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Portage County News Archive

Project partners celebrated the completion of major restoration work on an unnamed tributary of Tinkers Creek in Hudson. The restored 2,000-foot stream near Hudson High School will improve water quality and reduce flooding, while serving as a living lab for students.

In Portage County, the City of Aurora will receive $4.7 million through the state's Water Resource Restoration Sponsor Program to restore and protect more than a mile of the Aurora branch of the Chagrin River. The City will purchase 186 acres of the Aurora Golf Club to restore stream banks, forested areas, and wetlands.

Bainbridge Township and the City of Aurora have resumed talks about a proposed JEDD for the Marketplace shopping center. For the first several years, 80% of the proceeds would go to the developer. Talks about the proposal were revived last year.

Update: the Aurora Advocate has more information.

Bike Cleveland hired Jacob VanSickle as the organization's first executive director. Meanwhile, AMATS issued a draft of its its bike plan (PDF) for Portage and Summit counties, and will hold public meetings on February 13 and 14.

Update: the Plain Dealer reported on Jacob VanSickle's new position.

The Ohio EPA awarded 10 grants through its Section 319 program to help communities address nonpoint source pollution. The $2.8 million in grants included a $184,429 grant (PDF) to Mayfield Village for the Chagrin River watershed, a $478,075 grant (PDF) to the City of Aurora for the Upper Aurora Branch of the Chagrin River, a $169,000 grant (PDF) to the Medina County Park District for the Chippewa Lake watershed, and a $57,078 grant (PDF) to Bath Township for the Yellow Creek watershed.

The agency also declared that brownfield remediation has been completed (PDF) at the Steel Slitting site on Aetna Road in Slavic Village, and issued a covenant not to sue.

Update: the Sun Messenger has more details about the grant received by Mayfield Village.

The Bainbridge Township Trustees continue to discuss producing a plan for the 600-acre former Geauga Lake property. The Township Zoning Commission is preparing to draft an RFQ for a planning consultant.

Dan Bobkoff of Changing Gears looked at how Streetsboro plans to use form-based zoning to shift from typical exurban development patterns and create a mixed-use town center. The City is working with McKenna Associates to rewrite its zoning code.

Best Buy plans to build a 368,060-square-foot distribution center in Streetsboro. The Streetsboro Board of Education approved an eight-year, 100% tax abatement for the development. Payroll processing company Paychex intends to consolidate its offices in Warrensville Heights and Green at a new site in Boston Heights. The Village and the Hudson School District approved a 10-year, 100% tax abatement.

Update: Best Buy is moving its operations from Glenwillow.

The Bainbridge Township trustees say that they would like to cooperate with Aurora leaders to develop a plan for the redevelopment of the 500-acre Geauga Lake site.

Members of the Bainbridge Township Trustees assert the need to be proactive and develop a plan for the former Geauga Lake property. The amusement park closed in 2007.

Update: Bainbridge leaders hope to coordinate their planning efforts with those of Aurora.

Wingfoot Lake State Park, Ohio's newest state park, will open to the public on August 27. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife purchased the park and lake in Portage County's Suffield Township from Goodyear for $3.2 million in June 2009.

Kent State University recently opened a canoe and kayak livery on the Cuyahoga River. The livery in Kent is the second on the Cuyahoga, joining Camp Hi in Hiram.

Streetsboro City Council unanimously voted to adopt a new master plan. It was prepared by Bird Houk Collaborative over a 10-month period.

Transportation Outlook, the new 20-year regional transportation plan released by AMATS, employs (PDF) a fix-it-first approach for the Akron area's transportation network. NOACA does not have a similar policy.

The Akron Beacon Journal has more details about the dispute in Summit County about NEORSD's proposed stormwater management program. In neighboring Portage County, Aurora leaders are considering a stormwater fee.

Over 500 acres of the Geauga Lake property are still for sale, although Cedar Fair officials say that the company has not recently received offers for the land. A Bainbridge Township trustee wants to develop a plan for the area.

