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Issue Date: June 2009


Rating the Suburbs - Avon Lake

Jan VanWagner, 70
Co-host of local access cable television show
We’re not exactly on the beaten path. For industry, it’s not good. For us, that’s probably just fine.

I think
we have about 12 or 14 percent green space. I don’t think you can ask for much more than that.

We don’t
have mountains, we don’t have surf, we don’t have beaches — we don’t have a lot of things. But we have lovely parks, and we have great diversification in housing developments, so you don’t see one style of house on three streets. I think we have a beautiful community.

We have
the finest water in the world, or at least in Ohio. Waterworks is an interesting place to go see how the water is processed. Just don’t go on a hot day. A lot of what you want to see is outside on top of a white painted roof. If it’s 100 degrees, you’re like a fried egg by the time you come down.

People used
to think we were rich. We had very low taxes because we had so much industry. Now our balance of taxpayer dollars has shifted. We don’t have near the industry we once had.

Our city government is very conscious of its spending. They’ll say, “We can’t afford this,” even though we may have a couple of bucks in the bank. I think their conservative outlook in this difficult time is to be greatly admired.

I’ve always felt
the Save the Woods job was a God job. There were approximately 160 to 180 acres of wooded land in the middle of Avon Lake, and it was eyed by developers and partially owned by a developer. We decided that instead of letting the developers develop it, we wanted to save it for a park.

We collected
6,000 signatures in two months, we did major fundraisers, we did public awareness — generally a pain in everyone’s neck for five years to make sure that everyone knew what we were doing.

How many
people have the opportunity to live their life and, at the end of their life, say they’ve given something back to their community that will stay forever? This property is protected. No one can come in and do anything. What a beautiful gift, and what a privilege to be part of it.

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