Copley Township's lawyer in the Copley v. Fairlawn Rothrock Road closure trial called forth witnesses Monday who said closing the road could be life-threatening.
Attorney Irv Sugerman led Monday's trial by first calling forward Pat Laube, a resident at Copley Place, which is on Rothrock Road. Laube brought with her seven residents who all signed an affidavit saying closing Rothrock is an inconvenience and a safety hazard.
Laube has lived in Copley Place for four years.
"Copley Place is very beautiful," Laube said. "There are about 132 residents and it's a lovely place to live because we are a big family. But I'm concerned for my family."
Copley Place is an independent senior living community that does not provide medical services to residents, Laube said. The average age is 84.
"There are quite a few residents there with health problems," Laube said. "Some of them have caregivers who are always coming in and out of there."
At 85, Laube still drives and gets out quite often.
"I go to the post office, stores in Copley, and anywhere I can go," Laube said.
Sugerman asked Laube if she ever travels to downtown Akron, and he asked her the quickest way to get there.
"Yes, I come to visit someone at the hospital and I usually use the expressway," Laube said. "I take Sawgrass Road to Cleveland-Massillon Road then the highway."
Laube said barricading Rothrock Road would wreak havoc in the area in terms of traffic and the quickest way to get places. She also doesn't see why Walmart needs to move when they're in a good location now in Rosemont Commons.
"I'm not in favor of closing a road permanently because I don't think there's a right reason for it," Laube said. "I cannot see a real good reason why any road should be closed unless there is a bridge out. There's going to be a lot more traffic on Cleveland-Massillon Road."
Sugerman then called Copley Place Manager Ken Cochrane to the stand. Sugerman asked Cochrane to share Copley Place's position on the new / complex.
"We are Switzerland," Cochrane said. "That's their business and we run our business."
Sugerman then asked for Copley Place's position on the barricading of Rothrock Road, which Fairlawn officials want to block using water-filled plastic barriers.
"We would prefer that not to happen," Cochrane said. "Based on the number of residents we have that are active, Rothrock is easy access to (Interstate) 77 south. Plus we also have life safety issues. That's a big concern to us."
When he was cross examined by Fairlawn attorney Marshal Pitchford, Cochrane admitted he hadn't asked anyone whether response times for emergency vehicles would increase. He also said he didn't know the distance between Copley Place and Copley Station 1, Copley Station 2 or All three can respond if there is an emergency, Pitchford said.
"I didn't investigate any changes in response time, I just heard EMS people say it would going to be an inconvenience," Cochrane said. "It was just a general conversation about the whole thing and about not being in favor of the closure."
Cochrane also said no one from Fairlawn has approached Copley Place to see if anyone had questions.
The trial will continue today at 9:30 a.m.