A Bainbridge Township Trustee said that the Township would be willing to reconsider the proposed JEDD for the Marketplace at Four Corners area, if the City of Aurora will pay the entire $1.2 million sought by the McGill Property Group.

Update: Aurora leaders remain interested in the JEDD.

The historic Singletary House in Streetsboro was moved to a new foundation on Tuesday.

A town hall meeting about the Big Dipper will be held on April 25 at the VFW hall in Aurora. Organizers say that the event will celebrate the history of the roller coaster and explore options for preserving it.

Aurora City Council voted to begin a "meaningful dialogue" about the proposed Aurora-Bainbridge JEDD, but the Bainbridge Township Trustees rejected the proposal by a vote of 2-1.

As part of their proposal to create an Aurora-Bainbridge Township JEDD, officials with shopping center developers McGill Property Group are seeking $600,000 from Bainbridge Township and $600,000 from the City of Aurora.

GreenCityBlueLake's Marc Lefkowitz notes that the recently-released draft of the AMATS regional transportation plan makes no mention of climate change. He then names some areas where the plan could address the issue.

The Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization appointed Maia Peck as its first watershed coordinator for the Middle Cuyahoga River. She will advocate for and build partnerships around a 12-mile stretch of the Cuyahoga River and its tributaries in Summit, Portage, and Stark counties.

The transportation portion of Governor Strickland's budget proposal includes tolls for new road construction, support for commuter rail, and new funding mechanisms for road improvements, among other items. Meanwhile, AMATS unveiled a draft of its Transportation Outlook (PDF) for Summit and Portage counties. It will be open for public comment (PDF) through February 27.

The McGill Property Group wants the Bainbridge-Solon JEDD to be expanded to include the company's Shops at Marketplace development in Bainbridge. The JEDD currently encompasses McGill's Marketplace North center.

Update: McGill also proposed establishing a new Aurora-Bainbridge JEDD.

A USGS study of Tinkers Creek and its tributaries detected "a total of 12 antibiotic, 20 pharmaceutical, 41 wastewater, and 22 hydrophobic compounds" in the water at one or more sites. It did not identify whether their presence poses a threat to plants, wildlife, or humans. Further testing is planned.

Wal-Mart donated $65,000 to the Streetsboro Heritage Foundation for the construction of a new foundation for the historic Singletary House. The contribution will ensure the survival of the 1828 house.

The Jacobs Group is under contract to purchase 30 acres of the 540-acre Geauga Lake site from Cedar Fair. The property is in Bainbridge Township, and the company intends develop it as big box retail.

Update: the Aurora Advocate has more information.

The Ethicurean summarized the the inaugural Northeast Ohio Food Congress, saying that it "offered a feast of possibilities, and there were plenty of ideas left over to take home and share."

Update: the Plain Dealer and GreenCityBlueLake also have reports on the event.

Election recap

Issue 2 (Clean Ohio renewal): passed
Issue 3 (water rights amendment): passed

Issue 14 (Pilgrim Inn zoning overlay): passed

Broadview Heights
Issues 15-16, 20-25 (rezonings): passed
Issues 17-19 (Zoning Board of Appeals changes): passed

Chagrin Falls
Issue 32 (Architectural Review Board changes): passed

Highland Heights
Issue 63 (development in parks): passed

Issue 83 (hazardous storage buffer): passed

Pepper Pike
Issue 86 (sign regulations): passed
Issue 87 (police station rezoning): passed

Issue 103 (O-2 district changes): passed
Issue 105 (retail rezoning): passed

South Euclid
Issue 106 (remove point-of-sale inspections): passed

Tri-City Joint Recreation District
Issue 136 (1 mill levy): failed

Issue 10 (retail rezoning): passed

Portage County
Issue 10 (Park District levy): failed

Issues 32-35 (zoning code changes): passed

For more results, visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Openers, or the Sun News.

