Tallmadge eying purchase of former Summit DD school

Krista S. Kano
Kent Weeklies
The Summit County DD site is pictured Monday at North Avenue (State Route 91) and Howe Road in Tallmadge.

Tallmadge plans topurchase a portion of the property soon to be left vacant by the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board, and is considering a variety of uses including a culinary school, nonprofit hub and a daycare. 

MORE: Summit DD plans expansion as part of relocation to Cuyahoga Falls

The site, located at North Avenue (state Route 91) and Howe Road, includes three buildings, a baseball field and soccer fields. 

According to the agreement under consideration, the county would sell the 129,300-square-foot building and the athletic fields to the city for $1.

"The building is broken into different wings, so there could be multiple uses," Mayor David Kline said. "The cafeteria could be a culinary school and provide food to different groups. Could our parks and rec department take care of the gym? The sky's the limit here, and I think it's so exciting what it could be turned into." 

They are also considering using classroom wings as a one-stop shop for nonprofits like the Lions Club, Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce; or possibly creating an incubator wing that would rent space to fledgling businesses as they develop and grow, similar to the Bounce Innovation Hub in Akron.

"We're certainly not interested in competing with them, but I think at the same time, there's some real opportunities here to create a small business/entrepreneur hub — certainly a hub for nonprofits and others that are for profit. There's a lot of creative uses here and the bones of the building are in excellent condition," Tallmadge Planning Director and Economic Developer Matthew Springer told the City Council. 

MORE: Tallmadge leaders examining future uses for Summit DD 

Springer and Kline have walked through the building multiple times with developers who have confirmed that it is in good condition, and the county completed environmental phase 1 review. BJAAM Environmental Inc., which worked on Tallmadge Circle and Six Corners, is now reviewing it on behalf of the city. 

"It's not a teardown, but we did get a teardown cost for the worst case, in case there was asbestos. Demolition is close to $1 million to remove it and return to green space, but in my opinion and others' opinions, it's too good of a building to tear down," Kline said. 

Kline added that they are still in the early stages and do not yet have any interested tenants. 

The agreement had its first reading before Summit County Council on Monday and will be discussed in committee on Nov. 30. It is expected to go before Tallmadge City Council on Dec. 10. 

Formerly the Weaver School and Workshop, the building is zoned for a school and would have to be rezoned to allow for multi-use. 

If approved, the city would take ownership of the building no earlier than 2022. 

The sale also includes the soccer fields, which the city leases for $1 on a 99-year lease, and the baseball field that is used by the Tallmadge Little League Challenger Division.

As per the agreement, the county would retain ownership of the western building for the new regional dispatch center and the eastern building as a garage for sheriff's office vehicles and Department of Environmental Services vehicles. The DD Board would also lease at least 4,000 square feet of storage space in the eastern garage building for $1 for 20 years. 

MORE: Summit County, cities moving forward on regional dispatch plan

Reporter Krista S. Kano can be reached at 330-541-9416, kkano@thebeaconjournal.com or on Twitter @KristaKanoABJ.