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Summit County News Archive

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Superintendent Stan Austin was promoted to director of the National Park Service's Southeast Region. Cheryl Schreier from the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is serving as acting superintendent.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park received 2,299,722 visits in 2012, keeping it among the nation's most-visited national parks. A National Park Service report said that visitors in 2011 spent $51,473,000 in communities surrounding the park and supported 728 jobs.

An Ohio appeals court overturned a lower court decision and ruled that the City of Munroe Falls cannot enforce some of its ordinances covering oil and gas well drilling, saying that they are preempted by state law. The City plans to appeal the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Construction of the racino at Thistledown racetrack in North Randall is nearing completion. It's scheduled to open this spring, and will feature a 57,000-square-foot gaming floor plus multiple dining and nightlife options. A relocation to the Green area remains a possibility.

In Summit County, construction of the racino at Northfield Park began in January, and its owners submitted a license application to the state. The racino, a partnership between Northfield Park and Hard Rock International, will be called Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park. They expect it will open in December. The work at the two racetracks is part of a statewide trend.

Removal of two Cuyahoga River dams in Cuyahoga Falls is scheduled to begin in June. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the plans in December. The City intended to remove the dams last year, but legal and regulatory issues created delays.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal described the process.

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.

Election recap

This month's election included the following issues (PDF):

In Summit County, Green residents voted to ban casino gambling and horse racing.

Visit the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections for complete results.

The National Park Service announced that environmental remediation of the former Krejci Dump site in Boston Heights has been completed and that its final restoration should be mostly finished before the end of the year. Since work began in 2005, workers have removed about 371,000 tons of contaminated soils from the 46-acre site. The area will be opened to the public next year.

Five northern Summit County communities are considering a settlement with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District about the district's stormwater management program. The City of Hudson and Sagamore Hills Township approved the settlement, but it will not take effect until it's signed by the other three communities. Editorials in the Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal urge the Summit County communities to approve the agreement and encourage a group of Cuyahoga County communities to drop their legal challenge.

Rock Ohio Caesars unveiled plans for an $88 million upgrade of its Thistledown racetrack in North Randall. The company plans to add 1,150 video lottery terminals, a restaurant, two food courts, and a lounge. The Ohio Casino Control Commission approved the financing for the renovations. Company representatives said that they've made no determinations about a possible relocation, and that no decision was imminent.

In Summit County, residents in Green will vote on a charter amendment that would ban gambling in the city. Rock Ohio Caesars has the option to relocate Thistledown to a location within a 12-mile radius of the Akron-Canton Airport in Green. Meanwhile, Northfield Park submitted plans to the Village of Northfield for a 200,000-square-foot expansion of its facilities.

Update: the Plain Dealer described the issues in Green.

Aurora City Council approved a JEDD agreement for the Marketplace at Four Corners development in Bainbridge Township. The Bainbridge Township Trustees approved the agreement in May.

In its trail planning process, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park prepared and considered eight alternatives and selected a preferred alternative. The plan's objective is to balance the needs for active recreation opportunities and environmental stewardship over the next 15 years. The Draft Trail Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement is available online and open to public comment until August 20. The National Park will hold three public meetings in late July.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal published more information about the trail plans and reported on the public meetings.

A group of Summit County residents formed Concerned Citizens Against Casinos to oppose a possible relocation of Thistledown to the area.

A Franklin County judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the installation of slot-like machines at Ohio racetracks, clearing the way for the state's first racino to open at Scioto Downs near Columbus. Rock Ohio Caesars can install up to 2,500 terminals at Thistledown and reached an agreement with the Kasich administration that allows the company to relocate the racetrack. The agreement (PDF) says that the new location must be within a 12-mile radius of the Akron-Canton Airport in Green. Officials in Northfield anticipate a financial windfall from the creation of a racino at Northfield Park.

With the opening of a 0.6-mile section of the Towpath Trail in Barberton, Summit County became the first county to complete its construction of the trail. A variety of events will be held on July 7 to celebrate the milestone (PDF). The City of Akron completed its portion of the construction last year.

The owner of Northfield Park announced plans to partner with Hard Rock International to bring slot machines and related developments to the harness racing track in Summit County. They said that the plan for a $275 million Hard Rock Gaming and Entertainment Facility is unrelated to possible changes to Thistledown, but does depend on the outcome of a lawsuit on the legality of slot machines at racetracks.

Update: the partners unveiled conceptual designs (PDF) for the project, but did not identify a construction start date.

On Thursday, Jeff Finkle, Lee Fisher, and Joe Marinucci participated in a panel discussion, the annual State of Downtown forum at the City Club (MP3, 54.0 MB). They expressed optimism about the future of downtown Cleveland. That morning on WCPN's Sound of Ideas, Joe Calabrese of RTA and Bob Pfaff of Akron METRO talked about public transit in Greater Cleveland.

Update: video of the State of Downtown forum is now online.

In an effort to avoid competing with the downtown Cleveland casino, Rock Ohio Caesars may move Thistledown racetrack from North Randall to the Akron area. A site in Green near the Akron-Canton Airport is a possibility. The Kasich administration is considering the proposal. The company acquired Thistledown in 2010, and last year said there were no plans to move it.

Update: Mayor Norton of Green said that he is not supporting or opposing the project. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that casinos won't "make a significant impact on economic development in the long run".

Property owners in Summit County near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park have been receiving offers for the oil and gas rights from the Utica shale beneath their land.

A report (PDF) from the National Park Service says that in 2010, the 2.5 million visitors to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park spent $54.7 million in and around the park, supporting 829 jobs.

Upgrades to Euclid's sewer system will cost $136 million over a 10- to 15-year period. City Council is reviewing the project. Upgrades are also planned in Akron, and some residents said that the plans place too great a burden on ratepayers.

Update: Euclid City Council unanimously voted to submit project plans to the U.S. EPA for final approval.

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.

A Plain Dealer editorial urges the Cleveland Division of Water and the cities of Macedonia and Westlake to resolve their differences without the cities changing water systems. The paper's Brent Larkin is highly critical of both Mayor Clough and the Division of Water.

Update: officials debated the issues on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

The Plain Dealer summarized the debate about the future of Westlake's water supply. The City is contemplating a switch from the Cleveland Division of Water to the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities.

Update: Macedonia is also considering plans to change water suppliers.

The U.S. EPA approved the City of Akron's revised combined sewer overflow control plan. The plan also needs the approval of the Ohio EPA and a federal judge. The Ohio EPA will hold a public hearing on February 29. The federal judge rejected an earlier version of the plan last year.

