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Coleman gets $500K for Ravenna project

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published: June 28, 2013 4:00 AM
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Coleman Professional Services has received a big chunk of the funding it needs to complete the Phoenix Project in downtown Ravenna.

The Ohio Development Services Agency has awarded historical tax credits of $515,000 for the housing and retail project planned for the landmark. Coleman was the only agency in Portage County to receive the funding, one of seven recipients in northeast Ohio and one of 22 across the state.

Coleman plans to put 10 apartments in the historic downtown building, spelled Phenix in 19th century documents. The plan also calls for three retail units on the ground floor.

The project cost is estimated at more than $2.6 million, and is expected to be complete in the fall of 2014.

"We are excited about this important funding opportunity," said Nelson Burns, president and CEO of Coleman Professional Services. "Coleman's Phoenix Project will bring an investment of $2.6 million in downtown Ravenna and will be a win-win for people with mental illness and the city of Ravenna."

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Susan Schweitzer, who wrote the grant for Coleman, said The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a 25 percent tax credit for the rehabilitation expenses to owners and lessees of historically significant buildings.

One qualification that makes buildings eligible is being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Phoenix Building is listed individually, and as part of the historic downtown district.

Coleman also has applied for federal tax credits, which are for 20 percent of the project cost.

The project has received funding from a number of sources, including the Henry V. and Frances W. Christenson Foundation, the Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust, JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and the Coleman Foundation. Other grants or loans include the Ohio Development Services Agency, Portage County Commissioners, and the City of Ravenna.

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Coleman also has applied for the Discretionary Targets of Opportunity Grants for Small Cities through the city of Ravenna.

Kerry Macomber, Ravenna's director of economic development, said the city is expecting to learn this week whether the project is approved for the Discretionary Targets of Opportunity grant, which is expected to total about $250,000.

"They have a very ambitious project with the Phoenix Building and it's going to require a lot of funding sources," she said. "This is one of many."

"This to me is a prime example of what kind of collaboration is needed to save our downtown," she said. "These projects aren't cheap, but they will have a significant effect on Main Street."

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

Facebook: Diane Smith, Record-Courier

Twitter: @DianeSmith_RC

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ravennaresident Jul 1, 2013 3:59 PM

Someone brought this to my attention as well - (they know Ravenna too well).  When the article states there will be 3 retail units on the ground floor - here's what they will be - retail shops selling the "wares" that their "clients" make - so they can pocket that money as well!

mlt67 Jun 28, 2013 11:35 PM

@SNC...do you live in Ravenna???  Probably not!  It's easy to say the stuff you say when you don't have to see your own hometown turn into a dumping ground for the low-income/welfare supported and the mentally ill.  Ravenna is going nowhere fast....they run out companies that can increase our tax revenue...but welcome projects like this that will have NO benefit to Ravenna...not only NO benefit, but will help Ravenna go down hill even faster than it already is.

The way I see it...we have more pizza places and drug stores than we'll ever need....a new high school that is already costing tax payers more money by requiring a new levy for already needed renovations???!!!  While our housing values decline (and they will continue to do so with this new Pheonix Project)...residents can't sell their homes quick enough to get out!  That new highschool is going to soon be vacant..because no one will want to raise their family in a town like Ravenna! This town will soon turn into a ghost town...with only the mentally ill and homeless wondering the streets and running out the businesses (because no one wants to be confronted...by freaks when they are minding their own business).

Yeah..I see all this stuff and it makes me sick everyday and its only going to get worse...with men walking around in skirts asking for money...people digging through trash cans in broad daylight....freaks ******* out in front of the PARTA bus stops...yeah...build an appartemnt for them all to live in THAT is what RAVENNA NEEDS!!! 

mcgwch Jun 28, 2013 4:24 PM

Some of the comments you made are true, Colemans staff does make some mistakes, I have a patient with them, they do have a great deal of doctors that come and go. Also, I must say that many mental health people don't have  any choice of where to go, I would like to go to a private phycistrist in the kent or ravenna, area but I can't find any... What else is in Ravenna anyway....Not much all the stores have gone.. Also even in Kent there is mental ill people it is everywhere and  some people like to put labels on us, or sweep us under the rug...So we can't be like the celebrities, who go into celebrity rehabs, like Dr. Drew...they can afford it we can't.....OMG...you shouldn't throw stones at people who are different than you. You never know when it might come back to haunt you...Like I said Coleman seems to have a monopoly on places to go for people who suffer from mental illness.

