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Akron Council addresses missing 19-year-old

5/16/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

DOWNTOWN AKRON — One week after the world heard of the rescue of three women who had been missing for a decade in Cleveland, an Akron mother was invited to speak at Akron City Council’s May 13 meeting.

Tearful and soft-spoken, Carmilla Robinson spoke briefly, saying she doesn’t want to be the only one believing her daughter, 19-year-old Taylor Robinson, who has been missing since early this month, will one day come home.

Akron commission to consider Highland Square grocery plans

DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Akron Planning Commission will see two measures tomorrow, May 17, regarding the planned construction of a grocery store in Highland Square.

The commission will be considering the sale of city-owned property at 825 and 867 W. Market St. to Highland Square Economic Development LLC and will review plans for the Mustard Seed Grocery Store within the Highland Square Urban Renewal Area at 867 W. Market St. at the northeast corner of the intersection of West Market Street and North Portage Path.

According to the agenda for the meeting, the city intends to sell the two parcels of land containing two retail buildings and parking. One of the lots, at 867 W. Market St., is known as Highland Square West and includes a vacant retail building. The other, at 825 W. Market St., is known as Highland Square East and includes the retail building with Chipotle and Wally Waffle, as well as other establishments.

The purchase price would be $5.9 million for both parcels, and FirstMerit Bank, which is located between the two buildings, would donate an approximately 1,085 square-foot parcel, also to facilitate the grocery store. Mustard Seed Grocers then would lease the two parcels — $3.8 million for Highland Square West and $2.1 million for Highland Square East.

The second measure before the Planning Commission is a review of the plans for the grocery store. The Highland Square Urban Renewal Plan requires Planning Commission approval of plans for the development.

According to the agenda for the meeting, the Mustard Seed Grocery Store would contain 16,835 square feet of floor space on two levels and an additional 2,995 square feet of outdoor terrace space. The first level would include retail sales and indoor and outdoor dining, and the second level would consist of a multi-purpose room.

The two-story building would be constructed of brick, steel and glass. According to the agenda, “The Mustard Seed is committed to incorporating sustainable materials in their building as it is recognized for the consumer wellness that it promotes.”

The existing vacant retail building on the site of the new grocery store would be razed, according to the agenda. Seventy-six parking spaces would be available for the grocery store and FirstMerit bank, in addition to street parking.

Public hearings will take place on both pieces at the Planning Commission meeting, which will take place at 9 a.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St.

If approved by the Planning Commission, the sale of land, and possibly the plans, will then go before Akron City Council. Planning Department staff has recommended approval on both measures.

“I don’t want people to let Taylor just be a name in a newspaper and a face on a telephone pole,” she said. “I just hope and pray and ask for any help that anybody can give us.”

According to the Akron Police Department, Taylor Robinson, of East Archwood Avenue, was last seen late May 3 when she was dropped off at a residence in the 700 block of Kipling Avenue for her job as a home health care aide.

She is a black female, 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighing 150 pounds. She was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, gray leggings and a white and black bandana around her head. Her hair was in a ponytail.

Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Taylor Robinson is asked to contact the Akron Police Department Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490 or the Missing Person Unit at 330-375-2530.

Council President Garry Moneypenny (D-Ward 10) said he spoke with the police chief over the weekend and is certain the police department and the FBI are keeping the case at the forefront.

“It’s in all our thoughts,” he said.

Several people spoke about the handling of missing persons cases at the meeting, including Angella Fawn, who said her brother is missing in Florida and that missing persons cases should be weighed differently for those up to age 25, not just for juveniles.

Councilman Michael Williams (D-at large) concurred, saying he has 25-year-old and 22-year-old children, “and no disrespect to anyone in that age group, but they’re still kids.”

Councilwoman Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8) said that to help in the community, “the best thing that we can do is get block watches going.”

She said GASP (Guardians Advocating Child Safety and Protection) will host a National Missing Children’s Day event May 18 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Summit Mall in Fairlawn.

In other business, Council approved a resolution opposing an amendment to the state budget that would prohibit Ohio colleges and universities from charging out-of-state tuition if the institution assists students with voting in Ohio.

Councilwoman Linda Omobien (D-at large), who sponsored the legislation, said the amendment could reduce funding to institutions that provide proof of residency to students from out of state who want to vote in Ohio.

“They have tried to make it easy for students to vote, which is what we should be doing in this country everywhere,” she said.

She called the amendment a “suppressive tactic” that is being utilized in states that are Republican strongholds, because young people tend to vote for Democrats, she said.

“This has no place in the state of Ohio,” she said.

Councilman Jeff Fusco (D-at large) said a state such as Ohio that is concerned about “brain drain” should consider the kind of message this would send to the business community.

“This is voter suppression at its finest,” he said.

The next Akron City Council meeting will take place May 20 at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. in Downtown Akron. Committee meetings are set to begin at 2 p.m. that afternoon, also in Council Chambers.

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