The Federal Transit Administration awarded $40.8 million to improve access to the country's national parks, forests and wildlife refuges. The FTA funds will support 58 projects, including $3.2 million for five Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad projects. The largest of the five awards is a $1.4 million grant for a pedestrian bridge across the Cuyahoga River.

Summit County Engineer Al Brubaker is seeking approval from Summit County Council to establish a countywide stormwater utility. Council members will discuss the proposal. Mayor Procop of Twinsburg opposes the proposed program.

Update: the Summit County Engineer's Office described the advantages of the proposed stormwater utility.

Two Summit County brothers turned their 105-acre family farm into wetlands, and recently donated the Panzer Wetland Wildlife Reserve in Copley Township to the University of Akron. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial praised their work.

The City of Cuyahoga Falls is preparing to remove two dams on the Cuyahoga River next year. Removal of the downtown dams is expected to be completed in July or August.

While the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's stormwater management program is in the midst of a lawsuit, the Summit County Engineer's Office proposed the creation of a countywide stormwater management utility. The proposal calls for establishing an impervious surface fee.

The National Park Service completed its purchase of 578 undeveloped acres at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. The transfer to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was facilitated by the Trust for Public Land. An event is planned for Monday.

Update: the Trust for Public Land issued a press release.

Update 2: the Akron Beacon Journal supplied more details. An editorial concluded that "the park has been made stronger with this purchase and the collaboration required to move forward."

The City of Akron opened a half-mile section of the Towpath Trail on Wednesday. It marked the completion of the trail through the City.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "the value of moving forward never has been clearer."

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Superintendent Stan Austin spoke at the Akron Roundtable last week. He talked about the park's assets, plans, and areas for improvement.

The Plain Dealer profiled the couple that operates Brunty Farms in Bath Township, one of the 11 farms in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's Countryside Initiative. The National Park Service is offering two more farms for lease, the Edgar Farm in Valley View and the Holland Farm in Boston Township. Proposals will be accepted until October 3.

The U.S. EPA collected a second set of Cuyahoga River sediment samples from behind the dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. Tests of the sediment are needed to determine the feasibility of removing the dam.

Nineteen Summit County communities have signed the Job Preservation and Revenue Sharing Agreement. The anti-business-poaching initiative began in 2009 with seven communities.

Work on the Cleveland Clinic's $96.3 million Twinsburg Family Health and Surgery Center is almost finished. The 190,000-square-foot facility will open this month.

The City of Cuyahoga Falls is studying the possibility of removing two Cuyahoga River dams. Removal probably would not begin until next year.

The U.S. EPA's research vessel Mudpuppy will return to Northeast Ohio in July to conduct tests on Cuyahoga River sediment behind the dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park and in the old channel of the Cuyahoga River near its mouth in Cleveland.

The Plain Dealer provided updates on the experimental wind turbine initiative at Cleveland State University and the status of trail planning for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

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 National Park Service will use $5.29 million from the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund to complete the second of two land purchases at Blossom Music Center. The 344 acres of forests and meadows will be added to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, along with the 233 acres purchased in March. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says it is "welcome news for all who support and enjoy the Cuyahoga Valley National Park."

A Summit County Court of Common Pleas judge issued an injunction against a company seeking to drill a natural gas well in Munroe Falls. The driller has not applied for municipal approval of roads and other construction associated with the well, and asserts that the only permits required are those from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the "ruling reflects is an effort to find a middle ground before it is too late." Other Northeast Ohio communities are searching for ways to regulate drilling.

The May issue of Cleveland Magazine includes a profile of Cuyahoga Valley National Park Superintendent Stan Austin and a piece by Michael Roberts on the history of downtown Cleveland planning problems.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Pokorny ruled that the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has the authority to implement its stormwater management program, but did not rule on a challenge by several suburban communities. The district filed for a declaratory judgment in January 2010. Judge Pokorny's decision (PDF) removes seven Summit County communities from the program. The Summit County Engineer's Office continues to develop its own stormwater management program.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial encourages communities to work cooperatively instead of through the courts.

In a meeting facilitated by Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald, local mayors met with NEORSD officials to discuss the agency's contentious stormwater management program. Both sides agreed to to participate in mediation.

The Ohio EPA continues to support the removal of the Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. Costs could be as high as $10 million.

U.S. District Judge John Adams rejected the proposed consent decree intended to address Akron's combined sewer overflow issues. A civil trial is now scheduled to begin in his court on May 31. Akron officials say they are "extremely disappointed" and that they will appeal the ruling.

In Greater Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District will hold a series of public meetings about proposed rate increases that would fund work identified in its combined sewer overflow consent decree. The NEORSD Board of Trustees is expected to vote on the changes in June.

Update: Mayor Plusquellic of Akron held a news conference on Friday. The Akron Beacon Journal summarized his remarks.

Update 2: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the judge should have allowed the City of Akron and the U.S. EPA more time to revise the agreement.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park purchased 233 acres in Cuyahoga Falls near Blossom Music Center from the Musical Arts Association for $3.96 million, a transaction facilitated by the Trust for Public Land. The National Park intends to acquire an additional 345 acres at Blossom for $5.29 million. The Musical Arts Association will retain 198 acres for Blossom operations.

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.

On Wednesday's Sound of Ideas program, Ohio Department of Mental Health Director Tracy Plouck defended her decision to abandon plans for a new psychiatric hospital on Euclid Avenue and to close the facility near MetroHealth Medical Center.

The Ohio Department of Mental Health announced that it is dropping its plans to build a new psychiatric hospital on Euclid Avenue and that it will close its facility adjacent to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. The department says that it will save $30 million by instead expanding its Northcoast Behavioral Healthcare campus in Sagamore Hills Township. The City of Cleveland has spent more than $4.1 million on land assembly and environmental cleanup for the planned hospital in Midtown.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal provided more details.

U.S. District Judge John Adams said he has "grave doubts" about the plans to reduce combined sewer overflows in Akron. He is concerned about the timing and lack of certainty, and could reject the proposed settlement between the City and the U.S. EPA. Members of Akron City Council are also unhappy about the consent decree, and an Akron Beacon Journal editorial characterized their reactions as "predictable sticker shock."

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that Judge Adams should allow the agreement to stand.

Summit County Council approved funding for a study of a proposed countywide stormwater management program. The program could be funded by a property tax levy. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the proposal reflects a lack of regional coordination.

Update: Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker responded to the newspaper.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association will change its name to the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park. An official announcement is expected in January.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad expects to serve a record-high 180,000 passengers in 2010. Since 2006, the National Park Service has invested close to $9 million in capital improvements for the railroad.

