Rating the Suburbs - Independence

Rob Whitmire, 40
Material research lab technician at DiGeronimo Aggregates LLC
When I first moved up here from Akron three years ago, I lived in Lakewood for six months. Lakewood was OK, but I realized Independence appealed to me a little more.

I grew upon a 200-acre farm, down below New Philadelphia, and this place seems like a more homey, laid-back town.

East of here, I’m not going to say it’s farmland, but there are horses. Wow! I didn’t expect that in the city or corporate limits.

During the day, Rockside Road is justtremendously busy. After 6 o’clock at night, it turns into a ghost town around here.

On the weekends or in the evenings, you can go up to Brecksville Road and Route 21 and practically play ball in the streets. Itreally quiets down.

Haydite is the only thing we make, but it has different uses.

The most common use is to mix with cement. It’s more expensive than limestone or gravel, but it’s a lighter weight.

We mine out gray, raw shale. It’ll go through a rotating kiln that will bake it at 2,000 degrees. After it cools down, they’ll crush it and send it through a series of screens for different sizes.

Oh yeah,the silos.

Some of it goes there, because we have customers who prefer to buy it dry.

The people around here are really nice and down home. When you see them out and about, whether it’s Ace Hardware, McDonald’s, Winking Lizard or the post office, you find that a lot of the residents are more family-oriented.

I first saw the McDonald’s and said, “What in the world?” Who the heck would build a McDonald’s like that? It’s so big and grand, with two floors.

I came to understand there’s an ordinance that if you’re going to build a public or commercial building like that, it has to be structurally made out of brick.

I haven’t seen any of the Cavs players around. I don’t know if they go around and eat lunch or dinner at the sports bars. The Cavs facility is relatively new.
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