Monday, July 17, 2017: So that EA’s staff members are on top of the latest information on Cleveland/Akron to share with recruits and newcomers, we meet with local community leaders several times a month. They provide us with guided tours of neighborhoods, schools, museums, and attractions. This gives us the chance get a deep dive into a place so we are ready for the dozens of questions our clients toss at us on a typical EA orientation day.
Last week, we explored Solon, a Cleveland suburb in the southeast corner of Cuyahoga County, well known for its excellent school system, easy access to CLE (just 25 min from downtown), and low taxes (due to a vibrant business district). It is almost always on the radar of those relocating to Northeast Ohio.
First, most newcomers pronounce the name of this town incorrectly, so we’ll tell you how to say it like a native: SOH-Lin (named after Lorenzo Solon Bull who was the son of one of Solon’s first settlers back in the 1800’s – notice they chose his middle name, and we can’t blame them).
Our Solon Guide was Peggy Weil Dorfman, the city’s Economic Development Manager, who first pointed out the Solon Center for the Arts, one of the oldest buildings in the city. We were aboard our favorite local mode of transportation (Lolly the Trolley), Who doesn’t feel happier when they see a bright red trolley with the driver ringing the bell? It’s contagious – like seeing a VW Bug and feeling the need to wave!
A few things we learned…
The City of Solon began as a parcel of the Connecticut Western Reserve and was settled by sea captain Jason Robbins and merchant Isaac “Samuel” Bull in 1820. Some of the city’s history has been preserved. You can still see many of Solon’s original school houses (even one where US President James A. Garfield was a teacher!). The city owns two historical buildings: the Bull House and the Disciple Church, where President Garfield was a preacher prior to becoming president. The church is now the home of the Solon Historical Society. Solon also offers a cute historical business district.
Today, Solon is a culturally diverse, family-friendly city that is also very business friendly. The median income is $95,000. The population is a little north of 23,000 residents, and housing options include older, smaller homes at the center of town, cluster home developments, and larger developments with one to five acre lots. Senior living is available at Carrington Courts and the Woods of Solon Pointe. The city currently does not have many apartments or night life options that would appeal to Millennials, so it tends to attract families and empty nesters. An upscale apartment development on the ballot recently did not pass, but new apartments could happen in the future. Here is a zoning map to give you a sense of how the city is laid out to accommodate its residents and its businesses. The map will also give you an idea of how the city balances residential, industrial, and green spaces.
Solon’s government, schools, and businesses are interconnected. The government actively works to ensure that the community’s business base is healthy, which creates tax dollars which are then put to good use at the schools.
Local industry is this city’s bread and butter. Solon is home to over 800 businesses. 75% of Solon’s city budget comes from the taxes paid to the city by its industrial residents, which include: Swagelok, Nestlé, CVS Caremark, ERICO International, and Tarkett. Here’s a list of Solon’s largest employers.
Solon City Schools are consistently ranked amongst the best in Ohio. And, the Solon students earned Ohio’s best state achievement report card for both 2015 and 2016. Solon has one high school, two middle schools, three elementary schools, and one preschool. Click here for some more of the school system’s stats.
Solon also has a variety of daycare options with some of them even offering discounts to employees of certain businesses so check with your employer!
Outside of work and school, the city offers lots to do…
On our tour, we made a stop at the Solon Community Center, a facility that includes indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, a jogging track, meeting and banquet rooms, an aerobics studio, a weight room, and a rock climbing wall. The community center is open to both residents and employees of Solon-based companies.
Solon has a few park and recreation options, including Community Park and Timberlake Park. It is also home to part of the South Chagrin Reservation, which is part of Cleveland’s famous ‘Emerald Necklace’ (the Cleveland Metroparks’ extensive system of nature preserves). Solon has a public golf course, Grantwood Golf Course, and two private options: Signature of Solon Country Club and Hawthorne Valley Golf Club.
Available retail stores are not a big regional draw but do provide Solon’s residents and businesses with plentiful shopping. There are three major shopping centers: Solon Village, Solon Square Shopping Center, and Uptown Solon. The city is working with property owners to redevelop other, smaller shopping centers built in the 1960s and is encouraging Western Reserve architecture. Big box retail can be found in nearby Bainbridge Township or Macedonia.
Solon has a few fine dining options, including: Harvest Kitchen & Lounge, Swirl Wine Bar, and Burntwood Tavern.
If Solon is interesting to you, check out their Home Days this weekend, July 28th through the 30th. It’s a family-oriented, weekend long party with contests, events, and a parade.
For your health…
While there is no hospital in Solon, they do have offices for the Cleveland Clinic, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, and University Hospitals. St. Vincent also offers urgent care services. UH’s Ahuja Hospital and the Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital are both 15 minutes away. The city is serviced by three fire stations as well.
We hope this information is helpful to your company and its recruits and new hires! Do you and your company need help recruiting and retaining top talent to Northeast Ohio? EA can introduce your recruits and new hires to Cleveland, Akron, or Canton and help them see NEO as home. Call us at 216.231.9311.