WKSU's Jeff St. Clair interviewed Stan Austin, the superintendent of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Fairlawn leaders are concerned about plans to build new Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in neighboring Copley Township, and may close two roads in an effort to keep the stores in Fairlawn. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart recently completed a 46,000-square-foot expansion of its Macedonia store, and Giant Eagle hopes to build a 14,184-square-foot expansion of its Brunswick store.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is holding a series of public meetings to explain its plans to address combined sewer overflow problems and the associated rate increases. The first meeting was held on Thursday in South Euclid, and NEORSD tweeted updates from the event. The program, dubbed Project Clean Lake, is facing opposition from Summit County officials. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that the "regional approach makes the most sense."

The new leaders of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Cleveland Metroparks appeared on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program. CVNP Superintendent Stan Austin and Metroparks Director Brian Zimmerman spoke about the future of the parks.

An Akron Beacon Journal article summarized the recent AMATS study on the proposed relocation of the Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in Montrose. An editorial says that "the challenge is for communities to examine together the impact of the proposed move."

The U.S. EPA postponed plans to conduct additional sediment testing behind the Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park, because its research vessel has been occupied with cleanup efforts for the Enbridge oil spill in Michigan. It will not be available until next year.

The National Park Service developed six alternatives for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Trail Management Plan. They range from no action (alternative one) to an overhaul of the park's trail network (alternative six). The draft alternatives will be presented at public meetings on September 22, 23, and 26 at the Happy Days Lodge in Peninsula. The public comment period is open through October 30.

Akron officials expect that federally mandated sewer improvements will cost $650 million over the next 18 years, up from earlier estimates of $500 million. Residents already face a series of rate increases. The City will hold a public hearing on Wednesday evening in the Morley Health Center auditorium.

Update: AkronNewsNow summarized the meeting.

An Akron developer has proposed building a retail development on Rothrock Road in Copley Township, possibly to attract the Wal-Mart store from neighboring Fairlawn. Rothrock Road Retail Center would consist of a 147,806-square-foot building and a 136,367-square-foot building. Fairlawn officials are leery of losing the store, and residents in Copley are concerned about the impacts of new development.

Update: AMATS published the Rothrock Road/Montrose Planning Study. It's intended to "offer a clear‐headed, fair‐minded, and accurate planning‐level assessment of the likely consequences that the development and eventual build‐out of the west side of Rothrock Road will have on the transportation system in Montrose."

Several retailers, including Wal-Mart, plan to open or expand stores at Macedonia Commons. Wal-Mart's 46,000-square-foot addition should be finished this year.

Information about some planned demolitions in Greater Cleveland:

The Akron Beacon Journal relates the history of Botzum, a former unincorporated village in northern Summit County's Cuyahoga Valley.

The U.S. EPA extended the boundaries of the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern to include the 34-acre pool behind the dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. The designation makes the area eligible for federal funding for testing and possible cleanup of contaminated sediment behind the dam.

The U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies approved $5.5 million for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to complete the purchase of 635 acres of undeveloped land surrounding Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls.

A group of Summit County elected officials is urging property owners to refuse to pay the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's planned impervious surface fee. NEORSD Executive Director Julius Ciaccia defended the stormwater management program (PDF) and said that the officials were acting irresponsibly.

Update: participants on Tuesday's Sound of Ideas program discussed the issues. The Akron Beacon Journal also published an editorial on the subject.

Update 2: A Plain Dealer editorial criticizes the Summit County officials.

Plans for the Twinsburg Fashion Place lifestyle center remain stalled. A representative of the developer said that the project is not dead.

The Ohio EPA and the Cuyahoga River RAP asked the U.S. EPA to extend the Cuyahoga River Area of Concern to include the dam in the Gorge Metro Park. The change could make the area eligible for federal funding to clean up contaminated sediment behind the dam.

Restoration of a Tinkers Creek tributary near Hudson High School is expected to begin this fall. Students in the school's environmental education program will participate in the project.

Stan Austin (PDF) will be the new superintendent of the Cuyahoga National Park. He is currently the superintendent of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona and will become the National Park's fourth superintendent on August 22. He succeeds John Debo, who retired last July.

Update: Austin spoke with WKSU's Jeff St. Clair.

As part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's trail management plan update, park staffers and volunteers are exploring potential locations for new trails.

The city councils of Solon and Twinsburg approved a memorandum of understanding that calls for cooperation on business relocations that involve incentives. Officials hope to reach similar agreements with other neighboring communities.

The Ohio EPA awarded grants for restoration of stretches of the Chagrin River and Little Cuyahoga River (PDFs). The Geauga Park District received $400,000 and the Lake Metroparks received $349,584 for projects along the Chagrin River, and the City of Akron received $400,000 for work along the Little Cuyahoga River.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal published more information about the project in Summit County and WKSU has more details about the Geauga County work. The Ohio EPA also awarded a $394,000 grant (PDF) to the West Creek Preservation Committee.

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese will sell more than 50 closed churches, and placed 17 of them on the market. The properties in Cuyahoga, Lorain, and Summit counties have a total asking price of $11.8 million.

Preliminary tests of the sediment behind the Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park found moderate contamination but no major toxic issues. The U.S. EPA wants to collect more samples.

A grant from the Ohio & Erie Canalway Association will fund the fourth year of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Bike Aboard program in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The program drew a record 21,500 cyclists in 2009.

Because Summit County leaders have filed legal challenges to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's new stormwater management program, the Sewer District may withdraw its sponsorship of conservation projects in northern Summit County.

Update: the Hudson Hub Times has more details.

Update 2: the Sewer District will not pull its support for the projects.

Trail users provided input at public open houses last week for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park's trail management plan.

Area communities reacted differently to the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's new stormwater management program. Mayor Cicero of Lyndhurst was disappointed, and the City of Hudson may join Summit County's lawsuit against the sewer district. Mayor Elliott of Brook Park, on the other hand, thinks the program will help the city alleviate and prevent flooding problems. David Beach called it "one of the most important developments for local water quality that I have seen in the past 25 years."

On Thursday, the board of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District unanimously approved the new stormwater management program. The district has identified more than $220 million of critical stormwater projects, which will be financed by the new impervious surface fee. Once the board adopted the plan, NEORSD asked the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas to confirm the district's authority to implement the plan.

