Avon Growth News, 4-25-08 to 4-24-09

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4-25-08 A very good year for Avon water

5-22-08 Rolling Thunder pit stop in Avon

6-25-08 Avon Isle bridge to be replaced

8-5-08 The green 68 gallon recycle totes are here

8-9-08 Commuter Rail NOW!

8-21-08 Linens-N-Things closes at Avon Commons

11-4-08 Avon Ballot Issues

3-27-09 Westlake closes Avon Road

8-7-08 Detroit Rd. widening Public Hearing

LETTER to the Avon Schools, 2-29-08, by Bob Barnhart

``Mr. Jim Reitenbach, Superintendent; Mr. Kent Zeman, Treasurer

FROM: Bob Barnhart

DATE: February 29, 2008

Your letter dated February 25, 2008 is filled with statements which cannot be substantiated and I offer the following responses:

Statement: "If Avon Local Schools did not offer all day kindergarten, the district would utilize 16 bus routes to accommodate the transportation to both Village and East Schools (approximately 742 students transported).

Response: This routing would mean an average of 46+ students per route. There is absolutely no way you could provide timely student transportation with the two buildings being three miles apart. Your present actual bus routing of half day and full day kindergarten students average 16-25 per route for morning, mid-day and afternoon transportation.

Your Avon Village buses arrive 15-35 minutes late each afternoon (3:47-4:05 PM) and then for those buses to travel to Avon East would require 12 minutes plus 4 minutes to load and then depart at about 4:15-4:30 from East to take home 46 students. Many of the children would not arrive home until 5:45-6:00 PM. Absolutely no way would you transport these two building's students on the same bus routes.

Statement: "As a result of all day kindergarten it was decided to transport students in separate buses. This practice would not be necessary if all day kindergarten was not offered which would result in a net reduction of four (4) bus routes."

Response: This is an absolute false statement which cannot be substantiated. If there was no all day kindergarten those same students, as half day kindergarteners, would still be transported either in the morning or in the afternoon. In fact, you would more than double the number of mid-day runs to accommodate the 77 additional AM and 77 additional PM half day students.

Statement: "The mid-day runs are unaffected by the all day vs. half day opportunity."

Response: This statement is totally lacking in fact. If there were no full day kindergarten your mid-day bus runs would be more than doubled because you would have to transport an additional 154 students each mid-day.

The bottom line is that there is no way you would reduce the number of bus routes by eliminating full day kindergarten. You continue to offer erroneous information to try to justify your gross error of overcharging the parents of full day kindergarteners. These parents are ethically entitled to equal transportation as provided to all the Avon students and your manipulation of figures is unethical and should be corrected.''

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EDITORIAL from The Press, 1-2-08

``Better manners

"Disappointing" is just one of the words that describes the actions of the Avon Board of Education members at their most recent meeting.

During this meeting, former superintendent Bob Barnhart sought answers to questions regarding the district's all-day kindergarten response. Not only was he summarily ignored and eventually dismissed, the meeting left numerous residents appalled at the treatment of Mr. Barnhart, a longtime servant of the district, and a current Avon taxpayer.

Mr. Barnhart, who served for 20 years as the school district's head, raised important questions regarding the district's policies, including fees for all-day kindergarten. He requested the information over a month ago and while the board said they were aware of his questions, they provided no response.

Of course, in addition to the Avon Board of Education's need to be reminded that they do in fact owe taxpayers responses to legitimate questions, they need to extend some courtesy to those attending board meetings, especially individuals with longstanding institutional knowledge they could benefit from.

Instead, those at the meeting were treated to an embarrassing display of disrespect and arrogance not needed at a public meeting. For those not in attendance, Board President Dale Smitek, in an unusual display of hostility, had his gavel poised to quiet Mr. Barnhart before he even spoke.

We cannot say with certainty if Mr. Barnhart's concerns were entirely legitimate because no public response was offered. Instead, we are left wondering if the board is being unresponsive for a reason, raising even more questions.

It's hard enough that board meetings are held at a time that makes it difficult for most residents to attend. But making it difficult on those who take the time and effort to make the meetings is reprehensible.

We'd like to take up where Mr. Barnhart left off and request a full accounting of just how kindergarten fees have been determined. Avon residents should be asking the same questions as to where their money is going and how the city's children's education is determined.''

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LETTER to the Editor of The Press, by Bob Barnhart, 1-2-08

``To Avon full-day kindergarten parents:

The Avon Board of Education charges each family an additional $200 this year and claims it is for four additional bus routes for your full-day kindergartner.

