MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The city is moving ahead with initial plans that could lead to the redevelopment of the Mayland Block section of Mayfield Road, but City Council didn't vote to go forward without discussion.
At its June 27 meeting, council voted 4-2 in favor of entering into an agreement with Coral Strategies and design and consulting firm AECOM to start the redevelopment process on the south side of Mayfield Road.
The Mayland Block area, or Mayfield Corridor, is not a precisely defined area, but it is made of up of several older storefronts in the vicinity of the Play Arcade and Kitchen, 5900 Mayfield Road, which was long the home of the Mayland Theater.
Council elected to spend $25,000 on the first phase of development. Coral and AECOM, in October, 2014, started a study that eventually determined that a redevelopment project was viable and feasible. Phase one of the six-phase project would see Coral and AECOM work to gain control for the city of properties to be redeveloped.
Coral President Peter Rubin called this the most challenging phase in that different property owners have different values in mind for their properties, while some may not be interested in selling. Rubin said at a council Committee-of-the-Whole meeting June 9 that he believed a mixed use that could include recreational, retail and other uses the city may desire, could be best for the area.
Rubin, initial developer of Cedar Center North in South Euclid and Cedar Center in University Heights, envisioned a development that allows for better pedestrian movement.
If all five preparatory phases are undertaken, the total cost to Mayfield Heights would not exceed $160,000.
Discussion about approving the agreement centered on the legislation's call to appropriate $160,000 for all six phases, while spending the initial $25,000.
Council members Robert DeJohn, Donald Manno and Council President Gayle Teresi questioned why all $160,000 had to be immediately appropriated.
"I can see us spending $25,000, but I can't see putting out $160,000 for the whole thing," Manno said.
DeJohn told Mayor Anthony DiCicco and council members that more than $1350,000 has already been spent for a Mayfield Corridor design manual and feasibility study. Further, DeJohn said he never got to see the results of the reports for which the city had paid.
"It was a tough vote for me," DeJohn said two days after the council meeting. "We have a lot of money invested already in this project."
Like Manno, DeJohn wanted the $25,000 expenditure to stand alone from the $160,000 appropriation.
"They're (the administration) asking us to make decisions in the blind, without all the information on the table," DeJohn said.
DiCicco told DeJohn that the plans have been available for him to peruse.
Frustrated that passage might not occur, DiCicco told council, "The feasibility is there. To drag this out any more, we are losing a golden opportunity to do something with one of the most developable and most underdeveloped (areas), and one of the places where every resident in the city wants something done."
Law Director Paul Murphy told council that by agreeing to appropriate all $160,000, it would guard against the possibility of future phases increasing in price.
DiCicco added that council still has the ability to stop the project during any phase, and that appropriation of the entire $160,000 guarantees the project will move forward in a timely fashion.
In the end, DeJohn joined council members Donna Finney, Diane Snider and Joseph Mercurio in voting for the agreement, while Manno and Teresi remained opposed. Councilwoman Susan Sabetta was not in attendance.
No timetable has been set as to when the first phase will be completed.
In other news from the June 27 council meeting, legislation was approved that will allow Costco, 1409 Golden Gate Blvd., to slightly increase the hours in which its gas station operates.
"They wanted to get the (Mayfield Heights station) in line with their other gas stations in the area," DiCicco said of the change.
The change allows Costco to dispense gas from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays. The hours have been 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Weekend hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Costco representative Ted Johns said the company sent letters to 29 residents on Bonnie Lane and Maplewood Road stating Costco's intentions. No objections were received.
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