With the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District expected to vote on the proposed stormwater management program on Thursday, the Summit County prosecutor asked a court to issue a permanent injunction against any fees. Leaders in outer-ring Cuyahoga County suburbs also dislike the proposal. NEORSD Executive Director Julius Ciaccia discussed the approach on Channel 3's Between the Lines.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal and WKSU have more details. Joe Koncelik considered the implications of the proposed regulations.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's board is expected to vote on the proposed stormwater management program on January 7. If the board approves the proposal, collection of a new impervious surface fee would begin in July. The district is also preparing for legal challenges of its authority to implement the fee. A Plain Dealer editorial calls it "a fair plan that the sewer district board should approve in January."

Update: the Bath Township Trustees oppose the initiative.

Akron City Council approved a series of sewer rate increases to pay for improvements identified in the settlement with the U.S. EPA. The first increase will be a 25% hike in 2010. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial said that while the higher rates will be painful, the work they fund will benefit the City.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health is leading a project to restore a tributary of Tinkers Creek near Hudson High School. Hudson City Council recently approved an agreement for the project.

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.

The most recent episode of NEOtropolis looked at neighborhood revitalization in Euclid and downtown Akron. Panelists Raymond Cox, Gus Frangos, and Hunter Morrison also discussed the subject.

Leaders in Summit County are banding together to oppose the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's proposed stormwater management program. County officials may file a lawsuit against the sewer district.

More than 100 people attended the last of five public meetings about the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's proposed regional stormwater management program. Some residents objected to the new stormwater fee it would entail.

Update: leaders in Summit County remain opposed to the program.

The U.S. Department of Justice, the Ohio Attorney General, and Akron City Council approved the settlement of the lawsuit over the City's combined sewer overflows. It is subject to a 60-day public comment period and approval by a federal judge. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial assessed the repercussions of the agreement.

The Cleveland Clinic held a groundbreaking ceremony on November 5 for the $96 million Twinsburg Family Health & Surgery Center. The 190,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in 2011.

On Friday, President Obama quietly signed the appropriations bill that included $475 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and $4 million for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Update: officials with the Trust for Public Land believe it will take several years to complete the Blossom land purchase.

Congress appropriated $4 million toward the purchase of 635 undeveloped acres surrounding Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls. The property, the largest remaining private parcel within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, would be incorporated into the park.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more information. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial applauds the announcement.

The City of Akron and the U.S. EPA reached a tentative agreement on the combined sewer overflow lawsuit brought by the EPA. Under the terms of the proposed settlement, the City will build additional sewer separation projects, upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, help fund the removal of Canal Diversion Dam on the Cuyahoga River, and pay fines. Sewer rates could rise substantially.

Updates: sewer rates may double or triple during the 19-year sewer project. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial asserts that federal clean water mandates should be "backed by a reliable funding stream to local governments.."

On November 5, the Cleveland Clinic will break ground for the first building at its new Twinsburg medical campus. Construction of the $71 million outpatient surgery and medical office building is scheduled to finish in fall 2011.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park's first step in updating its trails plan is an informal survey of area stakeholders. Backpackers, equestrians, and mountain bikers would all like to see more trails.

The U.S. EPA's research vessel Mudpuppy is sampling the sediment behind the Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. Results of the tests should be available early next year. The Ohio EPA wants to remove the dam, but FirstEnergy would like it to stay.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association and the National Park Service are launching the new Trails Forever initiative, an effort to repair and expand the park's trail network. One of their goals is to raise a $10 million endowment by 2016, the interest from which would be used to enhance the trails. Meanwhile, the environmental cleanup of the former Krejci Dump in the park was extended through the end of November 2011. Contamination at the site is more extensive than anticipated.

The newest stretch of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is 2.25 miles long and includes 1,645-foot section that floats over Summit Lake in South Akron. It will be dedicated on Friday.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that investment in the Towpath Trail "already is paying off handsomely."

The Akron Beacon Journal looked at the legacy of George P. Smith of Cuyahoga Falls, an advocate for the Cuyahoga River in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Most retailers at First & Main in Hudson are surviving the recession. The mixed-use development will celebrate its fifth anniversary in October.

Late last month, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee approved $5.7 million in federal funding for projects in Ohio, including $4 million for the purchase of more than 600 undeveloped acres at Blossom Music Center for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

The Plain Dealer looked at the farms operated through the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy and profiled the three newest farms in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. An additional farm will be available for lease later this year.

Advanced Hydro Solutions' Metro Hydroelectric subsidiary dropped its plans to reestablish hydroelectric power generation at a Cuyahoga River dam in Summit County's Gorge Metro Park. The company surrendered its preliminary permit (PDF) from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday.

Update: WKSU has more information.

Later this year, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park will begin work on a new trails plan. The current trails plan was prepared in 1985. Meanwhile, National Park Superintendent John Debo announced his retirement today (PDF), effective July 3. In August, he will become the chief development officer of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association. Debo has served as superintendent for 21 years.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal and WKSU have more information about Debo's departure. The Beacon Journal also published a very positive editorial.

The Ohio EPA awarded nine 319 grants, including a $329,208 grant to the Cuyahoga County Board of Health to restore an unnamed tributary of Tinkers Creek (PDF) in Hudson and a $249,984 grant to Metro Parks, Serving Summit County to restore sections of Furnace Run (PDF) in Richfield. Meanwhile, the Ohio Lake Erie Commission gave a $15,000 grant to the GreenCityBlueLake Institute for a land use planning project, and gave a $14,900 grant to the Chagrin River Watershed Partners to develop a clean water web portal.

Backers of the Regional Prosperity Initiative continue to promote the concept to area officials, but two Lorain County mayors are concerned that it would not help their communities. Supporters will convene additional meetings in the coming weeks.

Update: WKSU shared more information about the initiative. A Morning Journal editorial calls for more details.

The Ohio EPA approved the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans to build a medical campus on an 88-acre site in Twinsburg. The property includes high-quality wetlands, which will be protected (PDF) by a 37-acre conservation easement. Construction of the hospital has been delayed by the poor economy, and the Clinic has not set a start date.

Planning Commissioners Journal Editor Wayne Senville recently made three stops in Northeast Ohio as part of his trip across the country. He visited and wrote about how the public library in Hudson has become a community hub, the flexibility and diversity of Shaker Heights, and the strategies identified in the Re-Imagining a More Sustainable Cleveland initiative. Map of the Week also reposted several images from the Re-Imagining Cleveland guidelines.

The Akron Beacon Journal examined how the presence of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has affected Boston Township in Summit County. The Township Trustees harbor some lingering resentment over its creation.

North Royalton City Council has begun discussing whether to allow the construction of wind turbines. Hudson City Council decided to forbid wind turbines, but will review requests to install solar panels on a case-by-case basis.

