Ravenna residents invited to shape downtown

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

Ravenna residents are being invited to share their ideas for the city's downtown.

Officials are hosting a public meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 210 Park Way, Ravenna.

The topic of the meeting is the future use of 76 acres in downtown Ravenna surrounding Main Street.

Last year, Ravenna became one of six communities to receive funding from the Brownfield Action Plan Pilot Program. The $50,000 grant studied a 220-acre area of the city bordered by North Diamond and North Prospect streets, Lincoln Avenue and West Main Street.

The study cited three specific areas that were the most in need of improvement, based on a number of criteria, including health hazards and liabilities, development potential, discongruity with the area and whether the city would get a "big bang for its buck" Economic Development Director Kerry Macomber said.

However, those three potential projects are not the only ones that may be discussed at the meeting, she said.

"If someone within that area wants their site to be considered, now is the time to step forward," she said.

One of the three areas identified by the study include the five-acre site that hosts the concrete plant at 127 Pittsburg St. The former Smith and Cowan property fronts on a small street accessible from West Main Street and can be seen from the parking lot of the McDonalds. It is more easily visible from Highland Avenue, and many customers at the Big Dog Saloon use the land for a parking lot. The city hopes to develop the land into a park.

Macomber said the city has learned that the five-acre site actually has two owners. Osborne Inc. owns the property that faces Highland Avenue, and the company is interested in donating the land to the city. However, Duracote owns the land that faces West Main Street, and seems interested in the property's Main Street frontage, so the city is not sure if the park would include the entire parcel.

North Chestnut Street, another area identified by the study, is being considered as a possible arts and entertainment district.

The city-owned parcel at the corner of West Highland and North Chestnut streets will be opened as Monza Studio in the near future, an arts incubator that will be operated by Hiram College.

The former Paul's Do It Center also is being considered for future development.

"There's all kinds of options in that area," she said.

The study also identified a private development that is still in discussion, she said.

Macomber noted that any project in the area is eligible for grant funding to make that project happen.

"There is $50,000 in funding that we will be able to make recommendations on," she said.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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