The fact is that there are 18 bus routes for 128 half-day kindergarten children and 10 routes for 154 full-day children. Therefore, the parents of full-day kindergarten children receive fewer services, but pay an extra $30,800 (154 times $200).

In addition, your full-day kindergarten children are the only Avon students denied the opportunity to purchase a nutritional lunch each day of school. The Board has refused to offer milk to your child even though a Special Milk Program is available through the State Department of Education.

The Avon Board passed a new policy at their December meeting, [12-18-07] which denies full-day kindergarten children any opportunity to buy lunch or milk in future years. They passed this new, unfair policy because they were shown, in writing, that they have been violating their existing policy for at least the past three years.

It is extremely disappointing to have our Avon Board of Education make a special effort to deprive our full-day kindergarten children from the same services offered to all other Avon students.

The only remedy for the Avon Board's unfair treatment of full-day kindergarten children is for you, the parents of full-day kindergartners, to register a complaint for being over-charged for fewer services.

If you desire to discuss this matter, please contact me at (440) 213-5366 at your earliest convenience. Only you, the parents of full-day kindergarten children, can possibly turn around this unfair treatment.

Bob Barnhart, Avon''

Editor's note: Barnhart is a former superintendent of Avon City Schools.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-2-08, By Rebecca Turman

``Board president calls full-day kindergarten `cheap babysitting'

AVON -- A Dec. 18 [2007] Board of Education meeting became heated after a former superintendent asked for but didn't receive answers, and a board member called questioning all-day kindergarten policies a "silly issue." ...

"What it (all-day kindergarten) is, is cheap babysitting," Smitek said ...''

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Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

Title: school board meeting

Was anyone at the last school board meeting [12-18-07] and can share with everyone what Mr. Barnhart had to say?

Written by: golfguy on December 21, 2007

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Title: Re: school board meeting

I was there and was appalled (but sadly, not surprised) at how the board responded to Mr. Barnhart's request for answers to his questions (which he gave to them back in November). They voted down his request to lower the Kindergarten tuition.

None of them would even respond to his request to allow for hot lunches to the kindergartners. Mr. Smitek basically said that full-day kindergarten was just "babysitting" for parents. I'm sure all those taxpaying parents are happy to hear that! ...

Mr. Romanchok, I wish you all the best at your first board meeting in January [2008]. I'll do my best to get there by 6; but as I requested at December's board meeting to have the meeting start time changed to 6:30; it was voted to start at 6; oh what a surprise!!

Written by: avonmomof2 on December 21, 2007

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Title: Re: school board meeting

Mr. Barnhart, among other things, made [this] point:

1) The BOE can apply for free [or almost free] milk from the State for the full-day Kindergarten kids. So far the BOE has refused to do so ...

Written by: Oldtimer on December 22, 2007

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Title: THE PRESS and the Avon Board of Education!!!

A great big AMEN!!! to the Press for blasting School Board President Dale Smitek in the paper today for his treatment of former Avon Schools Superintendent Bob Barnhart at the last Board meeting!

Mr. Barnhart has been seeking answers to very fair questions on the "tuition" costs of all day kindergarten. Mr. Barnhart served this district for 20 years and I for one would like to hear what he has to say on any subject related to our schools.

Mr. Barnhart has a "Letter to the Editor" on page 7 in today's paper [1-2-08] as well on this subject. I cannot even begin to quote the entire article on page 3 (where School Board President Dale Smitek refers to all day kindergarten as "cheap babysitting".

But the Press editorial on page 6 is CLASSIC! The Press refers to the actions of the Board as "disappointing". The Press acknowledges Mr. Barnhart requested answers to questions at a meeting a month earlier and the Board never responded. The Press editorial continues:

"Of course, in addition to the Avon Board of Education's need to be reminded that they do in fact owe taxpayers responses to legitimate questions, they need to extend some courtesy to those attending Board meetings, especially individuals with longstanding institutional knowledge they could benefit from.

Instead, those at the meeting were treated to an EMBARRASSING display of DISRESPECT and ARROGANCE not needed at a public meeting. For those not in attendance, Board PRESIDENT DALE SMITEK, in an unusual display of HOSTILITY, had his gavel poised to quiet Mr. Barnhart before he even spoke."

The Press finishes the editorial piece and requests a full accounting of how kindergarten fees were determined.

"Avon residents should be asking the same questions as to where their money is going and how the city's children's education is determined."

Well I can answer some of those questions since I have been posting about Avon BOE ARROGANCE for quite some time.

Hey PRESS!!! $1.25 million for a BUS PALACE!!! (Mr. Smitek, would that facility be a cheap babysitting facility for bus drivers?)