Citing the need to be fiscally responsible, the Cleveland Clinic announced that it will delay the start of construction of planned new medical centers in Twinsburg and Avon. CEO Toby Cosgrove said that the Clinic remains committed to the facilities.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin has more details.

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.

Solon leaders do not want the City to be part of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's proposed regional stormwater management program, saying that the City is already working control flooding. Macedonia officials had expressed a similar sentiment, but now appear to be more open to participating in a regional effort.

The U.S. EPA is suing the City of Akron for violations of the Clean Water Act. The lawsuit alleges that combined sewer overflows from Akron sewers have been releasing excessive pollution into the Cuyahoga River, Little Cuyahoga River, and the Ohio & Erie Canal since the City was reissued a wastewater permit in 1997. Financial penalties could be as high as $100 million. Akron Department of Public Service officials defend the system.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that "it is time for Akron to move more aggressively to meet the goals of the Clean Water Act."

Seven Summit County communities have signed a pledge to not steal businesses from each other. Summit County made the agreement more attractive by tying it into the scoring system for awarding public works funds.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park will rehabilitate four structures in Boston Township for use by the Park's volunteer support organizations. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association has raised over ⅔ of the funds (PDF) for the $855,000 project.

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 Hudson Library and Historical Society is sponsoring three programs on regionalism in January and February. The first event will be held on January 29. It is titled "What is the economic future for Northeast Ohio?" and will include an overview of the Advance Northeast Ohio initiative. The programs are free and open to the public.

Runoff from increased exurban development around the Cuyahoga Valley National Park continues to cause erosion problems along the Cuyahoga River. Park officials are developing natural systems approaches to controlling erosion.

The Macedonia Planning Commission approved expansion plans for the Wal-Mart at Macedonia Commons. The plans call for converting the store to a supercenter by building a 46,000-square-foot addition to the 121,000-square-foot store.

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.

Officials from northern Summit County formed a working group to discuss whether they will oppose the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's plans for a regional stormwater management program.

A wastewater treatment plant in Akron turns sewage into electricity through a process where anaerobic bacteria convert biosolids into methane. The system is the first of its kind in the nation and has exceeded expectations for electricity production.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's plans for a regional stormwater management program are controversial in northern Summit County. Some leaders worry that money from their communities will be directed to projects in Cuyahoga County.

On Thursday, the mayors of Hudson and Boston Heights signed an memorandum of understanding. It marks the start of a joint effort to coordinate the development of about 650 acres along the border of the two communities.

Update: the Hudson Hub Times provides more details.

The City of Twinsburg will hire a consultant to help analyze the costs and benefits of the proposed Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center. The results will inform City officials in anticipated tax increment financing negotiations.

Over 18,000 bicyclists used the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway's Bike Aboard! program this year, nearly three times as many as in 2007. The service will resume in April with the same $2.00 fare.

Summa Health System is continuing with its plans to build a hospital in northern Summit County's Route 8 corridor, despite opposition from Akron General. Industry analysts say that Summa's strategy is to compete with the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals systems.

This week's Sun papers have more information about the recent ballot issues in Broadview Heights, Chagrin Falls, Highland Heights, South Euclid, Avon, and Twinsburg.

Election recap

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

Brecksville
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

Oakwood
Issue 83 (hazardous storage buffer): passed

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

Solon
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

Avon
Issue 10 (retail rezoning): passed

Portage County
Issue 10 (Park District levy): failed

Twinsburg
Issues 32-35 (zoning code changes): passed

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

Ohio EPA officials are not satisfied with the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans for a Twinsburg medical campus, and suggested further modifications. The Clinic submitted a second revision on Friday.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin has more details.

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

In neighboring counties, the issues include:

The Plain Dealer recounts the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association's dispute with the Cleveland Metroparks over building trails in the park system. Meanwhile, the National Park Service is preparing a rule that will transfer decision making-power about bicycle trails to local park administrators. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park will use funds from the Krejci dump settlement to study the possibility of building trails.

While market conditions have forced the cancellation of some proposed retail projects, developers of the upscale Twinsburg Fashion Place in Summit County and the Cedar Center redevelopment in South Euclid are proceeding with their plans.

The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is planning to hold a series of community meetings at which it will present its plans for a regional stormwater management program.

Summit County leaders are asking the County's 31 cities, villages, and townships to adopt a revenue sharing agreement. It calls for revenue sharing in cases where large employers move from one Summit County community to another, or when financial incentives are used to induce a relocation.

Several cities and villages in northern Summit County have rejected the City of Cleveland's water main maintenance and no poaching proposal.

The Twinsburg Planning Commission approved the Cleveland Clinic's revised plans for a medical campus on Darrow Road near I-480.

Macedonia officials are not interested in participating in the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District's proposed regional stormwater management program.

The Cleveland Clinic submitted revised plans for a new medical complex off of Darrow Road in Twinsburg. The changes are intended to lessen the impacts upon the 86 acre site's wetlands and springs.

The Ohio EPA remains concerned about the effects of a proposed Cleveland Clinic facility on wetlands and streams in Twinsburg. The Clinic is seeking permission to fill in some of the property's high-quality wetlands and rare cold-water springs. The two sides are continuing negotiations.

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati reversed a lower court decision that had granted Advanced Hydro Solutions access to the Gorge Metro Park in Summit County. The Court of Appeals returned the case to U.S. District Court in Akron with instructions to dismiss it (PDF) for lack of jurisdiction.

At a public meeting on Wednesday, Ohio EPA staff expressed "significant concerns" about the Cleveland Clinic's plans to build a new medical campus in Twinsburg. The 86 acre site includes 23.5 acres of wetlands, and the Clinic's plans call for filling in a portion of them. The two sides are in negotiations to resolve the EPA's concerns.

The Twinsburg Architectural Review Board is concerned about the increasing number of historic homes that have been allowed to fall into disrepair and subsequently demolished. Earlier this year, the City discontinued a home repair loan program.

Walking the River (PDF), a new documentary about the Cuyahoga River from Blue Hole Productions, will premiere on August 15 at the Happy Days Lodge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. WVIZ plans to broadcast the film this fall.

Update: WKSU interviewed the filmmakers.

The National Park Service is working to reduce automobile traffic in its parks. In the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Bike Aboard service has tripled in popularity this summer. It offers cyclists the opportunity to bike the Towpath Trail in one direction and ride the train in the other for a $2 fare.

Geis Companies, a local industrial developer, is using the proceeds from its January sale of ten suburban industrial properties to reinvest in projects across Greater Cleveland. Through its Hemingway Development division, the company has made purchases in Brecksville, Boston Heights, Mayfield Village, and Warrensville Heights.

