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Federal funding paving way for apartment development

4/11/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

Cuyahoga Fall City Council approved this year’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) annual action plan at the April 8 meeting, but the decision was not unanimous due a specific portion of the proposal.

Councilwoman Carol Klinger (R-at large) and Mary Ellen Pyke (R-Ward 2) voted “no” — in a 9-2 vote — citing discomfort with using federal dollars to aid in the development of a “luxury” 208-loft apartment complex.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the CDBG program “works to ensure decent affordable housing, to provide services to the most vulnerable in communities and to create jobs through the expansion and retention of businesses.”

City reports show Cuyahoga Falls is in the last year of a five-year CDBG program and has used the funding in the past to benefit low to moderate-income community members and address blighted areas of the city.

The approved action plan reflects about $275,000 of the funding would be used to help construct a public road — at the request of the developer — leading into an $18 million apartment facility, complete with retail space. City officials said the development is proposed for the corner of State and Bath roads.

The project, known as French Mill Run, would be an attractive addition to the community and create about 10 new jobs, according to city officials.

The action plan shows about $223,000 of funds would be used to address housing issues; $275,000 for the roadway for French Mill Run; and $146,000 for administrative costs.

Also during the meeting, Council approved the preliminary plat of the Boulder Estates Subdivision, Phase 3, located in the Northampton Planning District and situated west of State Road at Seasons Road, and a contract, without competitive bidding, with the Valley Fire District for the sale of a fire truck no longer needed by the city.

Council also introduced numerous pieces of new legislation at the April 8 meeting:

  • an ordinance approving the site plan related to the construction of a 15,000-square-foot storage building for the city Fire Department at 2580 Bailey Road;
  • a resolution urging Congress to support and maintain the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds under the Internal Revenue Code;
  • an ordinance to assign a newly classified position — assistant street and sanitation superintendent — to an established pay rate;
  • an ordinance designating two time-limited parking spaces (15 minutes) in the curb lane on the west side of Front Street, in front of the Watermark Development;
  • an ordinance authorizing the sale of a 1996 Freightliner fire engine no longer needed for any municipal purpose to Drive Team Inc.; and
  • an ordinance authorizing the application and acceptance of a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to conduct an urban tree canopy assessment and associated tree planting.

Council will hold its next committee meetings April 15 and a regular meeting April 22, both beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St.

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