July 26, 2014

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Mayor: School bond passage could lead to creation of N. Ridgeville ‘city center’

This conceptual drawing shows what a new city center at the corner of Center Ridge Road and Route 83 North Ridgeville might look like. PHOTO PROVIDED

This conceptual drawing shows what a new city center at the corner of Center Ridge Road and Route 83 North Ridgeville might look like. PHOTO PROVIDED

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — If voters approve a $58.1 million bond issue Tuesday to build a new middle school, it could be the beginning of a sweeping change for the city and lead to a long-discussed project that would give the community its first-ever downtown feel.

“We have a real opportunity to improve not only the schools, but traffic conditions, and development at that corner,” Mayor David Gillock said as the city released a conceptual drawing of what the intersection of state Routes 83 (Avon Belden Road) and U.S. Route 20 (Center Ridge Road) could look like in the near future.

“We need to get this done,” Gillock said. “It’s time we joined the 21st century. There’s no downfall here.”

Gillock’s comments echo those of North Ridgeville Schools Superintendent James Powell, who recently said a number of businesses have expressed interest in buying the middle school site for possible development, although he declined to name them.

“This could change the whole landscape in the next three to four years,” Gillock said. “We’ll have this prime corner that can be developed.”

Done by an area development firm that Gillock declined to name, the conceptual drawing envisions a retail area similar in appearance to the French Creek commercial area at the corner of Detroit Road and Route 83 in Avon.

Gillock termed the drawing a “potential” look the area long considered the unofficial center of town could have if voters say yes to the bond issue.

Plans call for the current middle school built in 1923 to be torn down, along with a small office building and a BP gas station at the corner of routes 83 and 20.

The demolitions would be paid for from the bond issue, and the Ohio School Facilities Commission has appropriated $8.9 million for a new school housing students in grades 3 to 8 that will ease crowding at the current middle school and two elementary buildings.

The new school would be built on school district-owned land adjacent to North Ridgeville High School.

Tearing down the existing school would clear the way for development of the 13-acre school property that includes the Rangers’ football stadium located behind the middle school. The stadium would come down and be replaced elsewhere.

Valued at $2.3 million, the school and stadium property is sizable enough to hold a major retail shopping area and townhouse-style apartments as well, according to Gillock.

Once the existing middle school and commercial structures are torn down, the city would invite developers such as Jacobs, Visconsi and Jacobs Co. and Carnegie Management and Development Corp., to draw up and submit proposals.

“That way we control our own destiny instead of selling the land off piecemeal to one person who wants to put up a business and another who wants to build something else,” Gillock said. “It would make the middle school property very viable.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

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  • Spec440

    I’m still waiting for the “Crocker Park” type complex that was coming to the old Ridgeview Shopping Center. Remember? Gillock promised it and took pictures in front of the sign during one of the elections. That was supposed to change NR too. Should be coming along any day now.

  • JustJenn142

    I am not really interested in another shopping center in North Ridgeville. How about a Rec Center?

    • Ashley Duesler

      I agree with you Jenn! We don’t need ANOTHER shopping plaza to end up empty. A rec center would be a GREAT and USEFUL idea.

  • http://politicsarepersonalblog.blogspot.com/ Suzan Smith

    Wow. The issue hasn’t passed and the Mayor is spending more money to develop the corner! Aren’t school levies suppose to be all about the students?

  • Scunnered

    Really? Tearing down the most iconic building in N. R. and replacing it with a cheap strip mall is progress?? Don’t do it, N. R. It’s planners like this that change the landscape alright, but not for the long-term good of the city and it’s residents. Believe me, I live in the ugliest area overrun by strip malls. There is no value to them as they age quickly because of the cheap construction used these days. If you elect to tear down that historic middle school building, there is no way they’ll replace it with anything of long-term value. This is a disgrace!

  • Macdaddyoh

    How about sewers down rt 83. Septic tanks are so 1960′s. For those of you unaware, yes, from Center Ridge to Sandlewood Acres are septic. The city feels it the residents responsibility to get sewers down one of the most traveld streets in the city. I will vote on a rec. center. NO ON STRIP MALL

  • Lord Anoobis

    Oh, where to begin? Let’s see, approve a plan for new buildings and do nothing to the infrastructure to deal with the increased traffic or population. Where does this seem familiar? Oh yeah, all the new homes that have gone up in Ridgeville.

    Now, don’t your panties in a bunch. I am aware of the plan to increase Center Ridge Rd. to four lanes. Imagine how much fun that construction is going to be. You thought the traffic on Center Ridge was bad NOW. Ha!

    If it weren’t for the Governor’s decision to leverage money from the Turnpike, it would’ve been quite sometime before the widening was done. I wonder if the dunderheads at city hall would still have approved the plan to put up new buildings at Center Ridge and Route 83 had the road construction not been planned. Based on what’s happened in the past, the answer would most likely be “yes.”

    I do have to admit that the city has tried to resolve some of the traffic problems by putting up more stop lights and widening certain intersections. However, the planning for the increase in population and traffic has been abysmal for the most part.

    One good thing is that if they do put in the city center that Freeman’s wife won’t have to go to Avon to shoplift. He can simply take her home after she’s been processed at the police station.

  • Dynadobe

    I am not willing to be taxed out of my home of 25 years for a shopping complex or a glorious new school building where children still won’t learn, and especially not for a new football field! Fixed income. Already taxed more than we can bear.

  • brewmaster

    Yea, because they have done a awesome job of developing the other 3 corners of that intersection.
    Why no name the development firm who came up with the concept? Who paid for the design to be done?
    There are way to many coulds and mights in this article to believe in this. I would think if companies were truly interested in buying this property they would not care if their names were made public to help this bond issue pass so their palns could move on.
    NRCSD and the city should fess up and admit they made a mistake in trying to pass this bond issue with a $8 million football stadium attached to it and stop trying to embelish what that property is worth and who is interested in it.
    I thought James Powell said it was time for them to be honest and transparent to get the issue passed. Transparency would involve divulging who is interested in buying the property and making public the appaisal of the property.

  • Denise

    Would make more sense to put a new school at the old Ridgeview shopping center that property is ugly as hell. Some of the nicest looking small towns keep their old buildings and repurpose them. A shopping center is NOT needed in the center of town. Also that McDonald’s looks ridiculous where it is .

  • told you so

    Does anybody know that wages are also factor in,wait till after Jan. and see all the raises coming.They are going to break the citizens with all these taxes,the fireman wanting 16% raises,when the last time any of you got that type of an increase.

  • reallyoldfarts

    Of the 11 previous comments, every single one was a derogatory comment about this new development, our local government, or some other sly remark. I’ve lived in North Ridgeville for 26 years. If this is the general attitude of my neighbors, then I can see why North Ridgeville is still considered a “redneck town”, devoid of any high-quality retail and commercial development, and having little desire to be in the 21st century.
    I truly think a new shopping center on 83 and Center Ridge would be a great idea. Expanding Center Ridge to 4 lanes is a great idea. ( I live on CR!) I think building a new Middle school is a great idea! I’m voting for the Levy and my kids are almost out of school! I believe it is every resident’s duty to look out for the affairs of other residents as it is to himself.

    • told you so

      I will vote the way I want which will be a NO vote,Not one of my commets r untrue Just the facts.I kinda like the REDNECK title.And by the way where do you shop,by your tires.get your hair done ect .I do support all the business owners Ican do YOU