The Twinsburg Township Trustees unanimously voted to rezone the site of the proposed Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center from residential and neighborhood commercial to interchange mixed use.

Update: the Twinsburg Bulletin supplies more details.

One homeowner on the site of the proposed Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center is refusing to sell her house. Developer Dr. Bahman Guyuron said that "the project is going to go forward, whether she cooperates or not."

Some members of Twinsburg City Council want to eliminate the City's department of community planning and development. They are considering a charter amendment that could appear on the November ballot.

A story in yesterday's Akron Beacon Journal examines the overbuilt retail market in Summit County. It references the Northeast Ohio Regional Retail Analysis and the 2007 follow-up study done by Cleveland State students.

If the proposed rezoning for the Twinsburg Fashion Place development is approved, members of the Twinsburg Board of Education expect that they will be asked to authorize a TIF package for the retail project.

The Trust for Public Land reached an agreement with the Musical Arts Association that could lead to the transfer of 620 undeveloped acres around Blossom Music Center to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Musical Arts Association will retain the 140 acres occupied by Blossom facilities. The agreement is contingent upon appropriations from the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Update: the Akron Beacon Journal has more information.

15 people applied to operate the three available farms in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

A land use study was released for the Route 8 corridor in Northern Summit County yesterday. It includes an analysis of 918 acres in Macedonia, Boston Heights, and Northfield Center Township. Less than half of the area is developable because of environmental restrictions on the land. Among other items, the study identified opportunities that a restoration of Brandywine Creek could create.

Update: Silverlode Consulting Corp.'s slideshow (PDF, 1.9 MB) is now online.

Advanced Hydro Solutions still wants to build a hydroelectric plant at the Cuyahoga River dam in the Gorge Metro Park. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission terminated the application for the project last June, but the company is now seeking a renewal of the permit.

The Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association is trying to convince the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Metroparks systems in Cuyahoga and Summit counties to build a 100 mile network of unpaved trails.

Leaders in Summit County are preparing a plan for a countywide revenue sharing program. Summit County Executive Russ Pry discussed the idea with a group of Summit County mayors yesterday.

Twinsburg City Council rejected a proposed riparian setback ordinance that would have established a 120 foot buffer along Tinkers Creek.

The planned retail development on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club continues to be a source of controversy, and a Boston Heights resident is now suing the Village for overriding last year's referendum issue.

The construction of a wastewater storage basin in Akron reduced combined sewer overflows from 40 in 2006 to 17 in 2007. City officials are also working on a sewer separation plan.

The Akron/Summit County Convention & Visitors Bureau will fund the Plant Your Meeting initiative, which will plant trees in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The plantings will begin this fall and next spring.

The planned move of a company from Macedonia to Hudson has created skepticism among some Northeast Ohio leaders about the local potential for revenue sharing. Advance Northeast Ohio says that the move illustrates the challenges of negotiating individual revenue sharing deals and the need for a regional approach.

The Village of Boston Heights settled a lawsuit with the developers seeking to build on the former Boston Heights Country Club site. The settlement (PDF) allows the developers to construct retail and office space on 100 acres of the 160 acre property.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park, in conjunction with Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, is currently accepting proposals (PDF) for long-term leases of three farms in the Park: the 16 acre Martin Farm in Bath Township, the 10 acre Leyser Farm in Brecksville, and the 25 acre Gleeson Farm in Valley View.

Update: WKSU has more details.

Editorials in the Akron Beacon Journal, Plain Dealer, and Record Courier encourage the U.S. Congress to allocate funds for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to purchase threatened privately-held properties within its borders. Beacon Journal columnist Steve Hoffman says that the park's regular visitors must pressure members of the local congressional delegation.

The Village of Boston Heights reached a tentative settlement (PDF) with the developer seeking to build big box retail and possibly a hospital on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club. Village leaders approved a similar development last spring, but it was rejected by voters in a November referendum issue. The developer responded by suing the Village. Residents are now considering litigation of their own.

The Brandywine Golf Course in Peninsula is no longer for sale, because its owner pulled if off the market. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park may purchase a conservation easement for the property.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

At a public hearing in Twinsburg Township, some residents expressed their support for the proposed Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center, but were concerned that the City of Twinsburg might attempt to annex the property. Developer Bahman Guyuron characterized the situation as a race between his project and the proposed mixed-use Central Parc development in Solon.

Central Parc is facing a potential delay due to issues surrounding the planned expansion of a stormwater detention basin near North Huntington Drive. The development could also create increased costs for the City due to the projected need to hire additional safety personnel.

The Musical Arts Association is interested in selling 600 acres at Blossom Music Center in Cuyahoga Falls to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but the Park cannot afford to purchase the land. Park officials are also concerned about the possible sale and development of the privately-owned Brandywine Golf Course in Peninsula. America's Heritage For Sale, a new report from the National Parks Conservation Association, says that the Park needs $8 million to purchase the properties.

Update: the Plain Dealer published a map and additional details. WKSU also reported on the issue.

Olivet Institutional Baptist Church dropped its plans to move from Cleveland's Fairfax neighborhood to Twinsburg. The church will instead refurbish its Quincy Avenue campus.

Update: the Twinsburg Sun offers additional details.

The Twinsburg Township Zoning Commission is considering a rezoning request by the developer of the proposed 803,731 square foot Twinsburg Fashion Place shopping center. The Zoning Commission is also contemplating the development's traffic implications. Developer Bahman Guyuron wants to begin construction as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Peter Rubin of the Coral Co. says that his proposed Central Parc development in Solon needs to be built first in order to reach its full economic potential.

This week's Twinsburg Sun asks many questions about Twinsburg Fashion Place, the proposed lifestyle center in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township. Representatives of the developer will appear at the Twinsburg Township Zoning Commission meeting on Monday.

The Cleveland Clinic must revise its plans for a Twinsburg medical campus because of a technical error in the plans.

Plans for the Twinsburg Fashion Place lifestyle center were unveiled yesterday. The proposed $100 million retail development would sit on 95 acres in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township. Developers asserted that the project could create 1,200 jobs.

Update: the Plain Dealer gathered reactions to the announcement.

Several area officials declared that plans for a soccer stadium in northern Summit County are dead.

The Twinsburg Planning Commission gave its final approval to plans for a new Cleveland Clinic facility on Darrow Road.

A moratorium on planned residential developments in Twinsburg Township will be lifted on March 11. It has been in place since December 2006.

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County will spend $150,000 on efforts to reduce the impacts of increased stormwater runoff on Furnace Run and its Rock Creek tributary.