Now tack on the fact that we have the seventh highest per pupil costs for outsourced legal counsel in a NINE COUNTY AREA!

When the PRESS is done investigating this issue, hopefully they will start to dig into the land flips for a new elementary school off Long road. There are some very interesting names attached of people who would benefit from us (taxpayers) paying for a school out there ...

Written by: Avon Eagle on January 2, 2008

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 4-25-08, by Jesse Tinsley, Plain Dealer Reporter

``A very good year for [Avon] water

On tap in rural Lorain County is one of the country's finest glasses of drinking water -- clean, clear and with no aftertaste.

That's according to a panel of water-quality judges who concluded that the Lorain County Rural Water Authority possesses the second-best-tasting water in the country among the country's rural water authorities.

The Lorain County Rural Water Authority received the honor Tuesday [4-22-08] during the ninth annual Great American Water Taste Test on Earth Day in Washington, D.C.

The authority gets its H2O from Avon Lake [as does Avon], which draws its water from Lake Erie. It was edged out of the top prize by Southampton -- which represented Massachusetts. Lorain [County] took the second-place silver medal in a runoff with Rhode Island, Indiana and Iowa ...

"I feel very good about this," said Tim Mahoney, general manager of the Lorain County water authority ... The water authority won the statewide Ohio Rural Water Association's taste contest earlier this month before going on to the National Rural Water Association competition along with 39 other states.

Mahoney, who attended the water-taste contest, said some "very dignified judges" sampled the water as if they were savoring Shiraz at a wine tasting. "They pour the water into a nice goblet glass and make sure it has no color," Mahoney said. "They sniff, taste it and score it on those three points." ...

John Kniepper, head of utilities for Avon Lake, said the Lake Erie inlet is far removed from rivers, which tend to carry pollutants. Those pollutants, such as herbicides and runoff from farms, can affect the smell and taste of water, he said.''

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: jtinsley@plaind.com

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 5-21-08, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon Harley shop hosting hospitality pit stop for riders

AVON -- While many talk about the debt owed to veterans on Memorial Day, Lake Erie Harley-Davidson & Buell, 38401 Chester Road, Avon, is doing something for those who have served their country in wartime.

On Thursday and Friday [5-22 and 5-23-08], the dealership is hosting a Rolling Thunder hospitality stop for riders from across America on their way to Memorial Day activities in Washington, D.C., according to Linda Orlando, who coordinated the event for the dealership. [Hospitality will be provided both days from 9 am to 6 pm] ''It's our way of thanking the armed forces for giving us our freedom,'' Orlando said.

Safety checks will be provided for motorcycles, and riders will be able to stretch their legs and enjoy a free snack. Orlando, whose brother Richard Orlando was killed in Vietnam, said this is the first year Lake Erie Harley-Davidson is hosting a hospitality event.

Local chapters of groups including the AMVETS, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America will participate.

Author William Murphy, a U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran will also attend. Murphy, who wrote travel guides including ''Motorcycling Across Ohio'' and ''Motorcycling Across Michigan,'' lives in Toledo, according to Orlando. [Murphy will make a stop both days, 5-22 and 5-23-08, from noon to 4 pm, at Lake Erie Harley-Davidson.]

In addition, representatives of the United Service Organization of Northern Ohio and the Cleveland office of the Disabled Veterans of America will be on hand to answer questions.

''The DAV office in Cleveland will bring a mobile unit to open, close or investigate claims,'' Orlando said. ''It's the federal building coming to the veteran.''

Harley-Davidson has a history of supporting U.S. troops, including shipping motorcycles to Europe in World Wars I and World War II, Orlando said.

Nancy Regg is a spokeswoman for Rolling Thunder, a nationwide non-profit group that advocates for active and veteran military personnel, prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action.

''We want to make sure our guys get home,'' Regg said. ''We don't want to see anyone left behind again.''

Last year 850,000 attended Rolling Thunder's Memorial Day demonstration at the reflecting pool on the National Mall, Regg said. Most of those probably did not arrive on motorcycles, but groups of hundreds ride together from California and other places across America, according to Regg.

This year marks the 21st Rolling Thunder Memorial Day demonstration. Activities will include laying wreaths at national cemeteries, a candlelight vigil at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and a mass ride through Washington on Sunday, ending at the Lincoln Memorial.

Speakers will include actor John Amos and parents of soldiers killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, Regg said.''

