Ravenna to see banks open three new buildings

By Micah Panczyk Record-Courier staff writer Published:

"It's been at least 20 years since we've had a new bank built in town," said city Building Inspector Bob Miller. "Naturally, we're happy to see it."

Ravenna Savings Bank and Second National Bank are presently building new offices at 1137 E. Main St. and 165 N. Chestnut St., respectively. In addition, an entirely new firm _ The Portage Community Bank _ is under construction at 1311 E. Main St.

While the burst of construction reflects a confidence in Ravenna's economy, it is otherwise "purely coincidental," Miller said.

"When you see your financial institutions have faith in your community, it's a fine sign that its economy is strong," he said.

"The city will certainly realize some tax revenues from these constructions," said Mayor Paul Jones. "Each facility will be state-of-the-art. We're glad to have these firms in city limits."

Ravenna Savings is raising a 27,000-square-foot facility on East Main Street, adjacent to the Acme complex. The project will cost more than $2 million and is aimed "to compliment the architecture downtown," bank president Earl Kissell said previously.

"Our growth has been phenomenal and we're just out of room here," Kissell said in reference to the firm's present downtown Ravenna location at 218 W. Main St. "Ravenna is just conducive to business right now and we are pleased to remain in the city."

Four drive-through lanes will flank the structure, furnishing an automated teller machine and a night depository box for commercial accounts _ features that should enhance customer convenience, he said.

Currently, the firm's drive-through facility is near the corner of Pratt and Main streets, several blocks from the bank itself.

"We're right on schedule and pleased with the way construction is going," Kissell said. "We're still looking at an April 1 opening date."

Presently located at 100 E. Main St., Second National Bank broke ground last week at its future site on North Chestnut Street at Highland Avenue. Construction of the 3,000-square-foot, one-story brick building is expected to be completed in early 1998.

"Banks are realizing that Ravenna is growing," said Tom Achberger, the firm's vice-president and Portage County market manager. "We're committed to Ravenna and are excited about opening a new facility on Chestnut Street."

The bank will provide a complete range of products and services, a specialized staff of banking professionals and one-on-one personalized service, Achberger said.

"We still think that banking is a people business," he said.

The comprehensive range of financial professionals will include a branch bank officer, personal accounts manager, commercial lending officer, alternative investment representative and several personal bankers, he said.

The site will also offer a pair of drive-through lanes and a drive-up ATM. In addition, it will furnish a vault and safe deposit boxes, a night depository and ample parking.

The Portage Community Bank, will be a roughly 10,000-square-foot facility that will stand at 1311 E. Main Street in a landmark home built by H.R. Loomis and most recently the residence of Dewey Gatts. The new bank is expected to be open for business early next spring, according to Bill Hale, a member of the bank's board of directors.

"We're looking forward to providing personalized service," he said. "We hope our customers and bankers will know one another's name and that we become a constructive fiscal contributor to the community."

"Construction is so far within budget and on time," said Bob Anderson, of Eagle Creek Constructors, the project's general contractor. "We hope to be wrapping everything up by the end of January, so we're hoping for a few more weeks of warm, dry weather."

Population growth most likely underlies the present construction, Miller said, casting doubt on a recent U.S. Census Bureau report indicating the city's population has declined since 1990.

"I can't imagine that report is correct _ it must have made some poor assumptions. I think that in the year 2000, we will be redeemed, and the census will show a significant increase. When you consider all the housing developments that are going in, it's hard to imagine our population is on the decline."

Among the city's latest housing developments are the 86-unit Woodland Trails on Sapp Road, presently under construction; the 30-unit Diamond Acres and the 256-unit Annevar development on Diamond Street, Miller said.

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