As we move closer to the end of the year and the leaves begin their beautiful fall display, we also move closer to the end of my tenure as Mayor of this wonderful community. It has been an honor and privilege to serve the residents and businesses of Avon Lake for the past 12 years. During this time, the community has seen tremendous change.
Over 600 single family dwellings have been built since 2012, adding more than 3,000 residents to the community. Not only did the City see an increase in population, but economic development in the area experienced growth as well. It’s hard to believe that in 2011, Ford employed just 400 workers at the Ohio Assembly Plant, and there were rumors it would be closing. But thanks to the commitment of Ford, the leadership of the UAW, and state and local governments, the number of employees has grown steadily over the years as new vehicle lines were introduced. In the summer of 2022, Ford announced a $1.5 billion expansion, which would add an additional 1,800 workers to the 1,771 currently employed there.
With time comes change. In March 2022, the GenOn power plant closed. The behemoth that dominated the Avon Lake skyline for almost 100 years is currently undergoing demolition. The City doesn’t own the property, but our goal is to help steer its future and increase access to Lake Erie as this rare lakefront site undergoes transformation.
In 2018, Avon Lake commemorated its bicentennial with a year-long celebration filled with festivities to help residents of all ages learn about the City’s extraordinary past, while making a few memories of their own. It was truly an event worthy of such a monumental achievement!
As my final months as Mayor wind down, I would like to thank everyone who has made my time here so rewarding. I leave with 38 years of fond memories of working with City Council, who have helped the City grow in a responsible manner. I would also like to thank all the individuals who have served on Boards and Commissions over the years and worked diligently to shape Avon Lake into the vibrant community it is today. And finally, I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of city employees who work tirelessly to make Avon Lake a wonderful place to live and work.
It has been an honor to have served you all. Without the encouragement and advice of my wife and children, it would not have been possible. I am blessed.
Gregory J. Zilka
Mayor, City of Avon Lake