Green City Council considers CAB site
By Maria Lindsay
GREEN — A city of Green Central Administration Building (CAB) was pitted against subsidized senior housing as Green City Council members continued to fight over a 9-acre parcel located at the back of Town Park Center on Massillon Road at Council’s Feb. 27 meeting.
Council is reviewing legislation to award a $200,000 contract to Hasenstab Architects that would finish preliminary plans for a $5 million, 32,000-square-foot city building to consolidate city services from three buildings into one.
Four Council members — Dave France (Ward 2), Bruce Manwaring (at large), Susan Ridgeway (Ward 3) and Lynda Smole (at large) — want to place the CAB on the Town Park Center site.
“Three separate buildings is not an efficient way to operate,” Manwaring said. “There are also space constraints to providing for growing service needs.”
France reported that city officials first made a commitment to locate the CAB in Town Park Center in 1998.
“We are at the point to take this on and do it economically,” France said. “We have the property, and the infrastructure is there.”
Three Council members — Christine Croce (Ward 4), Jim Colopy (Ward 1) and Andy Padrutt (at large) — want to use the site for a second senior housing complex and move the CAB to the east side of Massillon Road to spur economic development on a 190-acre parcel owned by the DeHoff Development Co. The three have sponsored legislation proposing to use the Town Park Center site for senior housing and a veterans’ memorial park, and directing the mayor to pursue funding options to pay for those plans.
“Affordable senior housing is a better use of the land,” Padrutt said. “The city is cramped, but it runs just fine.”
Padrutt argued the first subsidized
senior housing facility
— the Retirement Residence of Green, located on
the southwest corner of Town Park Center — opened
in Green in 2004 and already has a waiting list.
According to city officials,
$365,000 was spent to purchase the land and another
$200,000 to develop infrastructure to support the facility.
Both Summit County and the Akron Metropolitan Housing
Authority donated $350,000 for the project. The city
then leased the property to developer Tony Rodrigues,
of Rodrigues and Associates, for $1 annually. Rodrigues
received $3.5 million in tax credits from the state
and federal governments, allowing Testa Builders to
build the four-story, 58-unit apartment complex.
According to managers of the
facility, there is a two-year waiting list for the residence,
but the list includes senior citizens from all over
the county because state law prohibits officials from
using the facility just for Green senior citizens.
Ridgeway supported the need for
more senior housing but suggested city officials consider
the Spring Hill property (located at Boettler and South
Arlington roads) for more senior housing instead, to
provide a quieter atmosphere than the retail center
and a proposed skate park at Town Park Center could
The CAB debate also focused on
the economics of the proposal.
Manwaring questioned whether
locating the CAB on the east side of Massillon Road
would jump-start development on the 190-acre parcel.
“We put $7 million into
Spring Hill and that has yet to spur any economic development,”
A city building also would reduce
tax increment finance (TIF) payments that city officials
could collect from the property because government buildings
are not subject to TIFs, according to Manwaring.
Green Planning Director Wayne Wiethe
said moving the CAB to a similar 9-acre parcel across
the street would cost about $900,000 for the property.
City officials also would have to pay for the road,
as well as water and sewer lines to the building.
Colopy argued a CAB building
is not the best use of the Town Park Center property.
Croce asked Council members to
consider the repercussions of the Hasenstab legislation.
“This would commit the
city to the Town Park Center property, or cost the city
more if they change their minds,” Croce said.
“Let’s take some time on this.”
Manwaring agreed that there is
no “sense of urgency” on the project, but
stressed, “the timing is right.”
France supported that stance,
stating the city put the project on hold in 1998 to
address other needs, such as senior housing, traffic
congestion, a new school, storm sewer improvements and
a second fire station.
Dennis Check, a principal architect
with Hasenstab, and author of the plans, stood by the
Check has reviewed the preliminary
plans in preparation of proceeding with the next phase
of development — designing the interior.
“This building is still
appropriate,” he said. “It is aesthetically
pleasing and sits well on the site.”
Wiethe explained after the meeting
that the new CAB does contain room for growth, both
inside the building and for additional wings.
Residents adjacent to the property
also attended the meeting to weigh in on the plan to
begin construction on the CAB.
“We trusted Council eight
years ago on a plan for the CAB that addressed our concerns,”
said Terry Walton, of Highpoint Drive. “Selling
the property or doing something else with it frightens
Green City Council could
vote on the Hasenstab legislation at the March 13 meeting.
In other business, Council approved
having a public auction
to dispose of unneeded city equipment and property;
increasing the contract
amount for the Liberty Green sanitary sewer project
by $25,000 to $245,000 (originally at $137,000, then
creating a part-time position
(up to 30 hours per week) of a recreation assistant
to oversee recreational activities and events, at a
pay rate of $10.50 per hour;
awarding a contract of
$252,022 to Wenger Excavation to construct a road connecting
Town Park Center to Steese Road; and
authorizing the mayor
to file for grant assistance for the recycling center.
The next Council meeting is scheduled
for March 13 at 4:30 p.m. for committee meetings and
7 p.m. for the regular meeting in the Legislative Offices,
1900 Steese Road.