City, Hanson Family reach tentative agreement for land purchase

Krista S. Kano
Akron Beacon Journal

The city of Stow has reached a tentative agreement with the Hanson Family, a longstanding family in the Stow community, to purchase the 36 acres of land on the corner of Call Road and Young Road.

Finance director Jim Costello said the city is paying $2 million for the two parcels, which in total have an appraised value of $697,300 according to the Summit County auditor's website. 

Mayor John Pribonic noted, however, that the city had its own independent appraisal completed six weeks ago, which came back with a market value of $1.425 million. 

With other competing offers, the Hanson Family has agreed in principle to sell their property to the city rather than a developer, so that the land may be preserved and maintained as potential open and recreational space.

"The high price offered by a developer was $2.05 million, and we offered $2 million, so they took $50,000 less so they could sell to the city of Stow," Pribonic said, adding that the city has been in negotiations since October. 

The Hanson property comprises two parcels, both of which will be included in the sale. One parcel is 10.5 acres and currently encompasses the Fox Den Golf Course driving range. The city has been leasing this property from the Hanson Family for 15 years and operating it as the driving range. The second parcel includes the Hanson Family home, the former tree farm, and a small family cemetery.

City officials say the purchase will be a "sound investment" for the city, and will benefit the community in many ways. For the golf course, the city will retain and improve the existing driving range, which is an essential portion of the golf course business.

The purchase will also provide an opportunity for the city to create another cemetery. Currently, Stow’s three existing cemeteries have reached near capacity. Additionally, plenty of acreage will be available for future recreational needs. The property could potentially provide access to resolve connectivity in that area of the city, among other recreational options.

“The city is currently poised to undertake a Master Plan of all parks and recreational facilities, so the timing for this acquisition is perfect,”  Pribonic said. “The process will include many avenues for community engagement. We encourage residents to seize the opportunity to weigh in on potential uses for this property as the city moves forward with the master plan.”

“The city of Stow is currently in sound financial standing,” Costello said. “This property acquisition will be an investment in a community asset for the city’s future.”

Council president Sindi Harrison, whose ward covers the property, and Council vice president Jeremy McIntire said that the purchase would allow the city to preserve green space while also preventing potential flooding and traffic that could have stemmed from development. 

Ward 1 Councilman Dennis Altieri was the sole dissenting vote. He did not provide a reason. 

A timeline for the transfer of the property to the city of Stow has not yet been determined.

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