August 29, 2014

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Second councilman enters Avon mayoral race

AVON — It’s now a two-man race for the mayor’s job.

Ward

Kevin M. Ward, who is in his second term representing the city’s 3rd Ward on Avon City Council, announced his candidacy Thursday, two days after 1st Ward Councilman Bryan Jensen was the first to announce his entry into the race.

A Cleveland native and seven-year resident of Avon, Ward, 44, said he wants to apply his business skills and experience to the task of running the city, which is expected to keep growing.

“We absolutely will grow in the next few years,” Ward said Thursday. “Developers are looking right now to build more homes.”

“Jim (outgoing Mayor Smith) did a great job with the city managing its growth, and we need to carry that on,” Ward said.
Ward works as a management consultant providing assistance to businesses looking to modernize operations while making them more productive.

“I want to manage that continued growth,” Ward said, adding that the newly opened Nagel Road interchange is poised to “expand tremendously” the amount of business and commercial growth in town within the next few years.

“All those things are going to be exciting, and I want to be part of that,” Ward said.

Avon was one of the state’s fastest-growing cities over the past decade, having nearly doubled in population from 11,446 in 2000 to 21,193 in 2010.

In a prepared statement, Ward said, “I will support utilizing our limited resources to … upgrade and maintain our city’s infrastructure and the delivery of our basic services.”

Ward added that he believes one of city government’s most vital functions is to “make starting and running a business an easy administrative process,” while balancing the needs of the business community with those of residents.

If elected, Ward said another major task he would manage is the replacement of a number of city officials expected to retire over the next few years.

“We have a lot of very good people retiring, and we will need to replace those quality people and all that experience,” Ward said.

A member of Council’s Finance Committee, Ward has also chaired the Parks and Recreation Committee.

An accounting graduate of Cleveland State University, Ward received a master’s degree in business administration from Boston University.

A member of the Army Reserves at age 17, Ward became a commissioned officer in 1990. During five years of service, he was stationed in Germany, deployed to Somalia during Operation Restore Hope and attained the rank of captain.

Ward and his wife, Karen, have been married for 25 years, and have three children, Kevin Jr., 15, Brittney, 13, and Ryan, 10.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.