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PRESS RELEASE from State Representative Matt Lundy, 6-25-08

``Rep. Lundy Applauds State Funding for Lorain County Projects

Governor Signs Capital Bill That Includes Needed Money for Local Projects

COLUMBUS -- State Representative Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) today hailed the state funding secured in the two-year Capital Bill for major projects in the 57th Ohio House District. Governor Strickland signed the bill yesterday afternoon.

The projects include:

Lorain County Historical Society Horace Starr House in Elyria - $200,000

North Ridgeville Historic Community Theater - $175,000

Avon Lake Veterans Park Improvements - $150,000

Avon Isle Park Improvements - $50,000 [to be applied to the replacement of the bridge across French Creek into the Avon Isle Park]

Rep. Lundy was also proud of the $250,000 allocated to Lorain County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Services, and the combined $4.8 million for projects at Lorain Community College.

"These projects both honor the history of our area and prepare the County for growth and prosperity in the future," Rep. Lundy said. "I am so pleased that I could play a role in securing this funding for our communities and help bring worthwhile plans to fruition. Our neighborhoods and our economy will benefit from the improvements this money will fund."

The projects' managers must now finalize their proposals with state liaisons before their money is released by the State Controlling Board.''

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Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

Title: Allied Waste

[The green 68 gallon recycle totes are here]

Hiya. I sit on the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District Policy Committee as Vice Chair.

A couple things. This is big week here in Avon as there are some significant changes to our waste program that should improve service.

First, everyone will be getting a green 68 gallon recycle tote to go with the big blue tote. With the addition to recycling of items such as junk mail, cardboard, paperboard (cereal boxes, etc.), recycling will increase and open up room in the blue tote for excess garbage. It will make things easier because you no longer have to separate. Everything goes in one can, no bags.

Also, the new yard waste program starts very soon as well. I think it's August 15 [2008] or something. You can put unlimited yard waste out in either brown bags or cans without bags and they should take it.

NOW, if they are giving you a hard time, and not taking them, thats a different story. Let me know the specifics and we will address with them. AW all in all provides a good service, but definitely has an advantagous waste plan to work with. We need to make sure they live up to the standards of the plan.

Written by: ParsonsBri on August 5, 2008

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Title: Allied Waste

ParsonsBri ... thank you for the information. That was a very helpful and useful post.

I can tell you that I started to recycle (have to admit I didn't do this before) and found that separating items did indeed create more room in my blue tote. I also like that I can just simply throw the items into the recyclable container without bagging them. Now...if I can only get the days correct when AW is set up to take some of the other junk out of my basement that doesn't fit into the blue tote, all will be well.

Written by: jimi4370 on August 5, 2008

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Title: Allied Waste

I don't consider dropping garbage and not picking it up, or throwing the cans wherever they land, even leaving them in the street, or letting them roll into the street in front of the cars behind you to be good service.

Written by: cpa on August 5, 2008

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Title: Allied Waste

Thanks for the information.

How do we let you know about issues. The one that I have is that I fought with them for four days over two cans of grass. The same to cans with the same amount of grass that they had picked up since May. They didn't take them the first day and gave no information as to why, then when someone finally came by they said it they where too heavy. Now again same containers and same amount of grass that they had picked up for three months. Additionally, my ten year old daughter brings them to the curb.

Second is how are they allowed to raise our bill by 20% for extra fuel cost? I can't go to my employeer and say I need a pay increase because gas has gotten more expensive or pay less at the store because gas has gotten expensive...

Finally, it would be great to have the info about receycling, collection days, yard waste and bulk pick up posted somewhere. I find that they send one mailer and if you happen to miss it or assume it is junk mail and toss it then we have no information.

Written by: TiredofAW on August 6, 2008

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 7-25-08, by JEFF GREEN, Morning Journal Writer

``Commuter rail project inching closer to fruition

LORAIN -- The feasibility of a Lorain-Cleveland commuter rail, which has been talked about for years, might be determined soon. That's what backers of the project hope anyway.

The Northern Ohio Commuter Rail Coalition, a group of community leaders from the area, are in the process of raising $40,000 as a match for $160,000 from the state to fund a rail business plan. The rail line would go along the Norfolk Southern line linking Vermilion, Lorain and Cleveland.

Bob Campana, president of Campana Development and member of the coalition's steering committee, said the group has set the goal of raising the money by Labor Day and is halfway there now ...

A feasibility study would determine how the rail line would be funded, what ridership and fares might be and ongoing capital costs, said Brian McCann, a consultant for the rail coalition. McCann said the study will likely show the rail is worth pursuing ,,,

On a separate front, the rail coalition submitted an application to the Ohio Department of Development for an $80,000 grant that, if received, could be spent for the business plan or a federal alternatives analysis conducted by the Federal Transit Authority. The application was approved by the Lorain County commissioners at their meeting yesterday [7-24-08].