Tuesday's election will include the following issues in Cuyahoga County communities:

In neighboring counties, the issues include:

The first Northeast Ohio Food Congress will be held at Hiram College on November 7-8. It will feature "contemporary local perspectives, informative presentations, tasty local eats, and inspiring field trips." The registration deadline is November 5.

The historic Singletary House in Streetsboro is again threatened. In 2006, the house was moved from its second location to make room for a Wal-Mart, but a new foundation was never built. The Streetsboro Heritage Foundation needs $51,600 to complete the work.

Cedar Fair may postpone the sale of large portions of the former Geauga Lake site because the company feels that the offers for the land are too low. The delay could provide more time for the roller coaster enthusiasts seeking to preserve the Big Dipper.

The Streetsboro Master Plan Commission recommended selecting Bird Houk Collaborative of Gahanna to prepare the City's new master plan. The firm proposed a five phase process that would take ten months to complete.

The Streetsboro Master Plan Commission is scheduled to recommend a firm to prepare a new master plan on August 14. The selection also requires City Council approval.

The Geauga County Historical Society is working to save some of the historic structures at Geauga Lake by relocating them to its Century Village in Burton.

Six firms submitted proposals for the preparation of a new master plan for the City of Streetsboro. The City's process for selecting a firm has not been finalized.

Cedar Fair is in negotiations with three companies for the sale of the former Geauga Lake site. They reached an agreement with an unidentified buyer for Geauga Lake Hotel and the 11 acres that surround it. Another company is interested in building retail on 100 acres on the west end of the property, and a third wants to build housing on 440 acres between the other two areas. Meanwhile, roller coaster enthusiasts are pessimistic about the future of the historic Big Dipper.

Portage County residents will vote on a 0.5-mill levy for Portage Park District operations. Voters have turned down levy requests four times in the past 12 years. The group Citizens for Portage Parks supports the levy request.

The City of Streetsboro hired Jeff Pritchard as the city's new planning director. He was previously the director of planning and community development for the City of Norton.

The landmark Big Dipper roller coaster was tentatively sold to an undisclosed buyer at the Geauga Lake auction today. The purchaser intends to move it to an as-yet unannounced location and reassemble it "not as a ride, but as a nostalgia piece."

Streetsboro City Council unanimously voted to remove recently-appointed Planning Director Patrick Christie-Mizell because of complications with his availability.

Four local developers submitted bids for the purchase of the former Geauga Lake site in Geauga and Portage Counties. The companies are interested in developing the 500 acre property as a mixed-use development.

Patrick Christie-Mizzell, formerly of the Clark Metro Development Corporation is the new planning director in Streetsboro. He is succeeding Linda Kovacs, who left last year.

The Chagrin River Watershed Partners, Geauga County Planning Commission, and the Geauga Soil and Water Conservation District are evaluating the soil, stormwater runoff, and wetlands at the former Geauga Lake site in Bainbridge and Aurora.

While cleanup efforts have resolved most point source pollution problems facing the upper Cuyahoga River, nonpoint source pollution and combined sewer overflows continue to be a challenge to improving water quality. On Thursday evening, the Ohio EPA will hold a public meeting about the possible impacts of a proposed water treatment plant in Mantua.

With the appointments to the Streetsboro Master Plan Commission nearly complete, the City is expected to soon issue an RFP for the preparation of a new master plan. Streetsboro voters approved the Commission's creation in November.

While Cedar Fair markets the 500 acre Geauga Lake site, a group of roller coaster enthusiasts is continuing its efforts to preserve a portion of the closed amusement park and the Big Dipper roller coaster.

The Aurora Planning Commission has been categorizing the recommendations identified in the City's draft master plan, and will prioritize them at its next meeting. Streetsboro officials are not satisfied with proposals from consultants to prepare a new master plan, and may issue a new RFP.

