Mentor – The City of Mentor and dozens of hotels and motels in and surrounding the city are happy with the selection of Mentor as host of the 2017 USA Hockey High School National Championships.
The March 30 to April 2 championships were announced by City Manager Kenneth Filipiak during a Feb. 27 State of the City luncheon at the LaMalfa center, hosted by the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Every hotel in our community is booked, and they're (USA Hockey) looking for space beyond our borders,” said Filipiak, who added more than 6,000 people are anticipated to attend the four-day event.
The Mentor Civic Arena was chosen as the site for the championships by the Cleveland Suburban Hockey League, the organization chosen by USA Hockey to host the event, according to the USA Hockey website.
The website also states that accommodations for each team at the national championships must be at three-star motels/hotel or better.
Mentor is among about a dozens cities across the county, each of which has been chosen to host different kinds of USA Hockey championships. Other host cities include Scottsdale, Az.; Pittsburgh, Pa., San Jose, Ca.; Lansing, Mich; and Coral Springs, Fl.
In addition to high school hockey, other cities will host championships for young hockey players, including teenage girls and young women, ice hockey players and recreational hockey teams for adult men and women.
The revenue generated by the local hockey championships is an example of the reputation the city is building for itself as a place where people can enjoy themselves, Filipiak said.
“We cannot be happier and more excited to have secured this event, as it offers a great opportunity for the arena to show teams from across the country, as well as USA Hockey and what it has to offer with regard to managing such a high profile event as this one,” Ice Arena Manager Bill Furman said in a separate interview.
The high school hockey championships are co-hosted by Gilmore Academy in Gates Mills, where some teams will play, Furman said.
Thirty-two champion teams from across the nation will compete in the championships, although the names of teams and the communities they hail from have not yet been announced.
“This is the sort of thing that brings national attention to Mentor,” said Filipiak.
But, so will the return of SuperBoat Grand Prix July 22-23, just days before the start of CityFest, Aug. 25-26.
Last year's speedboat race along Headlands Beach drew thousands of people and was the start of what will become an annual event benefiting hotels/motels, restaurants and other Mentor area businesses.
Among the highlights of Filipiak's address was the outlook for continuing economic development in the city.
Among this year's anticipated projects is the formal announcement of plans for a major new shopping complex at the intersection of Center Street (state Route 615) and Tyler Boulevard by the Visconsi Companies, Ltd., a Pepper Pike development firm.
Plans for the shopping center have been on the city's radar for some time. Although plans remain conceptual, they require the demolition of all businesses presently located along the west side of Center Street between the Route 2 exit ramp and Tyler Boulevard.
Visconsi has purchased the land, city officials report.
Formal announcement of Visconsi’s plans is expected this year, Filipiak said.
Among the affected businesses to be demolished is Mold Masters International, although it and the city will benefit from the company's decision to build a new 43,000-square-foot plant further west off Tyler at 7500 Clover Ave.
The proposed $4.5 million project will generate an additional $4.2 million in annual income for the city, Filipiak said.
Another industrial project is the relocation of De Nora Tech from Chardon to a 130,000-square-foot manufacturing facility to be completed in 2018 and located on a side street off of Tyler Boulevard. Along with the move will come global manufacturer's 165 employees’ jobs.
But, the city manager said the city also is making a concerted effort to attract new business. Last year, the city initiated “Mentor Means Business,” an aggressive TV, Internet and local bus advertising campaign that initially ran during the Republican National Convention.
Mentor was the only city to run a campaign aimed at businessmen attending the convention, Filipiak said.
Another campaign is aimed at persuading the city's more than 100 local manufacturers to put a “Made in Mentor Ohio” stickers on their products.
And, city leaders will soon be flying to Europe to solicit international business at an international trade exposition in Hanover, Germany, while also traveling elsewhere in Europe and Britain for the same reason, Filipiak added.
Hopefully, one or more of the business ventures will bring more work, jobs and revenue to the city, he added.
A flurry of home construction in Mentor also was discussed by Filipiak.
A total of 128 single-family homes were built last year, the most in more than a decade, and more are expected to be erected this year, including those for Village on Maple, Presley Way and other subdivisions.
The improving economy and demand for new and existing homes resulted in a 17 percent increase in local homes sales prices between late 2015 to late 2016, he said.
At the conclusion of his address, Filipiak said he believes “Mentor is meeting the expectations of our residents and that the state of the city remains strong.”