Highland Square development agreement in place
By Stephanie Kist
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron City Council approved three final ordinances pertaining to a development project in Highland Square.
The project will establish a new grocery store, retail center and West Hill Branch Library on the north side of West Market Street in Highland Square.
At the June 5 meeting, council approved the Joint Development Agreement among the city, Albrecht Inc., FirstMerit Bank and the Akron-Summit County Public Library. Council also approved establishment of the Highland Square Public Tax Increment Equivalent Fund, exempting the costs of the public improvements from real property taxation.
Councilman Dan Horrigan (D-Ward
1) said it’s good to
see these final steps falling into place for the project
to get under way.
“We’re ready to move
forward,” he said.
The ordinances were sponsored
by Horrigan and council members Reneé Greene
(D-Ward 4), Bob Keith (D-Ward 8) and John Conti (D-at
Responding to a question from
Keith, representatives from Albrecht Inc., who were
present at the Planning Committee meeting, said the
former Star Market location will be demolished as soon
Council also approved the vacation
of a portion of North Highland Avenue to make way for
the new library, which has been part of the plan.
Council member Michael Williams
(D-at large) abstained from the votes. He is employed
by FirstMerit Bank.
In other business, council’s
Public Service Committee discussed during its afternoon
meeting the changes forthcoming in the city’s
trash pickup program.
Public Works Bureau Manager Paul
Barnett told committee members the new program is slightly
delayed due to objections received after the bid opening
for the manufacture of new trash bins. He said the first
day that city workers will begin distributing new trash
bins to customers will be Aug. 15. That distribution
process will last into the beginning of December because
of the amount of time it takes to manufacture the tens
of thousands of bins required by the city.
“We’re a little bit
delayed, but things are going well so far,” he
He added that about 11,000 of
the city’s about 66,000 trash customers have signed
up for the recycling program, which will save them $2
per month. Also, about 700 customers requested an additional
trash bin, and about 20 requested additional recycling
Signing up for recycling is an
ongoing process with no deadline.
Barnett added the new trucks
are already being manufactured and will begin arriving
shortly. As the new carts are implemented, the new trucks,
which sport an automated arm for emptying the trash
bins, will be put into
use, as well.
The applicable rate changes will
take effect Sept. 1, Barnett said.
Also at the meeting, council
approved the sale of the city’s Fire Station No.
1 for $1 to the Akron Bar Association, which plans to
invest $2 million to preserve and redevelop the historic
building. The city’s contribution to the project,
including the value of the land, is about $800,000,
Council also approved tax increment
financing for that project.
Also at the meeting, council:
set a public hearing for
June 12 on a request to permit an internally illuminated
ground sign on the property of Woodland United Methodist
Church at 444 N. Hawkins Ave.;
approved a contract with
the Akron Symphony Orchestra to provide outdoor concerts,
including the annual July 4 concert, in the city throughout
the summer [see
related story on Page
agreed to apply for a
juvenile court grant to supplement the Juvenile Diversion
Program for nonviolent first-time misdemeanor offenders;
approved the issuance
and sale of $12 million in bonds to fund capital projects
and the refinancing of $25 million in previous bonds,
which will not extend the term.
The next regular Akron City Council
meeting will take place June 12 at 7 p.m. in City Council
chambers on the third floor of the municipal building,
166 S. High St. Committee meetings are scheduled to
begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in council chambers.