Dennis Lamont, a Lorain consultant who helped with the grant application, said a federal alternatives analysis looks broadly at what kind of mode transportation would be most effective and least environmentally harmful.

He said it tends to favor buses and could cost several million dollars to fund. Lamont is more optimistic about the business plan and would rather have grant money used for it. Realistically, it could set up the groundwork for having a commuter rail running as soon as 2010, he said.

The business plan is also something that can be done in a reasonable time frame, and an alternatives analysis could take years, he said.

Donations for the business plan can be made to the Northern Ohio Commuter Rail Fund, c/o Patrick Petrigan, 5343 Meadow Lane Court, Sheffield Village''

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EDITORIAL from The Morning Journal, 7-26-08

``Commuter rail service needs public's support now to become reality

... This week brought news of some additional momentum to help make it a reality, perhaps as soon as 2010, according to consultant Dennis Lamont.

At a gathering in Lorain on Wednesday [7-23-08], local leaders were urged to help raise $40,000 as a local share to accompany state funding to create a commuter rail business plan. The plea was made by Lorain businessman Bob Campana who also is a leader with the Northern Ohio Commuter Rail Coalition.

Commuter rail is more than just a way to move people back and forth with greater energy efficiency. It holds the potential of being a powerful force for economic development along the route, proponents correctly note.

The rail coalition also this week won approval from the Lorain County commissioners on its application for an $80,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development for a business plan or a federal alternatives analysis by the Federal Transit Authority. Of the two, Lamont sees the business plan as the near-term best shot at starting commuter rail by 2010. An alternatives analysis may take years, cost millions, and such analyses tend to favor bus transportation, he notes ...

Commuter rail could help to fill the looming gap between need and availability of mass transit in this region. The existing Norfolk Southern railroad tracks could carry the commuter train traffic.

Public support, politically and financially, for launching Cleveland to Vermilion commuter rail service is the right thing to do, and now is prime time for the push.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-21-08, by The Chronicle-Telegram Staff

Linens-N-Things closes at Avon Commons

``AVON -- A yellow and black banner announcing the store is closing hangs over Linens-N-Things at Avon Commons. "It's a corporate issue, not a city issue or an Avon Commons issue," Mayor Jim Smith said.

The New Jersey-based home furnishing chain announced this month that it will shut down 57 underperforming stores -- its Avon outlet among them -- across the nation. Avon is one of only two Ohio cities to lose Linens-N-Things. The store at Governor's Plaza in Cincinnati will also close, according to the company.

Parent company Linens Holding had previously planned to close 87 flagging locations as part of a restructuring plan after filing for bankruptcy May 2 [2008] ...

Linens-N-Things posted roughly $2.8 billion in sales in 2007 and had operated 589 stores in 47 states. Management at the Avon store could not be reached to give a final closing date.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-21-08, by Jason Hawk

Avon Planning Commission OKs new YMCA and shopping center

``AVON -- While restaurants, grocery stores and retailers continue to close their doors elsewhere, they keep opening new doors in Avon.

The Planning Commission Wednesday night approved site plans for the 67,000-square-foot French Creek YMCA, the 79,000-square-foot Heritage Village shopping center, a 6,300-square-foot AutoZone and a 6,034-square-foot Enger Tire Service.

The commission also agreed to review plans at a special meeting Sept. 3 [2008] for an additional 5,300 square feet of strip mall build-outs in front of Heritage Village.

Mayor Jim Smith said he sees developer interest in Avon as a precursor to an economic turnaround for the rest of the county ... He said there are 290,000 people living within a 15-minute drive of Avon, and they're all looking for nice places to shop.

Avon is cashing in on traffic from Interstate 90, and it's only a matter of time until the resurfacing of state Route 57 and other factors get the entire county back on its feet, Smith said.

He said the French Creek YMCA, located next to Avon's new ballpark on Interstate 90, will likely break ground by the beginning of October and will include two swimming pools and basketball courts.

Heritage Village is planned for Detroit Road across the street from Avon Heritage North Elementary School. Plans show space for an anchor store slightly smaller than a big box, as well as several smaller shopfronts.

Two strip malls will be constructed at the front of the property, pending commission approval, according to site plans submitted by Elyria-based KS Associates.

AutoZone's plans were approved to build on Chester Road, next to the new Lowe's Home Improvement big-box currently under construction.

And site drawings show Enger Tire will open on Colorado Avenue between Moore Road and Doovys Street -- if City Council approves rezoning for the land at its Sept. 9 meeting.