The City of Brooklyn created a new part-time position for an economic development director. In Streetsboro, Planning Director Linda Kovacs will have to step down because she does not meet new job qualifications recently approved by voters in a charter amendment.

The Aurora Planning Commission will take a few months to refine the City's draft master plan. Municipal officials hope the Planning Commission will complete its work by February 1.

A group of roller coaster enthusiasts hopes to preserve the historic Big Dipper at Geauga Lake as the centerpiece of a redevelopment of the former amusement park. The park's wooden roller coaters were recently listed for sale.

(Update: The Aurora Advocate has more details.)

Election recap

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
Issue 14 (renewal levy): passed

Tri-City Joint Recreation District
Issue 19 (Berea): passed
Issue 27 (Brook Park): passed

Broadview Heights
Issue 26 (retail rezoning): passed

Highland Heights
Issue 61 (rezoning): passed

Seven Hills
Issue 76 (Rockside Terrace rezoning): passed

Issue 80 (Lutheran Home rezoning): passed
Issue 81 (Crocker Park rezoning): passed

Issue 35 (rec center/stadium tax): passed

Charter Amendment 1 (eliminate planning director): passed

Issue 23 (establish planning department): passed
Issue 25 (establish Master Plan Review Commission): passed

Boston Heights
Issue 51 (retail rezoning): failed
Issue 52 (permit big box retail): failed

Issue 50 (zoning code changes): failed

For complete Cuyahoga County results, visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections or

John Debo, Superintendent of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, says that the biggest problems the park faces are "flooding, flooding, and flooding." Increased runoff from recent exurban development in communities surrounding the Park has worsened the problem. In response, the Park has begun working with the communities to improve their stormwater management techniques.

AMATS published its 2030 Future Highway Congestion Study (PDF, 20.9 MB), which features traffic projections through 2030. It anticipates that traffic congestion in the Akron area will increase, but at a slower rate than the national average.

If passed, Issue 25 in Streetsboro will establish a master plan review commission. The City may hire McKenna Associates to update its master plan.

Streetsboro voters will have the opportunity to vote on Issue 23 on November 6. The issue would officially establish the planning department in the city charter.

Members of the Aurora Planning Commission have begun to review a draft of the City's new master plan. They are scheduled to discuss the plan at their November 7 meeting.

At its final meeting, the Aurora Master Plan Review Commission approved a set of recommendations that include developing a sidewalk plan, establishing an economic development department, and implementing a streetscape project. The draft master plan will now go before the Aurora Planning Commission.

Some analysts say that Cedar Fair's decision to close Geauga Lake can be attributed to the company's dismantling of the marine park.

The City of Aurora and Portage County reached a water distribution and no poaching agreement with the City of Cleveland.

(Update: WKSU and WCPN have more details.)

The Aurora Master Plan Review Commission is finalizing an executive summary of the new city master plan. The Commission is expected to approve the plan at its September 25 meeting and forward the plan to the City's Planning Commission.

The Aurora Master Plan Review Commission is expected to complete its work within the next few weeks. The Aurora Planning Commission and City Council will review the draft master plan this fall.

Under a new agreement, the City of Cleveland Division of Water will supply water to the City of Aurora, beginning in about two years. Aurora currently gets its water from wells in Shalersville Township.

The Aurora Master Plan Review Commission is seeking public input on the plan. The panel is scheduled to receive a first draft of the plan at their July 24 meeting.

A forum titled "Partnering to Preserve Farmland in Hiram Township with Transfer of Development Rights" will be held tomorrow at the Hiram College Kennedy Center Ballroom from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Portage Park District has begun developing a countywide parks, trails, and greenways plan. The $65,000 plan will take about a year to complete. Seven public meetings will be held to collect public input.

A report by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Ohio EPA, to be released later this year or in early 2008, may answer some questions regarding unhealthy fish populations in upstream Tinkers Creek. The questions involve levels of turbidity, as well as the presence and effect of pharmaceutical products in the stream.

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