 
  • Adoption of fiscal year 2022 annual appropriations budget
  • Purchase of an economic development travel line and the changing of the senior center title
  • Payment of $98,016 for police training programs through the Lexipol Subscription for Law Enforcement Policy Manual
  • New Metro Swat contract agreement for new board members
  • Annual contract with Portage County for Indigent Defendants 
  • Payment of Streetsboro shares of Ohio Department of Transportation projects
  • Donation of $50,000 to the Heritage Foundation for the Bicentennial Committee 
  • Transfer of $100,000 to the Shelly Settlement Water Reserve

Streetsboro resident Alicia McClaine-Verner visited the council with her dog Gizmo to thank the council and the Streetsboro Fire Department for rescuing Gizmo from a house fire on Flora Drive the week prior. McClaine-Verner was not president when the fire occured on Nov. 16, but according to a Streetsboro Fire Department Facebook post, the fire was ruled as an accident, caused by “a spilled combustible liquid in the garage during a maintenance procedure,” according to the post.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, “the male homeowner advised crews their dog was still in the house, and a team was sent in to search for the canine,” the post stated. “After searching the interior of the home, finding the dog and gaining its trust, a Streetsboro Firefighter was able to grab the dog and get him safely outside and reunited with his family.”

“If not  for the brave men with the Streetsboro Fire Department rushing in to save him, Gizmo would not be here,” she said. “Words cannot express my gratitude for these heroes and their bravery. … They’re just phenomenal and I’ll be grateful to them for the rest of my life.”

The fire started in the garage and spread to the main and upper level of the home, according to the post. Initial damage estimates are approximately $25,000.

The meeting concluded with closing remarks from Broska and the city council members, all of whom wished those in attendance a safe and happy Thanksgiving and thanked Esarey and Kusicko for their time serving on the council.

“I would like to thank Jenny for her eight years of service to the city .. and to wish her luck at this new endeavor,” Broska said. “Chuck, … thank you for your service to us on all the different boards and commissions and things you’ve done for the city.”

Kocisko thanked his colleagues for serving with him on the council and commended incoming council at large Steve Micniak for stepping into the role.

“Steve Michniak is going to make a hell of a difference when he gets up here,” Kocisko said. “You’re going to enjoy him. He knows a lot.”