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Falls Council OKs contract to bring Menards to Graham Road

8/14/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

Cuyahoga Falls residents have been fixated on pending plans to bring a home improvement center to the community, said Council President Mary Ellen Pyke (R-Ward 2).

Those plans were given Council’s seal of approval at a special Council meeting Aug. 11.

The Council meeting followed a Public Affairs Committee meeting called to further discuss the legislation that approves spending about $600,000 to redevelop 24 acres of land for Menards Inc. at the current location of Giant Eagle on Graham Road.

The legislation unanimously adopted by Council authorizes the purchase of the Mill Pond property, owned by First Akron Development Corp., to help bring the hardware chain to the city.

Menards has been a hot topic in the city this summer, Pyke said.

She asked Tom O’Neil, spokesman for Menards, who attended the meeting, “Do you know how excited the community is to have your store here?”

“It is nice to be wanted,” he said.

O’Neil said Menards is seen by shoppers as a “destination retailer,” thus the new location would attract visitors from all around the city.

According to O’Neil, Menards Inc. wanted to come to Cuyahoga Falls sooner, but previous plans fell through.

“We made our best effort to be part of the Portage Crossing project,” O’Neil explained. “This is perhaps an even better fit, though.”

City officials have explained the proper space needed in Portage Crossing, a retail development now under construction on State Road, could not be secured for Menards.

Councilwoman Carol Klinger (R-at large) told O’Neil that Menards will find “success” on Graham Road.

“This is a perfect match for the community,” she said.

“I just want to thank you,” Councilman Paul Colavecchio (D-Ward 5) said to O’Neil. “It is a wonderful store.”

O’Neil said Menards soon would start the engineering design work for the new store that most likely would open the summer of 2016.

Mayor Don Walters said it took numerous entities coming together to secure the deal that would bring 40 new full-time jobs and 80 part-time jobs to the city.

“This is a huge development for that corridor,” he said.

Walters, who took over the mayor’s office in January, said the administration worked to “resurrect” plans to bring Menards to town.

“This really is a win-win,” he said.

According to the approved legislation, the city is buying the property not only to attract Menards, but also to protect open space and create recreational and storm water management opportunities.

Fred Guerra, Cuyahoga Falls planning director, said a portion of the property will used for the development of a greenway and floodway, which will include trails for use by the community.

The current Giant Eagle on the property will close when a new Giant Eagle Market District opens in the Portage Crossing development.

Council will remain in summer recess and hold committee meetings Sept. 2 and a regular meeting Sept. 8, both beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium, 2345 Fourth St.

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