AVON, OH (WOIO) - At a time when many cities are on on the road to recovery, you might say Avon is in the fast lane, and Mayor Bryan Jensen is on the ride of his life. He's quick to give credit to his predecessor, Mayor James Smith, who he said laid the groundwork for success.
"He kind of built the house, and I get to go in and do the decorations and decorate that," said Jensen with a smile.
The decorations come in the form of millions of dollars in new investment, new infrastructure and new amenities for residents.
In just one decade, a city that was dotted for decades by family farms and a lovely antiques district now seems to have hit suburbanite gold.
The population of Avon went from 11,446, residents in 2000, to 21,193, in 2010, according to the latest census.
Joseph Capucinski's lived in Avon for 25 years.
"The changes are phenomenal. It's just unbelievable. There was a time when you could go down Detroit Road on a tractor, and no one would say anything," described Capucinski.
Boy, are things different now.
The opening of the Nagel Road exit seemed to open the floodgates of business on both sides of I-90 on the east end of the city.
Online satellite images reflect the dramatic changes from 1995 until now.
Avon has top of the line shopping, great restaurants, new hotels, event spaces and the hits just keep on coming. The bones of new business can be seen going up near Interstate 90, and in the residential areas, it seems like developers can't build the houses fast enough.
Those who live in Avon seem to agree, that much of Avon's prescription for success began with the opening of the Cleveland Clinic's family care facility, the Richard E. Jacobs Health Center, located off of Nagel Road.
"When you look at any positive development that goes on, you need that anchor store, and the Clinic has been our anchor store," said Mayor Jensen.
"Visibility and easy access - we wanted our patients to know where they were going, and quite frankly the other thing is the ability to expand. The hospital was not part of the original plan, but we have enough land that we were able to expand," says Dr. Joseph Knapp, the Medical Director for the facility.
The Clinic is now about to open an inpatient hospital, bringing the total number of employees to 1,000.
New tax revenue has made it possible to provide even more for homeowners. But the most important piece of the puzzle - most everyone agrees - is the strong school system.
The Superintendent of Avon Schools, Michael Laub is proud to show off his new 33 million dollar baby, the district's new, state of the art, middle school. He says proper planning has helped keep the quality of education high. The school receives high rankings by the state.
"There isn't an overall report card grade right now. We are ranked in different categories by grade, and we are A's and B's," said Laub.
The school already has room for the just over 5,000 students that are projected to living in Avon, in the next five to seven years.
But even with all of the explosive growth, there are still some local treasures that remain the same, to this day.
Buck's Hardware and Supply, is inside one of the oldest structures in Avon, formerly a town meeting place, according to the Mayor, and has been operating as a hardware store on Detroit Road since 1949.
Frank and Ellie's, a popular local watering hole is practically next door to Buck Hardware, and, according to customers, is still the same place it was back in 1969.
My father came in after being not here for 15-20 years, and he goes, 'the place has not changed one bit. It's stuck in time,'" said Lisa Young, a bartender.
Which is exactly why many say Avon is now booming - they city showcases the best of the old and the new.
"What other place can you drive by and hit a vegetable stand, and then go to Costco?" added Rose Baker, a Howard Hanna Realtor who is having one of her best years yet, thanks to the success of the city that she also happens to call home.