CAC - January 28th 2013
Citizens Advisory Committee
January 28, 2013
The Citizens Advisory Committee met on Monday, January 28, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center.
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Brenda Bodnar (Chair)
Tom Marrie, Council Representative
Diane Wolgamuth, Director of Administration/Committee Secy.
Presentation by Cuyahoga County District 6 Representative Jack Schron
Mrs. Bodnar welcomed Mr. Schron to the meeting and thanked him for attending and agreeing to speak. Mr. Schron spoke at length about economic development in downtown Cleveland and throughout Cuyahoga County, including an update on the Medical Mart that is expected to open this year. Mr. Schron also spoke about the County’s property consolidation plan and the plans for the new County offices. A copy of Mr. Schron’s PowerPoint presentation is attached. The presentation was followed by a question and answer period.
What are you seeing in the County with respect to regionalization of services by municipalities?
Mr. Schron stated that the best example is the County’s health care program that is being offered to employees throughout the County, saving municipalities money on health care costs. Mr. Schron stated that he has seen some buying groups and, more rarely, merger/consolidation of municipalities. He believes that consolidation of dispatch, fire and police services will become more widespread.
Do you have any ideas of what might happen to the Cleveland Board of Education Building?
Mr. Schron responded that the property is being auctioned. His suggestion would be to make it into a boutique hotel.
What is going on in the flats?
Mr. Schron described some of the condominium projects and restaurants expected to come to this area. In addition, the law firm of Tucker Ellis is moving to the east bank; their office construction is expected to be finished in 3-4 months.
What more is being built at the Horseshoe Casino?
Mr. Schron explained that the owners of the casino had already purchased the property on the other side of W. Huron Road when the issue was placed on the ballot. They realized that the Higbee building was available and decided to make that Phase I. Phase II will include building on the land that had already been purchased. Mr. Schron predicted that high-end shops will return to Tower City.
Further, Mr. Schron stated that he chaired the Casino Revenue Fund. The original thought was to spend 100% of the revenue in Cleveland. Instead, it turned out that the money goes to Columbus and is split equally among all 88 counties, with the State receiving a portion. Mr. Schron proposed that until all four casinos are open in the State, it is impossible to know what the revenues will look like. He suggested that for the next two years, the money be put into reserves. That is what is happening and the revenues will be distributed at that time.
How many hotel rooms are in Cleveland and how many are being planned?
Mr. Schron described the various hotel projects being planned. He could not provide a specific number but said there will be enough hotel rooms for the 30,000 visitors expected for the Senior Games in July 2013.
Are there any plans for the Burke Lakefront property?
That property is being considered along with Hopkins and the County Airport in the County’s 5-year business plan.
Is Mayfield Village’s Economic Development Department working with the County?
Mr. Schron confirmed that the County and the Village work together on a regular basis. Mr. Marrie added that Mr. Schron has previously attended a Community & Economic Development Meeting with Mayor Rinker and some members of Council. Mr. Schron described the $100 million fund being targeted to attract businesses that is available to Mayfield Village businesses and spoke of the fiber optics that the Village installed on Beta Drive to attract high-tech businesses.
Are you finding that trained, skilled manufacturing jobs have a place in the County?
Mr. Schron stated that he strongly believes that they do and described the internet-based “Tooling University” that he started with his son. Mr. Schron added that skilled trades today are different than in the past and factories are now called “tech distribution centers”. “Today’s factory is exciting and dynamic and there is a skilled labor shortage.”
Is Tri-C doing any training?
Yes, in skilled machinery, welding, robotics, etc. Tri-C is also involved in sound recording, another rapidly expanding industry in this area.
Many boats at the lakefront are dry-docked. Can the County purchase and develop these areas?
Mr. Schron stated that the Port Authority will be moving soon and that this area will be developed.
What can be done about panhandlers downtown?
Mr. Schron responded that the area is booming despite the fact that we haven’t hosted any conventions yet. He believes we are on the right road.
Election of Chair
Mrs. Bodnar thanked Sandy Batcheller for proposing the idea to invite Mr. Schron to speak. Everyone agreed that his presentation was excellent and inspiring.
Mrs. Bodnar stated that she would like to serve again. Joan Catalano seconded and all members present voted unanimously in favor of re-electing Mrs. Bodnar.
Approval of Minutes
The Committee approved the Minutes of November 26, 2012 as written.
Mr. Marrie reported that he had three economic development updates to provide:
- The Euclid Industries Building on Beta Drive has been purchased by Premier Development. They plan to renovate and lease it.
- Governor’s Village is expanding and adding 48 new beds.
- A development at SOM Center and White Road (known as East Commons) is moving forward with the construction of several one-story buildings. Details are still being worked out.
Ms. Wolgamuth stated that one of the changes she has noticed with the new County government is that on some occasions, when legislation is passed, it is provided to municipalities with a recommendation that similar legislation be considered. Last year, the County banned pesticides on all County-owned property. On February 12, 2013, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, “Beyond Pesticides Ohio” is hosting a free seminar at the Civic Center regarding organic lawn care. Surrounding municipalities and property owners have been invited to attend. Residents are also welcome if they have an interest in learning how to care for their lawns without chemicals.
The Committee discussed traffic back-up at Wilson Mills and SOM, particularly issues with turning right toward I-271.
The Committee also discussed the need to increase lighting in the parking lot at the Civic Center. They commented about the continuing difficulty with drivers not obeying the arrows and coming straight through the lot in the wrong direction. They recommended that a sign or an island be installed, even if it makes it more difficult to plow snow.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled on Monday, February 25, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Diane Wolgamuth, Committee Secretary