"We're seeing growing pains, but we're glad to have them. It shows things are moving in the right direction," Smith said. "It will mean some extra traffic, but the revenue from new businesses is what helps keep taxes down."''

Contact Jason Hawk at jhawk@chronclet.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-22-08, by The Chronicle-Telegram Staff

Avon issues on the November ballot:

0.45-mill replacement levy for public park and recreational activities.

Proposed rezoning of 35651 Detroit Road [the Oebker House adjacent on the west to Heritage North and the bus garage -- a demolition permit has already been issued] from R-2 to C-2 zoning.

School issues:

1.99-mill emergency renewal levy.

1.25-mill renewal levy for permanent improvements.

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Avon will hold a public hearing on 8-7-08 at 7 pm at City Hall, 36080 Chester Rd., to discuss the $2.4 million Detroit Rd. widening.

The project will start in August, 2008, and continue for at least a year. The widening will begin just west of the new police station and continue west. Detroit Rd. will remain open during the project.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-8-08, by Jason Hawk

``Detroit Road widening worries Avon biz owners

AVON -- Some business owners are worried that the long-awaited widening of Detroit Road will shoo away customers when it finally begins in September.

The $2.8 million project, which has been in limbo for seven years while officials secured a $1.5 million state grant, is expected to take about a year to complete ...

It will affect about 4,000 feet of pavement through the heart of Avon's business district, between state Routes 611 and 83 ... a middle turn lane, a new waterline and storm sewers will be added to the stretch.

One lane will be kept open during construction, but there could be frequent 20-minute waits to get through ... and many of the 50 or so store owners that attended a town hall meeting Thursday night voiced concerns that customers will avoid shops in the construction area.

"You have to understand we're all scared. We operate small businesses in bad economic times," said Ron Larson, owner of Avon Village. "This could hit us really hard."

Al Stafford, who owns Mighty Moose BBQ Grill, said construction will wear through winter months when business is typically booming.

"The timing of this is probably the absolute worst you could have put together. We're in an economic slump, and businesses are scratching for every dime as it is," he said. "This is going to devastate a lot of businesses, and I don't think the city understands the full impact."

Catherine Pastron, owner of Catherine's Chocolates, remembers how a similar road project bit into sales at her former Church Street store in downtown Amherst.

"I really felt it then, and I don't want to feel that same crunch at my new store," she said. "This is going to be a very hard time for all of our shops." ...

[Avon Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza] said signs will be posted at either end of the construction zone making it clear that Detroit Road is open for travel. Road crews will have to periodically cut off traffic to dump limestone and other materials, but waits should be minimized, he said ...

Under the current plan, utility shutoffs will be done during off-peak hours so they don't interfere with business, school and physicians' hours, Avon utilities Superintendent David Conrad said.

And because of snow and ice, there will be virtually no work during January and February [2009], said project manager Aaron Appell of Bramhall Engineering.

He said that when everything wraps up, problems with standing water will be resolved, traffic signals will be upgraded, Detroit Road will be 16 feet wider and new sidewalks will be installed.

Fabrizi Trucking & Paving of Valley City has been hired to do the construction.''

Contact Jason Hawk at jhawk@chroniclet.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 3-27-09, By CHANDA NEELY, cneely@MorningJournal.com

[Westlake Mayor Clough closes Avon Road]

``WESTLAKE -- The City of Avon has offered to pay for road repairs that would reopen Avon Road, but Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough says Avon's efforts are not enough to make the street safe for drivers.

On March 20 [2009], Clough closed Avon Road at the Avon city limit, cutting off access to Bradley Road for drivers coming from Avon, because he said the road is unsafe ... Avon Mayor Jim Smith said Clough has wanted to close Avon Road for years ...

"We offered two years ago to take care of the maintenance, put black top down and salt and shovel in the winter time," he added. "We made that offer two years ago, and we're making it again."

Smith said Avon City Council authorized him to send Clough a letter offering help from the city, which he mailed Tuesday [3-24-09]. The city is willing to spend about $150,000, put an overlay on the street and take care of all the maintenance. Clough says Westlake city engineers say it will cost $1 million to repair Avon Road, but he is willing to "keep the lines of communication open." ...

Smith says having Avon Road closed is a safety hazard and he wants the street reopened to allow access to Bradley Road because it poses problems for safety forces, is an inconvenience for residents and has already caused problems with school bus routes.

"We depend on the safety forces, and if we have to go pick somebody up there, they have to turn around and back track instead of just going right to St. John West Shore (hospital). That's three or four minutes. Sometimes three or four minutes is what they need."

