Northfield Village -- A 0.75 percent levy proposal for Sagamore Hills, a new town hall for Northfield Village residents and big plans for Macedonia's future if voters approve income tax increases.

Sagamore Hills Trustee Paul Schweikert, Northfield Village Mayor Jesse Nehez and Macedonia Mayor Joe Migliorini had some big news for members of the Nordonia Hills Chamber of Commerce's annual "State of the Communities" luncheon Sept. 8 at Spennato's Italian Ristorante in Northfield Village.

Northfield Center Trustees had been invited to send a representative, but none were available, said Northfield Center Township Administrator Sam Ciocco.

Sagamore Hills

Schweikert discussed the pending dissolution of the Northfield Center-Sagamore Hills Fire District in favor of fire service contracts the two townships have made with the city.

He drew applause from the audience by thanking Migliorini and city employees for all they have done to prepare to assume fire and emergency medical services in the township Sept. 14. He credited city firefighters in particular for their help painting the new substation.

"What we've got on the agenda for this upcoming year ... We will ask for a three-quarter mill levy for the fire department," he said. "It would probably have been 5 mills if we had stuck with the old system."

He said the vote on the proposal would be for next November.

Schweikert announced work rebuilding Canyonview Road began Sept. 7, and added the township is seeking grants to complete the project's subsequent phase, as well as for work on McNeil Drive off S. Boyden Road.

Phase I of the Canyonview Road project began at Greenwood Parkway and will include approximately 1,300 feet of the road toward Route 82. The work is being performed by Tri Mor Corp. for $317,978.

Schweikert also discussed current and proposed residential development projects, beginning with a 52-acre lot off Houghton Road, nicknamed the Mottl property after its owner.

"A lot of people thought that this was going to be developed this year -- it's not. Right now it's going to go to litigation," he said, adding he understands the property owner and development firm are at odds over the property.

Universal Development has proposed building 192 units housed in 24 two-story and 24 one-story four-plexes on the land -- a plan Trustees say does not conform with township zoning.

Schweikert then mentioned two other developers, starting with the 22-unit Hidden Ridge subdivision being built by Kraftech Homes off Dunham Road just north of Canal Road.

"So far he's complied with each of our zoning requirements, so we're pleased with that development," Schweikert said.

He then discussed the former 93-acre Board of Education property at the north end of Dunham Road, where another development firm's proposal was at odds with township zoning rules.

He said nothing new has been presented to the township regarding the property.

"What we require in Sagamore, if you want to live here, if you want to build here, you've got to have one home, one acre," he said. "If you come to Sagamore and you play by the rules, you're welcome. If you come and you think you're going to set the agenda, it's going to be a hard road to go."

Northfield Village

Nehez also mentioned the dissolution of the fire district

"Our community is going to be here for Macedonia, Northfield Center, Sagamore Hills, whenever you may need help with the fire district," he said. "It didn't make sense for us to go with you at this time, but we're here to help whenever we can."

He said the village plans to do work on 11 roads in the presidential subdivision and Maple Avenue, paint fire hydrants in the village -- as well as begin making major changes in three village municipal buildings.

"The current town hall ... we're looking at turning into a police station and moving the town hall over to the new bank building that we got for $1 this year, and then we're looking at adding on to our fire station, which will have living quarters, restrooms, locker rooms and things like that."

The village accepted the donation of the 3,659-square-foot bank building across North Plaza Drive from village hall earlier this year. It was built in 1966 and had been vacant for about eight years. It is valued at around $400,000, according to the Summit County Fiscal Office.

"This year it's going to be going into the planning stages," Nehez said. "It's going to take a lot of money, but we've got a new finance director in there who I think is going to move us into the right direction and allow me to fund this thing."

Nehez also said he plans to work on a beautification plan for Route 8 through the village. He said the plan would include "pocket plantings" in conjunction with property owners, as well as a beautification plan for the parks, including a new pavilion and parking at Smith Park, among other amenities.

Nehez also said village officials have discussed plans for a hotel at the Hard Rock Rocksino Northfield Park.

"We're also talking with the track at this time about the possibility of a hotel. We've been told five stories, we've been told 10 stories, but we're not sure yet," he said. "But there are talks going on. We're not sure if it's going to come next year or the following year."


Migliorini also addressed the change in fire service. He said Sagamore Hills has done good work in building its substation, but added the city has some issues with access from the substation to Valley View Road.

"We're going to provide them with some traffic signals, some controllers ... so we can make it safer while they're exiting out of the fire station there."

Migliorini also discussed new commercial development projects, starting with The Avenue at Macedonia skilled nursing facility on Valley View Road just up the road from the Macedonia City Center.

"It's probably going to be open by the spring of next year," he said.

The $18 million project will bring the city 100 jobs, he said.

Migliorini also said the city planning commission has approved a Marriott Hotel for land off S. Bedford Road by the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio.

He also said the International House of Pancakes hopes to open in the city.

Migliorini then began explaining what he hopes to accomplish with two proposed income tax measures set for the Nov. 8 ballot, beginning with one meant to renew a 0.25 percent tax earmarked for parks and recreation. That tax is due to expire next June.

"It's not a new tax," he said. "That's what funded the recreation center back in the 1990s and we're hoping that the residents of our community will continue to endorse that and allow us then to move forward with putting a gymnasium on the building, enhancing the paths through the park, and also talk about a splash park outside in addition to the pool area. This will be an amenity to the city."

Migliorini noted the city has already proceeded with building new dugouts on the ballfields in Longwood Park, and has plans to install lighting so night games can be played.

He also discussed the 0.25 percent tax that would be earmarked for roads and stormwater management.

"We have about $20 million worth of streets that need paving right now," he said.

Migliorini noted the tax rate in many neighboring communities has increased, meaning residents who live in Macedonia and work in those towns are already paying higher tax rates -- without their home town gaining the benefit.

"We don't want to be left in the dust. It's an absolute necessity. If you want to be a progressive community, you have to move in that direction," he said.

Migliorini said road projects on Route 82 and Interstate 271 are wrapping up and announced the city has applied for state funding to upgrade the Highland Road -- Valley View Road intersection.

"We just submitted our plans for a roundabout at Highland Road and Valley View," he said. "We've actually found it is cheaper to put in a roundabout than it is to put in a full-control [intersection] with turning lanes and traffic lights and everything."

He said it would cost $700,000 to upgrade the intersection in the traditional manner, but only $600,000 to convert the intersection into a roundabout.

Eric Marotta: 330-541-9433