Robotics Team Goes to City Council

City Honors Students
Posted on 05/25/2018
Image of Robotics Honors at City Council(as reported by Cassaundra Smith, akron.com/West Side Leader)

Akron City Council honored several Akron Public Schools (APS) student groups during the May 21 meeting.
Honored were students who participate in the Firestone Community Learning Center (CLC) and the Litchfield CLC robotics teams.

According to the proclamation, the Firestone CLC robotics club consists of 40 students assembled into six competitive teams, all of which qualified for the state championshipand two of which qualified for the world tournament. Councilwoman Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8) pointed out the program is fairly new and catching on, after it began with adviser Dan Spak recruiting some students who were interested in robotics a few years ago.

“I became familiar with their team because a proud parent called me and said, ‘You can’t believe what this robotics team has done,’” Keith said.

According to the proclamation, the Litchfield CLC robotics team is the first competitive middle school robotics team in the APS District. In its first year, the student team qualified for the state and world tournaments as well. Jeff Whited heads up the team.

“This is no longer just a male sport, engineering,” Keith said. “I counted six girls in the high school and I believe three in the middle school who are here tonight, so way to go ladies; way to go gentlemen. I wish you, as I’m sure all of Council does, the best in years yet to come. Thank you for representing not only the Akron Public Schools but the City of Akron at world tournaments. That’s very impressive.”

Council also read a proclamation honoring Buchtel CLC middle school students involved in Business Professionals of America. Eighth-grader Gage Shaffer and seventh-grader Yi’la Boswell advanced to the national leadership conference in Dallas held earlier in May.

The two students are first-place state level winners in their respective categories. At the national competition, Shaffer finished in the top 10 in prepared speech, and Boswell placed 13th in keyboard production, according to adviser Desiree Reynolds.

Also during the meeting, Council passed a resolution approving and confirming the appointments of Director of Planning and Urban Development Jason Segedy, Director of Public Service John Moore, Councilman Rich Swirsky (D-Ward 1), Councilwoman Veronica Sims (D-at large), David Celik, Curtis Minter and Donna Delgado to the Complete, Livable and Green Streets Advisory Commission. Included in the commission with the city officials and Council members are members of the general public who reside in Akron, according to James Hardy, chief of staff.
Delgado is the senior marketing manager at Summa Health System and will bring to the table a large employer perspective, Hardy said.

“One of the big things that we hear about a lot when we’re talking with a company that’s either here or thinking about coming to Akron is about mobility,” he said. “Their employees, especially the younger talent that they’re trying to attract or retain, are looking for multiple modalities, not just their vehicle, but also public transit, pedestrian access, as well as bicycle infrastructure, so we wanted to make sure we had representation from a large employer, so we think that this is a very balanced group.”

Council began discussion and approved an ordinance on the matter last year, with city officials noting the complete, livable and green approach benefits the community in many ways: It helps to address storm water; can make streets safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers; and is aesthetically pleasing. The ordinance allowed for the creation of the commission.

“This commission will guide a network of livable and green streets, it will provide safe and desirable travel for all users, not only for motorists, but for pedestrians and bicyclists, and at the same time it will complement the green infrastructure practices that our waterways renewed program has already had and incorporate the best practices from around the country,” Swirsky said.

Council also continued its discussion on the proposed Vacant Building Registration (VBR) program. Council heard from Summit County Land Bank Executive Director Patrick Bravo on how the VBR program and land bank could complement and partner with one another.

The proposed law presented May 7 would require owners of vacant commercial or industrial buildings to register with the city, keep the properties secure and well-lit, and submit a plan to either rent, sell, renovate or demolish the structure within one year, city officials said. Registration would be due within 60 calendar days of a property becoming vacant, and the proposed annual registration fee is $400 per year, with a proposed late fee of $50 per day up to a maximum of $1,000. All funds collected under this new law would be used to maintain the VBR program and help cover the cost of demolishing properties that are beyond repair while the city pursues payment from the property owner, said officials.

While Bravo pointed out the land bank has received more than $11 million in state and federal funds to address abandoned, vacant and blighted property, these have all been residential properties. Securing state and federal funds to address commercial and industrial buildings has not been successful, he said.

Council members continue to mull adopting a definition for nuisance property. Swirsky also said he would like to make sure the city is doing all it can to reuse buildings, if possible.

“One of the things I think this ordinance helps accomplish is identification,” Bravo said. “We all know that there are abandoned vacant commercial and industrial properties out there, but starting to get a handle on identifying them and documenting them and keeping a good registry goes a long way toward us then being able to partner together to figure out whether or not there’s a reuse of it … or whether it needs demolished, so I think identification and registration is important to begin with.”

Councilman Jeff Fusco (D-at large) asked Council members to reach out to him with further comments about the VBR program, since Council will not meet Monday, May 28, because of Memorial Day.

Council will next meet June 4 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. Committees are set to meet beginning at 1:30 p.m., also in Chambers.

Image of Akron City Council honored several Akron Public Schools (APS) student groups during the May 21 meeting. Honored were students who participate in the Firestone Community Learning Center (CLC) and the Litchfield CLC robotics teams. Image of Robotics Honors at City Council
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