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Coleman project in Ravenna moving forward

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published: August 25, 2013 4:00 AM
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The renovation of a long-vacant landmark in downtown Ravenna is moving forward, with Coleman Professional Services having amassed most of the $2.6 million in funding needed to make the project happen.

The Ravenna Planning Commission is expected to vote on a conditional use certificate for the downtown landmark Phoenix Building after a public hearing at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. The regular meeting will follow the public hearing.

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The permit is for Coleman Professional Services' 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. Coleman plans to spend $2.6 million on the project.

Ravenna City Council is in the process of accepting another source of funding for the project.

The Discretionary Targets of Opportunity Grant, issued through the city, will bring nearly $250,000 into the project.

Susan Schweitzer, grant writer for Coleman, said there are many other sources of funding, including Community Development Block Grant dollars through Portage County commissioners.

"It was great teamwork," she said.

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The Ohio Development Services Agency has awarded historical tax credits of $515,000 for the housing and retail planned for the landmark.

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.

Funding for the project totals $2.3 million so far, Schweizer said.

John Apaydin, who renovated the building next door to the landmark, plans to be in attendance at Tuesday's public hearing.

"It's been one hell of a mess," he said.

Apaydin said the problems started when sewer lines for the project were tied to a cracked line. He said he called three contractors to solve the problem of the resulting sewage in his building.

"All three of them charged me a pretty penny without fixing it," he said.

Meanwhile, Apaydin's wife noticed a problem with the gutters on Coleman's building, which he said were "sagging and swinging in the wind." The broken gutters eventually sent water pouring onto the ground, and finding its way into his basement, something Apaydin said he noticed in the next heavy rain storm.

"It was coming down like Niagara Falls," he said.

Schweitzer said Coleman's operations team is aware of the problem. The roofing work is expected to be done in mid-September, along with asbestos remediation on the structure.

"September is really when we're going to hit the ground running on the project," she said. "People will see a lot of thing happening in September."

The project is expected to be completed by fall 2014.

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

Facebook: Diane Smith, Record-Courier

Twitter: @DianeSmith_RC

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revenian Aug 26, 2013 3:26 PM

At least CPS is willing to do something to keep buildings from crumbling down - that dinosaur Phoenix has been sitting there for years without anyone doing any work on it. AND - they purchased it - didn't ask the city or county to hand it over. What if no one bought the Phoenix? There would be a lot more damage and Apaydin would have more structural problems.

Loitering is a problem in cities everywhere, not just Ravenna - it just happens that the block next to the Phoenix is the Catholic Charities free coffee place. In Akron, the hub of loitering is the main library.

If you want progress in our pathetic little city, find someone to buy the neglected buildings and fix them up - oh, wait, the council and the planning commission will try to cut off any attempt to improve Ravenna if it goes against their personal agendas. You want change? Vote out the dead weight on the council.



dre Aug 26, 2013 1:28 PM

How does it feel to know CPS owns your town? Lol...good luck with that loitering issue :)