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Recalling Eaton property dispute

8/27/2009 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

This rendering of the Cedarwood Corporate Center shows Ghent Road to the south and Smith Road to the east. The proposed corporate park included three buildings, a large water feature, landscaping and plenty of parking.
Editor’s note: The following article — reprinted from the March 8, 1988, West Side Leader — offers a glimpse into Bath’s past. The corporate center developed by The Cedarwood Cos. at the corner of Ghent and Smith roads is the current site of Sterling Inc.’s expanded operations and the former site of FirstEnergy Corp. In early 2007, FirstEnergy agreed to sell its 86,000-square-foot, four-story office building on Ghent Road to Sterling so that Sterling could expand and create additional jobs.FirstEnergy subsequently expanded its West Akron campus on White Pond Drive.

The announcement last week that The Cedarwood Companies will develop a $40 million office park on the Eaton property might recall to some Fairlawn and Bath residents a battle that took place approximately 15 years ago in regards to the land. At that time, the Eaton family had similar plans to develop their land which begins at the corner of Smith and Ghent Rd. and runs east of Ghent toward Bath — over 35 acres. The Eaton family sought to have the land annexed to Fairlawn.

Bath fought the move and the county supported the township. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court which upheld the Eatons. All that was needed was an o.k. from Fairlawn Council. It all came down to a tense meeting in Fairlawn with a standing room only crowd when the annexation was voted down. Eventually, the Bath Township land was annexed to Akron.

A few years after the Eaton annexation to Fairlawn dispute, Fairlawn was instrumental in voting down the widening of Smith Rd. This was another heated controversy in the city. Now the developers are saying in a news release issued last week, that Smith Rd. will be widened to permit easier left turns from an exit to the office park on Smith. (Two other exits are planned on Ghent Rd.) Further, the news release from Cedarwood indicated that Smith Rd. will also be vertically realigned for better traffic flow and improved clear sight distance. Last year plans were announced that Smith Rd. would be widened from Revere to the Valley.

The Cedarwood Companies have been the developers of numerous other projects in the Akron area, Canton, Parma, etc. Best known in the West Akron area are the apartment complex of Cedarwood Village, Liberty Commons and Liberty Commons Office Park, all in the Valley. There are also the residential Lake of the Woods and Eagles Chase condominiums on Smith Rd.

Cedarwood Corporate Center

The site plan [shown at right] shows the projected $40 million office park to be built by The Cedarwood Companies on the Eaton property in northwest Akron. The building to the left will be the Sterling, Inc. corporate headquarters. The other two buildings will be built to suit future tenants. Cedarwood expects to break ground this spring with occupancy to follow early in 1989. The Cedarwood Corporate Center will include a rooftop helicopter pad, also a restaurant and separate coffee shop, lounge areas and an exercise facility for its employees.

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