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Government & Politics

New Economic Development Project Highlights Summit Executive's Annual Report

Redevelopment of the former Austen BioInnovation Institute into the new world headquarters for the Smithers Group laboratory testing companies was among the announcements Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro made at her annual state of the county address.

Shapiro outlined the county’s progress over the past year for more than 900 attendees at the John S. Knight Center.

She pointed to Elevate Greater Akron, a plan launched last year to drive opportunity across the region, as a factor in the county’s economic development efforts.

Among them is the $17 million Smithers world headquarters planned for 47 North Main Street, a high profile property adjacent to Akron Public Schools new headquarters.  The project is a collaboration involving the city,  the  county and several large  anchor institutions.

Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro 2019 State of Summit County

“It is the embodiment of what we are trying to accomplish with Elevate Greater Akron – helping homegrown companies that specialize in key next generation technologies to stay, grow and create jobs right here in Summit County,” Shapiro said.

In addition, opioid litigation Summit County initiated last year is coming full circle, she said. The litigation was intended to stop opioid manufacturers and distributors, and recover resources to help the county battle the epidemic.

With a trial date set for October 21, Summit and Cuyahoga counties are the lead plaintiffs in what is now multi-district litigation.

“We did not anticipate being selected to carry the torch for hundreds of counties and thousands of communities across the country,” Shapiro said. “However, we have taken the challenge head on and are confident that the information we present will result in these defendants being held responsible for their actions.”

Among initiatives for veterans, Shapiro said a Summit County Veterans Memorial Plaza will be created at the county courthouse, while the county’s first female veterans’ housing unit, the Summit Liberty House, will open next month.

Read the full text of Shapiro's address here: