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Falls drafts deal for development of Menards

7/17/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

At the July 14 meeting, Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters encouraged Council members to nail down a deal with a national hardware chain store before Council’s August recess.

Walters told Council his office will supply all information necessary to secure a location in the city for Menards Inc.

He added Council is welcome to take all the time needed to decide on the measure, but he would like to move forward with an official agreement with Menards as soon as possible.

“There is a lot going on behind the scenes,” he said.

An ordinance was introduced during the meeting that would authorize the city to gain ownership of the Mill Pond Property, consisting of approximately 24 acres off Graham Road, from First Akron Development Corp. According to the legislation, the city would purchase the property to protect open space and create recreational and storm water management opportunities. In exchange, Menards Inc. would create 140 new job and employment opportunities in the city and invest about $8.5 million in land and building improvements at the site of the Graham Road Giant Eagle, which soon will be moving to the Portage Crossing development in progress on State Road, the proposed ordinance states.

Walters said specific details on the drafted agreement will be discussed publicly during the July 21 Public Affairs Committee meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St.

Also during the regular meeting, Council approved the repair of the Bailey Road Bridge over state Route 8 by the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).

City Engineer Tony Demasi said the bridge was damaged May 22 as a result of an accident. He explained a tractor trailer carrying construction equipment hit the underside of the bridge, negatively impacting the quality of five steel beams.

Demasi said the bridge immediately was closed after the accident, inspected by ODOT personnel and deemed safe for the time being.

He added the repairs should be made soon, however, according to ODOT.

Demasi said ODOT needed the city’s consent to go out for bids soon so the needed repairs could be made in August. He added the roadwork will take place evenings, as it did shortly after another accident involving the bridge in 2011.

Demasi told Council he is unsure why the bridge, built in 1968, has been damaged in two accidents in the last few years. He explained the bridge has a clearance of 14 feet, 9 inches, so is a foot higher than the minimum clearance.

Also at the meeting, Council unanimously agreed to reinstate a four-way stoplight at Second Street and Chestnut Boulevard.

Councilman Vic Pallotta (R-Ward 3) said the measure was approved to decrease the number of accidents that have taken place at the intersection since the light was removed two years ago and replaced with a two-way stop with a flashing light.

He thanked Council President Mary Ellen Pyke (Ward 2) for her passion to see the intersection made safer for motorists, despite the expense that comes with maintaining a stoplight at the location.

Additionally, Council decided to send a measure back to the Planning and Zoning Committee so it could be discussed further at its meeting July 21.

Councilman Terry Mader (R-Ward 8) said a representative of the McDonalds Real Estate Corp. will be present July 21 to discuss pending legislation that would authorize an encroachment permit to McDonalds for the purpose of constructing and maintaining a business identification sign in a portion of the Graham Road Circle right of way.

Before the meeting’s close, Council decided to further discuss a measure at the July 21 Public Affairs Committee meeting that would allow for the city to obtain proposals for energy efficiency programs.

Council will hold the committee meetings July 21 and discuss new and pending legislation and a regular meeting July 28, both beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium.

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