wolf1 Jun 28, 2013 1:48 PM

All I know is Kevin Coleman is a joke. My uncle was a client there and they treated him like a nobody. He was off his medication and when the family called, Coleman wouldnot do a welfare check or evaluation. Coleman called the police to do their job and check on him. They wouldnot even go with the police to check him. The police signed a psych slip to have him taken into the hospital for help. Dont let the articles in the paper sound like they are the greateset thing. It is nothing but smoke and mirrors. The only people benifiting from the facility is the admisitration and CEO. Their pockets are quit full of the stated/county money. I dont see any Coleman houses being built in Nelson Burns neigborhood. No, they put them in a run down city, where no one cares and they can blend in with all the other mentals downtown. Way to go Ravenna City, hey mayor and sidekick Kerry, where are you when they are going nutz downtown begging for money because COLEMAN does NOT keep in contact with thier clients. If they did, they would see the filth and deporable conditions they live in. 

snc Jun 28, 2013 11:05 AM

I just don't understand how everyone expects the mentally ill to get treatment in this country.   No one wants to deal with something that is so common, yet clearly makes them so uncomfortable.  So you saw a guy in a dress?  So what?  Exactly where do you expect the mentally ill to go?  Some penal colony on an island?  Locked up in a gulag?  Oh wait a minute, I forgot, someone elses back yard!  You just don't want to see them, hear them or have to treat them like fellow human beings, who truth be told have problems just like you, they just aren't able to hide them as well as you do. 

mcgwch Jun 28, 2013 10:48 AM

I can't believe all these comments,  As a person with a mental illness as myself, I find it very,rude of people who doesn't know what it is like, to have a mental illness, I must say, I am a person who never thought it was happenning to me. As nobody does. It is just like any other illness its just the brain. not all people with an illness is as you all describe. I am a very,neat person, very good with my speech, I have a good personality etc. I must say all people with an illness is not a dangerous person. I applaud Kevin Coleman for being able to give people with a mental illness, a nice place to live. Why shouldn't we be able to live a have way decent life...Why should they have to be homeless, you all need to get educated on people with a handicap. There is such a thing as Karma, you never know when you might be in the similar situation...

omg Jun 28, 2013 10:27 AM

Lol. Seriously. Omg. I refuse to come downtown now. My wife needed to get a ring fixed at Sydmores (feel sorry for). When she came out she was approached by a man in a skirt (filthy). Looked like a dirty version of Jesus Christ. He wanted money and told my wife he was a minister. Are you kidding me.  Are you kidding me!  I wonder why Aurora doesn't have any Coleman uh let's say clients housing there. I wonder where ole Nelson Burns lives, or if he has the clients near him.  Good thing I can go to Kent. Now that turned out nice!  Way to go Ravenna your on the rise! Can't wait for my house to sell. But that's another story with my housing value. 

To quote ole Kerry M.  " this will have a significant effect on Main St."  Lmao. That's a under statement. Where does Ravenna get these people.

ravennaresident Jun 28, 2013 8:33 AM

Coleman's Phoenix Project will bring an investment of $2.6 million in downtown Ravenna and will be a win-win for people with mental illness and the city of Ravenna."  So from what I understand - the only way to improve the downtown area - is to get funding - and bring in more of the mentally ill - which this City has more than it's share to begin with - also you know what that means - it won't bring in any revenue - because they are tax exempt!  Watch out Ravenna - soon the mentally ill will be the majority in Ravenna - if not already!

tomjones Jun 28, 2013 8:20 AM

Oh wonderful...Kevin Coleman has found a way to get their clients a permainant fixture in downtown Ravenna. I'm sure that the 3 retail sites will be something the city doesn't need that only serves Kevin Coleman's interest. Maybe one will be a flagpole climbing tour company.