Hiram Council approves proposal to close street

By Heather Condley Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Earlier this year, the college brought the proposal to council that called for closing off the portion of Bancroft Street that goes through the college and creating a new road to connect Hayden and Dean streets. The college plans to build the new science facility where that stretch of Bancroft Street is located.

Council decided Thursday to vacate that portion of the street, but only if the college agreed to several concessions.

"We started far apart and over the past few weeks the distance between these two positions has marched steadily closer," Councilman James Case said.

"We're at the point where we have to work with the college. It's part of the community. They're the largest employer in the village and most important in terms of identification," said Councilman Lou Bertrand. "This is something we all benefit from. I feel we've gotten concessions.

"We tried to negotiate in good faith to get adequate compensation, but some people in the village may think we haven't gotten enough," he said.

Negotiations between the two parties began last month after village officials reached a consensus that the village should be compensated if it agreed to vacate the street.

Under the agreement, "Hiram College agrees to construct no non-residential scale buildings or parking lots, or to demolish or remove existing buildings, between Dean and Peckham and Hinsdale and Bancroft streets during the next ten years without the approval of both the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Village Council."

The college also will make annual contributions of $37,500 from 1998 to 2001 which will be used for capital improvement projects to benefit the village and the college.

The college also has agreed to continue to make voluntary contributions to village safety services ranging from $40,800 in 1998 to $50,000 in 2002.

In addition, the college will:

Remove the Hurd, Dooley and Kelker houses, which are college owned and located near the proposed site.

Complete the Hayden Street construction in such a way as to enhance the new street while being mindful of police, fire and maintenance issues.

Replace existing sanitary, water and storm sewers on the site.

Provide an easement to the village for full access to college owned land on which a village water well is situated.

Work with the village in a long-range study of in-town traffic patterns.

Participate in regular meetings with the village to review common concerns and planning issues.

Design a pedestrian mall, which will be located through the campus, about where Bancroft runs now. The college will consult with the village, being mindful of health and safety concerns.

Provide a safety light control at the intersections of S.R. 305, S.R. 82 and S.R. 700 so the fire department can control traffic during emergencies.

The closing of the street won't go into effect until the college completes the new road, according to Village Solicitor Gary Pierce.

College officials don't know when construction on the new building will start since they have been waiting for approval on the road closure.

"Everything has been dictated by the site," said college spokesman Tim Bryan. "Everything we do will be in conjunction with (the village). We never made the assumption that this (would be approved)."

Hiram College President Benjamin Oliver also attended Thursday's meeting and thanked the village for it's cooperation.

"I know it's been tough for all of us," he said. "Thank you very much for your consideration. We'll be good neighbors."

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