Smith said his office received more than 50 calls from angry residents after Clough closed Avon Road last week without giving any advance notice to the city of Avon or its residents, who share that street with Westlake. He said Westlake can legally close Avon Road and Avon has no legal options to reopen it because Cuyahoga County gave Avon Road to Westlake four years ago.

"(Clough) called me Friday [3-20-09] morning, and I thought he'd call me back and give me a date (when Avon Road would be closed)," Smith said. "I had no idea he was going to close it now. The school buses had to change their routes in the middle of that day. They went one way in the morning and had to go a different way in the afternoon. When you got kids getting home later than they usually do, parents begin to worry."

"People left in the morning and went out to work and came home to a road closed sign," he added. "Most people don't like it closed because of the inconvenience to (travel to) Crocker Park."''

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Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

``Title: Avon Rd

... Many speculate that the reasons are more "selfish" and a punitive action taken against Avon for some reason.

Written by: Commentator 1 on March 23, 2009

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Title: Avon Rd

... Dennis Clough ... This guy fails to control the traffic on the Crocker/Stearns through-way and now he closes down Avon Road in order to inconvenience people.

My wife contacted the [Westlake] mayor's secretary and she was nothing short of rude. She claimed they didn't have the funds in order to fix the road and said we shouldn't use the road anyway. That is the most ludicrous statement in the world. The City of Westlake has an income tax that generates its revenue. They have about $50 million sitting in the bank.

I live in Willow Creek and have used Avon Road for the past 6 years. I use it in order to get to 90 East and shop in Westlake. Thanks to Dennis! I, along with about 200 other families in Willow Creek are now required to waste 10 additional minutes and go around.

Come to think about it, instead of going to Westlake, maybe we should all go to Avon and Avon Lake and spend our money there. I certainly hope that a the Avon City Council is planning to somehow protest this. How can a person simply close a road?

Written by: Commentator 2 on March 23, 2009

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Title: Avon Rd

I do agree this is not a good situation. Wait until an accident happens, serious health issue and the person doesn't arrive at the hosptial in a timely fashion due to this road being closed. This really is stupid.

Written by: Commentator 3 on March 23, 2009

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Title: Avon Rd

Westlake ... originally [wanted] ... the developer to use it as a private road; but ODOT owns part of it.

This is a pay back by their mayor because Avon has done better in growth. The problem is Westlake priced themselves out of business with outrageouse fees. Example: Crocker was to be an industrial park but cost too much for developers.

It is s safety problem for sure!

Written by: Commentator 4 on March 23, 2009

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Title: Avon Rd

This is a move by the same people who want five lanes on Detroit Rd. in East Avon.

Written by: Commentator 5 on March 24, 2009

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Title: Avon Rd

I have lived in Willow creek for almost 4 years and I will also be moving all of my business to Avon and Avon Lake. I moved here because I loved the convenience of being right in between the two shopping areas and close to 90.

It's pretty much the same distance to go to Giant Eagle in Avon Lake instead of Westlake now.

If I recall, didn't the city of Avon volunteer to pay for the upkeep in Westlake so Willow Creek could use the road?

Does anyone know how the buses are coping with this closure, this is definitely a safety hazard backing a 50 foot school bus down a road to turn around, in both Avon and Westlake especially since Westlake buses would use Peach as a turn around.

Written by: Commentator 6 on March 24, 2009''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 4-4-09 by Karen Farkas/Plain Dealer Reporter

``WESTLAKE -- It's a West Side border battle.

Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough abruptly closed Avon Road to the Lorain County line, saying it was unsafe for traffic. The move didn't upset many people in Westlake because few residents use the road. But it caused a stir in Avon, where Avon Road continues to Lear-Nagel Road.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith -- upset that his city's residents were cut off from quick access to Interstate 90, Crocker Park and other Westlake businesses, and St. John West Shore Hospital -- thought Clough could be more neighborly.

"We wish he would have waited until Lear-Nagel interchange at Interstate 90 was built in two years," Smith said. Once that interchange is completed, residents won't need to use the Crocker Road I-90 interchange in Westlake.

So Smith offered $150,000 to pave Westlake's mile-long, potholed portion of the road. Clough refused, saying the road needs a new base and would cost at least $1 million to repair.

Smith is also slightly miffed that Clough gave no advance notice of the road closing. Clough called only when the barriers were in place on March 20 [2009] ...

Only one person lives on it and he is allowed to drive around a wooden barricade to get to Bradley Road, Clough said. The barricade at the Avon border is impassable.