Bahman Guyuran is now proposing a mixed-use development on 42 acres at I-480 and Hadden Road. The previous proposal called for a large shopping mall. The Summit County Planning Commission will review the project, which will also be considered by the Twinsburg Zoning Commission at 7:00 p.m. this Monday.

The board of the Macedonia and Northfield Center Township JEDD approved funding for the Route 8 corridor land use study. The board also voted to nullify an annexation agreement that it ratified last year for the proposed soccer stadium complex.

By February 1, the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce is expected to select a consultant to prepare a land use study for the Route 8 corridor between Highland Road and Hines Hill Road in Macedonia and Northfield Center Township.

Summa Health System and Western Reserve Hospital Partners have proposed building a new hospital at an undetermined location in northern Summit County's Route 8 corridor. The construction would join a planned Cleveland Clinic facility and a new University Hospitals facility in Twinsburg.

The Wolstein Sports and Entertainment Group is still interested in building a soccer stadium in Macedonia, which may be possible without a Summit County sin tax. The company is also looking at sites in other counties.

The Cleveland Clinic submitted plans for the Cleveland Clinic Twinsburg Medical Campus, which will be reviewed by the Twinsburg Planning Commission on December 17. Plans for the first phase show a four story, 144,000 square foot building on 38 acres. Construction is expected to begin in 2008 and end in 2009.

Increasing suburban development in the Furnace Run watershed in Cuyahoga and Summit Counties has created additional runoff, which is causing more erosion and sedimentation downstream, according to a report from the Ohio EPA (PDF).

Because Boston Heights voters rejected the retail development proposal for the site of the former Boston Hills County Club, the developer's $10 million lawsuit against the Village will continue. He says that the issue left the property without an economically viable use.

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

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

Avon
Issue 35 (rec center/stadium tax): passed

Brunswick
Charter Amendment 1 (eliminate planning director): passed

Streetsboro
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

Twinsburg
Issue 50 (zoning code changes): failed

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

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.

In Boston Heights, two retail zoning issues will appear on next Tuesday's ballot as the result of referendums. Issue 51 is a vote on the retail rezoning of the former Boston Hills Country Club, and Issue 52 is about adding big box stores as a conditional use in retail business districts.

Up to $40,000 has been made available to conduct an economic development study for the site of the proposed soccer stadium and retail complex in Macedonia. Mayor Kuchta stated that he would prefer the development to remain on hold until the study is completed.

In addition to considering a site in Brunswick, outdoors retailer Cabela's is rumored to be considering a proposed development in Twinsburg or Twinsburg Township for its first Northeast Ohio store.

After two years of work, excavation of the Krejci Dump in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is nearing completion. The environmental cleanup should be completed by fall 2008 if additional contamination is not discovered.

Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta declared that "the stadium issue is dead." He said a lack of investments from developers of the proposed soccer stadium complex and an environmental impact study performed by the National Park Service changed his mind about the project.

As Hudson's First & Main development celebrates its third anniversary, the Hudson Hub Times looks back at its history. Planning is underway for phase two of Hudson's downtown development vision.

Macedonia Mayor Don Kuchta expects that the proposed soccer stadium complex will not be built in the near future. He also wants to conduct an economic development study for the Route 8 corridor.

(Update: The News-Leader has more details.)

Summit County leaders want more information about the proposed soccer stadium and retail complex in Macedonia before they decide whether to put a sin tax for the stadium on the ballot.

Developers of the proposed soccer stadium and retail development scaled back the complex to 125 acres in Macedeonia and dropped the proposed annexation of 200 acres of Northfield Township.

Summit County Council decided not to place a sin tax for the proposed soccer stadium on the November ballot. Officials felt that the timing was wrong because there are two other countywide levies on the November ballot. The sin tax may appear on the March ballot. An Akron Beacon Journal editorial says that it was a wise decision.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency awarded grants to the Western Reserve Land Conservancy for the acquisition of conservation easements for 132 acres of riparian buffers along the East Branch of the Rocky River in Summit and Medina Counties, and to Grand River Partners for the restoration and protection of 300 acres of riparian buffers and wetlands in the lower Grand River watershed in Lake County.

The developer of a proposed shopping center on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club filed a complaint in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas. The complaint asks for $10 million from the Village of Boston Heights if residents are successful in an effort to get the retail rezoning on the ballot via referendum.

Officials from Macedonia and Northfield Center Township reached a tentative agreement that calls for Macedonia to annex more than 200 acres along Route 8 south of Highland Road for the proposed soccer stadium complex. On August 6, Summit County Council is expected to vote on placing the proposed sin tax on the November ballot.

(Update: annexation talks are continuing, and Summit County Council has not yet voted on the sin tax proposal.)

In November, Twinsburg voters will have the opportunity to vote on the creation of a mixed-use zoning classification. Municipal officials hope that it will encourage downtown development.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission refused to reconsider its termination of a permit for the proposed hydroelectric project in Gorge Metro Park.

Bahman Guyuron, a Lyndhurst-based plastic surgeon, wants to build a shopping center on 90 acres in Twinsburg and Twinsburg Township. He owns all but one property in the area south of I-480 and east of Hadden Road, and the Twinsburg Township Trustees initiated the process to acquire the remaining property via eminent domain in March. The development would require the Twinsburg Township portion to be rezoned from residential to commercial, and Guyuron also wants the City and Township to establish a JEDD.

Between 80 and 125 acres of the Pond Brook wetlands will be restored at Liberty Park in Twinsburg Township.

(Update: The Akron Beacon Journal presents additional information and photographs.)

Advanced Hydro Solutions asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reconsider its application for the proposed hydroelectric project in Gorge Metro Park. The federal agency terminated the application last month.

By a vote of 3-2, Macedonia City Council approved a controversial 100%, 30 year tax increment financing package for the proposed Mary Maria senior housing complex. The TIF will be used to fund the construction of a road connecting Valley View Road to Route 82.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission terminated Advanced Hydrosolutions' application for a hydroelectric project in the Gorge Metro Park because the company was unable to gain access to the park. Company President David Sinclair says they are reviewing the decision and are still pursuing the project.

Developer Paul Garofolo presented his plans for the proposed soccer stadium complex to Summit County Council on Monday. In addition to the retractable roof stadium, the plans call for a large retail component, a medical campus, and hotel development. He said the project could bring as much as $12 billion dollars to the county over the next 30 years.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is soliciting public input on the environmental assessment for proposed modifications to the Virginia Kendall Dam in northern Summit County. The deadline for feedback is June 30.

