The Cuyahoga Falls City Council approved a rezoning ordinance on Monday night that will help pave the way for the much-anticipated Portage Crossing project.
Council voted 10-1 on the measure with Councilwoman Carol Klinger casting the dissenting vote.
In doing so, the former State Road Shopping Center site has been rezoned from MU-4 (mixed-use "suburban corridor") to C-1 "Commercial District" to better conform with the actual land use that developer Stark Enterprises envisions, according to Fred Guerra, the city’s planning and zoning director.
Stark requested the zoning change earlier this summer because construction of the new Menards and Giant Eagle anchor stores would most likely be hampered by mixed use development guidelines.
When asked on Monday night if a groundbreaking date had been announced, Cuyahoga Falls Development Director Sue Truby said she speaks to Stark representatives on a "weekly basis" and has not yet been informed when construction will begin.
Once started, the one-phase, $60 million project will take about two years to complete.
Howe Avenue road repairs approved
Cuyahoga Falls city officials have secured funding to reconstruct Howe Avenue from Main Street to Bucholzer Boulevard, and the ordinance on whether to move ahead with the road improvement project passed 11-0 on Monday night by City Council.
However, construction probably won't begin for another four of five years.
According to Cuyahoga Falls Engineer Tony Demasi, the first step of the project includes the completion of a three-year design plan. Then, by about 2015, the project would be bid out by the Ohio Department of Transportation in order to hire the necessary contractors for construction.
Construction would most likely be underway by 2016 or 2017, and it could be complete in one year, or possibly two. The road will remain open in each direction during the improvement process.
Design and construction would cost the city roughly $1.3 million with the other $3.2 million coming from AMATS (Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study) surface transportation program funds.
Demasi noted that current plans don’t call for a widening of Howe, but there has been discussion about updating the traffic lights to improve the flow of everyday commuters and emergency vehicles.
The “street department will maintain the road the best it can until construction begins,” said Demasi.
Maintenance will mainly consist of patching cracks and ruts with asphalt.