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Falls Council continues to mull Menards deal

7/31/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

An agreement to locate a home improvement store in place of a soon-to-be vacant building in Cuyahoga Falls was not voted on by Cuyahoga Falls City Council at the July 28 meeting.

Council held a Public Affairs Committee meeting during the regular meeting to further consider spending $600,000 for 24 acres of land for the redevelopment of Menards Inc. at the present location of Giant Eagle on Graham Road.

The Graham Road Giant Eagle will close when a new Giant Eagle Market District opens in the Portage Crossing retail development, now under construction at State Road and Portage Trail, city officials have said.

If approved, the legislation would authorize the purchase of the Mill Pond property, owned by First Akron Development Corp., to help bring the hardware chain to the city by the spring of 2016.

Pending legislation states the city would not only purchase the property to assist the redevelopment of Menards, but to protect open space and create recreational and storm water management opportunities.

Also, Menards would create 140 new jobs, which would yield about $50,000 in annual income tax for the city, and invest about $8.5 million in the land and construct a new store at the site, the ordinance states.

After a lengthy discussion, the Public Affairs Committee agreed not to bring the issue out for vote during the regular Council meeting.

Council President Mary Ellen Pyke (R-Ward 2) said changes recently made to language in the ordinance should be further reviewed by all members of Council.

Falls Law Director Russ Balthis explained the language still is being worked out primarily to ensure the proper preservation of the pond and open space area, especially for recreational activities.

“I am uncomfortable voting if the language is not certain,” said Councilman Paul Colavecchio (D-Ward 5).

Public Affairs Committee Chairman Vic Pallotta (R-Ward 3) announced the committee will meet, despite the scheduled August recess, to further review the ordinance Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at The Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St.

Pyke said Council also will meet Aug. 11, following the committee meeting, most likely to vote on the final draft of the legislation.

Also during the regular meeting, Council approved the following:

  • an ordinance providing for the issuance and sale of notes in the aggregate principal amount of $500,000 in anticipation of the issuance of bonds, for the purpose of paying costs of widening State Road from Graham Road to Quick Road by constructing sidewalks, bike lanes, curbs, storm water management improvements, signalization, street lighting and other improvements;
  • an ordinance authorizing a contract without competitive bidding with AT&T for special phone circuits;
  • an ordinance authorizing a contract without competitive bidding with Siemens Industry Inc. for the purchase and installation of equipment for an upgrade project for use by the Electric Department;
  • an ordinance authorizing an encroachment permit to McDonald’s Real Estate Co. to construct and maintain a business identification sign in a portion of a Graham Road Circle right of way;
  • an ordinance authorizing a contract for an energy efficiency program; and
  • an ordinance establishing compensation levels for nonbargaining full-time employees of the city for calendar years 2014 and 2015.

Council additionally held an executive session, for about 20 minutes, to discuss pending litigation.

Council will hold the next regular committee meetings Sept. 2 and a regular meeting Sept. 8, both beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium.

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