An Akron Beacon Journal editorial concludes that Summit County Council "must have a clear understanding of the net benefit before giving their approval" to a sin tax issue to support the proposed soccer stadium complex.

Summit County Council unanimously approved a tax increment financing agreement with a developer planning to build a road as part of a senior housing complex in Macedonia. City Council has not voted on the proposal.

Yesterday, a resolution for a sin tax to support the proposed Summit County soccer stadium complex was introduced in Summit County Council. The 35-year tax on cigarettes, wine, and beer would be used to raise $100 million for the development of the 400 acre site in Macedonia and Northfield Center Township. The proposed tax will appear on the November ballot if it's approved by August 23.

Additional incentives beyond the approved $1.5 million sales tax rebate may be necessary to lure Bass Pro Shops to Akron. Other communities that have attracted stores offered infrastructure improvements, increased tax breaks, and site preparation work as incentives.

Macedonia City Council is considering a proposed tax increment financing package for public improvements in a new senior housing complex.

Although Summit County Council recently approved incentives to attract Bass Pro Shops to Akron, Summit and Medina County leaders continue to pursue a Cabela's store. Summit County hopes to link a Cabela's to the proposed domed soccer stadium, and the Medina County Commissioners approved a sales tax break if the company builds a store near I-71 and Route 303 in Brunswick.

Developers of the proposed northern Summit County soccer stadium complex asked the board of the Nordonia Hills City Schools District to extend the 2006 compensation agreement until June 30, 2008. The agreement expired last December. Developer Paul Garofolo indicated that he hopes to seek voter approval for public funding of a retractable dome for the proposed stadium in November.

Yesterday, Boston Heights residents delivered referendum petitions to the Village regarding the rezoning of the former Boston Hills Country Club. If the signatures are certified, the issue may appear on the November ballot.

Today's Plain Dealer supplies more details about the new 1.75 mile stretch of the Towpath Trail at Steelyard Commons in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Summit County may meet a landowner's demand for $80,000 to purchase land that was appraised for $20,000 and is needed for the trail.

Bob Downing of the Akron Beacon Journal toured the wetlands at Pond Brook South. Public access to the 227 acre area recently acquired by Metro Parks, Serving Summit County will likely be limited.

A federal appeals court rejected Advanced Hydrosolutions' suit to gain access to Gorge Metro Park, overturning a lower court and indicating that the case belongs in state court. The company is seeking access to the park to conduct environmental tests for a proposed Gorge Park Dam hydroelectric project, which is opposed by the Metro Parks, Serving Summit County.

Cleveland Clinic representatives cautioned that their plans to build a medical campus in Twinsburg have not been finalized.

Boston Heights Village Council approved a controversial rezoning of the former Boston Hills County Club, rezoning almost 66 acres from residential to retail. Developers want to build a shopping center on the rezoned portion of the site and 100 houses on the remaining area. Residents opposed to the development plan to fight the rezoning.

The Cleveland Clinic plans to build medical campus on Darrow Road in Twinsburg, starting with a a 75,000 square foot hospital to be completed in 2008 or 2009. University Hospitals is also building a medical center in the City.

(Update: The Plain Dealer has additional details.)

The owner of a strip of land needed for the Towpath Trail near the border of Akron and Coventry Township is preventing the trail's construction by demanding $80,000 for the land, which was appraised at $26,000.

Boston Heights Village Council is considering raising the maximum permitted size of single-story retail establishments from 50,000 square feet to 125,000 square feet. If approved, it would permit the construction of proposed big box stores.

Over 285 people attended last night's listening session at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to offer suggestions on ways the Park could invest funds from the proposed NPS Centennial Initiative. Citizens can also provide feedback via the web until April 2.

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.

Plans in northern Summit County call for rerouting a one mile stretch of the Bike & Hike Trail in Northfield Center and Sagamore Hills Townships from Brandywine Road to an off-road route. Meanwhile, the City of Akron is planning a 7,000 foot extension of the Towpath Trail that includes a floating section.

Cuyahoga County may sell the 435 acre Youth Development Center in Hudson. The property was recently appraised at $15 million. Some judges and juvenile justice advocates are concerned about the fate of the approximately 200 children housed at the center.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park does not support the proposed retail and residential development on the site of the former Boston Hills Country Club, because it would cause increased flooding, erosion, and sedimentation problems along Brandywine Creek, and also create traffic congestion, ruin the area's rural character, and degrade the National Park.

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County completed their acquisition of 227 acres of wetlands in Twinsburg Township. The Trust for Public Land purchased the land for $3.3 million last year.

(Update: The Plain Dealer has more details.)

About 30 Boston Heights residents attended a public meeting on Wednesday about the residential and retail development proposed for the site of Boston Heights Country Club. Many in attendance did not support the plans. "I don't think anyone here wants our community to turn into Macedonia," said one.

Developers of the proposed soccer stadium and retail development in northern Summit County submitted an "amended and restated compensation agreement" to the Nordonia Hills City Schools, after the previous agreement approved last April expired at the end of 2006.

A lack of funding may delay or prevent the construction of a planned Route 8 access road in northern Summit County.

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is seeking a new developer for the 1840 Jim Brown Farm in Cuyahoga Falls and the 1833 Hammond-Cranz Farm in Bath Township after the previous developer was unable to secure financing.

The conversion of State Route 8 (Windows Media, 42.3 MB) in northern Summit County to a limited-access freeway is scheduled to begin next month. The $111.2 million phase one will cover work between Twinsburg Road and I-271 and includes the construction of five new bridges, the widening of six existing bridges, and a new interchange at I-271.

President Bush's proposed federal budget includes a $1 million funding increase for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Park officials plan to use the funds to boost maintenance, educational programs, staffing, and security.

Yesterday, workers placed a 65 foot long pedestrian bridge over the Ohio & Erie Canal near Lock 2 Park in Akron. When completed, it will form part of a Towpath Trail loop around downtown Akron.

Rural Boston Heights in Summit County has become very attractive to retail developers, and Village leaders are dealing with proposals for two major retail centers near the intersection of the Ohio Turnpike and State Route 8. The site of the proposed Summit County soccer stadium/retail development is also nearby.

Northfield Center Township Trustees unanimously voted to deny a rezoning request for a 51 acre site at Twinsburg Road near State Route 8. Developers want to use the property and an additional 150 acres in Boston Heights for a mixed-use lifestyle center. They may ask Boston Heights to annex the land.

Peak Resorts Inc., owner of Brandywine Ski Resort in Sagamore Hills, purchased the adjacent closed Dover Lake Waterpark. They "plan to use the park for winter operations," and do not intend to reopen it as a waterpark.

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