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$3.5 million parking project moving forward in Medina

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MEDINA — The city is moving forward on using a $1 million grant toward building a two-story parking structure near city hall.

City Engineer Patrick Patton said construction is expected to start in the fall and likely would be finished sometime in the late summer or early fall 2019.

The parking deck would be built on the site of the former Masonic Temple, which was demolished in 2016 on North Elmwood Avenue.

The city will use a design-build method of construction, Patton said, similar to what was used for the parking deck at the Medina County Courthouse in 2008. Ruhlin Construction was the design-builder on that project.

Under this method, design and construction services are contracted by a single entity known as the design-builder or design-build contractor.

“We hire a contractor and they’ll hire an architect and engineer to work for them,” Patton said. “We don’t have a direct relationship with the architect and engineer. Our contract will be with the builder.”

Patton said he spoke with several contractors, who recommended this method of construction. He said no funds are needed at this time.

Three design firms eventually will be asked to make formal bids on the estimated $3.5 million project.

The city will put a $1 million grant it already has secured toward the project.

“The grant requires us to enter into a contract by spring 2019,” Patton said.

“By that point, we’d have two years to finish the project.”

City officials believe the parking structure will stimulate uptown growth.

“This whole process we’re talking about includes carving off a portion on West Liberty (Street) that will be sold off and developed as retail and apartments on the frontage on Liberty,” Council President John Coyne said at Monday’s City Council meeting. “That kind of makes that work with the TIF agreement.”

Coyne said the city will come up with the money up front for the project and will be reimbursed via tax increment financing, which is a public financing method is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure and other community-improvement projects. Through TIF, municipalities typically divert future property tax revenue increases from a defined area or district toward an economic development project.

The city is hopeful money generated via TIF over 30 years will cover the city’s share for the parking deck.

“It’s almost a wash,” Coyne said.

“We’re trying to get this thing going,” Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said. “Developers are calling (city Economic Development Director) Kimberly (Marshall) weekly or biweekly, trying to get that project moving.”

Hanwell said it’s hopeful that retail development will occur from Sully’s Irish Pub, 117 W. Liberty St., to the Donald J. Pease Federal Building, 143 W. Liberty St. Part of the TIF district includes a two-story apartment/retail structure on North Court Street, the site of the former Medina Area Chamber of Commerce.

In other news:

Council’s Finance Committee voted to convert the economic development and marketing associate position now held by Barbara Dzur from part time to full time.

“The workload has really increased (for that spot),” Marshall said. “Changing from part time to full time is justified.”

It previously was a 29-hour-a-week job that paid about $32,678 a year. The new starting salary will be $45,073.60, Marshall said. It will be paid out of carryforward funds, supplemented from the Economic Development JEDD Fund.

The position entails performing a full range of tasks, including the office’s major projects and initiatives, business assistance, resource development and marketing, and writing news releases.

The motion passed 5-2, with Councilmen Jim Shields and Mark Kolesar voting against it. Council will vote on the measure at its next meeting.

Hanwell said the city needs to capitalize on the positive momentum it has going.

“If I didn’t think this was important, we wouldn’t be here talking about it,” he said. “It’s going to take more to carry the load there. If not, we can’t do the amount of working coming in.”

Marshall agreed.

“It’s a tool we use to get the job done and to move forward,” she said.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.

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