Cuyahoga Falls -- City Council will vote July 27 whether to accept a free piece of land on South Front Street to be converted into a public parking lot.

Parcel 12.08875, located at 1659 S. Front St., is being donated by the Community Improvement Corporation, the city community development director, Diane Sheridan, told Council during a committee meeting July 20.

"Approximately four years ago, the CIC purchased the parcel at auction with the intention of it being donated to the city to become a parking lot," Sheridan said. "In 2013 and 2014, the city received grant funding from NEFCO (Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization) The city then utilized CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) to raze the blighted structure."

The property being donated is located between two parcels owned by Arkay Properties LLC, whose principal, Rick Krochka, is in the midst of a major renovation of a historical factory which will be the new home of Krochka's ad agency Triad/Next Level. The land eyed for public parking is also near Summit County Metroparks land.

In separate legislation, City Council is being asked by the administration to approve a three-way lease agreement with Arkay and Metroparks where the city will construct a parking lot, a trailhead and other improvements on the parcel for use as access to the Cuyahoga Falls Chestnut Trailhead, said Janet Ciotola, the city's deputy law director. Arkay Properties will utilize part of the parking lot for its business, Tria/Next Level, at 1701 S. Front St., and Metroparks will use it as public access to the trailhead, said Ciotola.

The lease agreement is for 75 years and the city would not be charged any rent, she said. "This project will bring nice parking to this area downtown and encourage citizens to enjoy the trailhead and the Metroparks trail," Ciotola added.

"I think it's critical with the development on South Front Street that the city invest in projects like this," said Council Preisdent Mary Ellen Pyke (R-2). "This is the kind of parking lot I see as open space It's important to us we don't take the entire east side of Front Street and put one building after another; that we allow the public to have access to the beautiful Cuyahoga River."

OTHER BUSINESS

City Council will also vote on placing an amendment to the city Charter on the Nov. 3 ballot that would grant the Cuyahoga Falls Civil Service Commission the authority to write its own rules and regulations subject to City Council's approval.

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