Officials discussing future use of Summit DD property in Tallmadge

129,300-square-foot building will be vacant once employees are relocated to Cuyahoga Falls, Barberton

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
The Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities is planning to relocate its headquarters from its building  here on Howe Road in Tallmadge to a site in Cuyahoga Falls. Summit DD leaders are speaking with city and county officials about potential future uses for this building.

TALLMADGE — Officials with the city, county and Summit County Board of Developmental Disabilities are working together to determine the future use of Summit DD's Howe Road facilities once the site is vacated.

Within the next two years, Summit DD will move its headquarters from 89 Howe Road in Tallmadge to a building in Cuyahoga Falls that the agency is planning to expand by 7,000 square feet.

There are currently 275 employees at the 129,300 square-foot building on Howe Road, according to Russell DuPlain, director of information technology and facilities at Summit DD. He emphasized that most of those employees meet with people served by the organization at community locations and do not actually work in the building.

"At minimum, we know there will be 130 [full-time employees] assigned to the Cuyahoga Falls location and the rest will be distributed between the Cuyahoga Falls and Barberton locations as our design plans are more finalized," DuPlain said.

John Trunk, superintendent of Summit DD, said his organization is planning to start construction of the addition to the building at 2355 Second St. in Cuyahoga Falls in spring of 2021 and is looking to relocate 130 employees from Tallmadge to the Cuyahoga Falls site by spring of 2022.

Once the relocation of employees to the Cuyahoga Falls and Barberton sites is finished, Summit DD will no longer operate from the Tallmadge location, said DuPlain, who added that a sale of that Howe Road property is being eyed.

"We continue to work with the county and city of Tallmadge for our Tallmadge campus," said DuPlain. "It is our plan to sell the Tallmadge campus and [we] are exploring options to divide it into four parcels. It's too early to speculate on what will happen with those parcels, but … the county has expressed an interest in two of the four parcels."

Matthew Springer, economic developer for the city of Tallmadge, said his staff is "working closely" with Summit DD and Summit County officials on "potential reuses of the Howe Road facilities."

From the early 1970s until the end of 2018, Summit DD used three county-owned buildings in Tallmadge on Howe Road near North Avenue. Today, according to Trunk, the organization is using one structure, the 129,300-square-foot building on Howe Road. Summit DD once had a 36,500-square-foot adult day center at the corner of Howe Road and North Avenue, but the site has been vacant since the start of 2019, according to Trunk. The third building was an 11,600-square-foot transportation center that was once used by Summit DD and is now being used by the county’s Department of Environmental Services.

"It is very likely a collaboration will occur between the county and city and the buildings will be backfilled with productive reuses and employment opportunities," Springer said. "These conversations are ongoing."

Cuyahoga Falls City Council on Monday approved authorizing the mayor to enter an amended economic development and lease agreement with Summit DD in conjunction with the anticipated expansion of the agency's building at 2355 Second St. in Cuyahoga Falls. This move comes a year after Summit DD announced that it was relocating its headquarters from Tallmadge to Cuyahoga Falls.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.