Dr. Carol Novak
Optometrist, North Ridgeville Eye Care
Dr. Carol Novak may be semi-retired, but she is still keeping an eye on the families she has looked after since opening North Ridgeville Eye Care in 1979. She sees patients one day a week and as a substitute.
“I’m now taking care of the kids of the kids I got to know when I launched my practice,” she says. “It’s really nice.”
Novak, who grew up on Cleveland’s West Side, was attracted to all North Ridgeville offered and knew it would be the perfect fit for her business. “The city has everything I look for in a community,” she says. “I’m a real people-person, and I love the fact that North Ridgeville is comprised of a mix of residents — from farmers to white-collar executives.”
Novak is dedicated to North Ridgeville. She’s served on the board of directors for the North Ridgeville Chamber of Commerce; chaired the scholarship committee that presents $1,000 awards to graduating high school seniors; sponsored T-ball, baseball and basketball teams throughout the city; and spearheaded donations of no-longer used eyeglasses for the Lions Club. In addition to receiving a Key to the City from Floyd Peaco, former North Ridgeville mayor, Novak also was awarded the
North Ridgeville Chamber Pride Award twice for renovating existing buildings for use as her office space.
Garden Manager, North Ridgeville Community Garden
For 12 years, North Ridgeville residents have gratefully partaken of the bounty that Leo Hill’s green thumb has helped yield.
The co-founder of the North Ridgeville Community Garden, Hill admits he was never passionate about horticulture. But when a friend told him about the project, Hill offered to lend a hand.
Located on Chestnut Ridge Road across from Alternate State Route 83, the garden covers 2 acres and is comprised of 100 plots measuring 20 feet by 15 feet. For an annual $20 fee, any North Ridgeville resident can grow their own fruits, vegetables and flowers on their individual tracts. Excess produce is donated to North Ridgeville Community Care.
One of three garden managers, Hill volunteers his time rototilling, mowing, watering the plots and getting to know the 100 community gardeners who tend them.
The Vietnam veteran, who served as an Army paratrooper with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, received North Ridgeville’s Golden Kernel Award last year. The annual accolade is presented to residents who have made the city a better place to live.
“The garden means so much to me,” Hill says. “I enjoy seeing moms and dads and their children out there. Learning about nature is a wonderful family activity, and a fantastic social event for seniors.”
Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, Northridge Health Center
Since moving to North Ridgeville five years ago, Heather Johnson has made sure her commitment to the city encompasses all ages and stages of life. As the licensed nursing home administrator at Northridge Health Center, Johnson ensures those receiving rehabilitation, nursing and respite care are treated like family. Her personal touch also extends to the businesses and school communities at large. She is on the Chamber of Commerce board of directors, a member of local civic groups and involved in many school endeavors, including the One Vision, One North Ridgeville initiative.
A member of the city’s branding committee, Johnson offers input about the signage depicting the ambiance the community is known for that will soon be unveiled around town.
“When my husband and I were looking for a new home, we scouted locations and specifically chose North Ridgeville,” Johnson says. “It’s a great small town with a wonderful school system, low tax rates and easy accessibility to highways. I want to be proactive and positive in all that I do to make sure our city remains that way.”