Westlake always maintained its portion of the road but it was owned by Cuyahoga County until about three years ago, when the county gave it to the city. Some Avon residents, who think Westlake officials wanted them to use well-traveled Detroit Road, believe the city wanted Avon Road so it could close it.

"It seems awfully spiteful to me," said Kevin McConnell, who lives in the Willow Creek development off Avon Road. The subdivision of more than 160 homes is directly affected by the closing.

McConnell, like many of his neighbors, took Avon Road into Westlake nearly every day to get to Interstate 90 at Crocker Road to go to work. Many shopped at nearby Crocker Park. Now they have to drive several miles out of their way, adding five to 10 minutes, McConnell said.

McConnell and Simon Martin-Dye, who also lives in Willow Creek, said they are most concerned with safety and the added response time for fire trucks and ambulances, especially if Westlake provides mutual aid ...''

COMMENTS

``Posted by [Commentator 7] on 04/04/09

What's wrong with this picture? Avon is willing to pay for the upkeep of Avon Road, and Westlake says no. Why would you ever turn down a deal like that? Maybe the whole road should be turned over to Avon since Westlake doesn't want or need it. There should be some way that this can be solved so that we can ALL make use of the road. Many Westlake people use this road too! Come on Westlake...turn the road over to Avon!

Posted by [Commentator 8] on 04/04/09

I see provincialism continues in Cleveland. Small minds at work.

Avon should come back and offer a prime Westlake business big tax breaks to entice them to move to Avon...or at least requiring Westlake to reduce their taxes (income.)

Seems "what goes around, comes around in" Cleveland because no one wants to work together.

Hey Avon, how about going after Bonne Bell, or better yet Hyland Software, with some juicy tax breaks?

Posted by [Commentator 9] on 04/04/09

Avon road is a marginal road for the freeway and its location keeps vehicles off other city streets in Westlake & Avon. I live in Westlake and drive the road a few times a week. My daughter lives in Avon and works in Westlake and drives it everyday. Not only should this road, which has been here since 1903, remain open but Clemons road should be extended into Avon. I have always supported Mayor Clough in the past but he seems to forget that Westlake is not a walled city and people work & shop there and come from other nearby cities.

Posted by [Commentator 10] on 04/04/09

Mayor Clough is a little short sighted. He should spend time waiting through a couple of traffic lights at Bradley and Detroit now. The Avon road traffic is going to clog up that intersection now. The traffic had to go somewhere. I suppose the first person to die or suffer injury because the road is blocked should sue Westlake. Clough doesn't seem to have any hesitancy to giving millions a dollars in law suit settlements away!

Posted by [Commentator 11] on 04/04/09

[A Commentator] says "Hey Avon, how about going after Bonne Bell, or better yet Hyland Software, with some juicy tax breaks? "

Good idea, one of the owners of Hyland Software lives in Willow Creek and now has 2 more miles to get to work every day. Maybe he can call Clough and remind him how easy it would be to move the company to Avon.

Posted by [Commentator 12] on 04/04/09

Mayor Clough acts like the deterioration of the road is new. In fact, Westlake has done nothing to that stretch for many years.

Westlake has the resources to improve every other road in the city and they ignore that road. If he had character he would tell the truth and say he is closing it to block access for Avon residents ... integrity.

Posted by [Commentator 13] on 04/04/09

[A Commentator] says "Now, if you did, you would see that it needs a new base. Meaning, the entire road needs to be dug up and redone from the base up."

That is what Clough said but it is not a FACT.

The road can be paved as it was in the past, they just need it to last for two years not forever. The same way many roads without good bases are maintained . Avon is not looking for a permanent fix.

Posted by [Commentator 14] on 04/04/09

The "safety" thing is a transparent fig leaf, as anyone who drove the road knows. This is a petty political payback from Clough to Smith because Avon facilitated the relocation of some cramped company from Westlake several years ago ...

This is more a nuisance than a major hit., although it means Avon school bus rerouting (which could be problematic, especially if the drivers have to back the buses out of some tight streets) and it means another 5-10 minutes on the commutes of the several dozens of homeowners in the new developments on the Avon side of what is now the ominous Westlake Wall.

But it is most certainly Clough raising the desultory digit of disrespect to his despised "country" counterpart, Smith -- and all the residents of northeast Avon in the process. A year or so ago Clough flat-out lied to various media when he said he had no plans to close Avon Rd. Why else would he have taken it over from the county? He's just been waiting for the annual frost damage to make it look worse than it really is.

So, what's next? Razor wire across Schwartz Rd., the southern Westlake-Avon connector? Maybe he'll go for the Big One -- sealing off Detroit Rd. itself. Come to think of it, that would explain the flatbeds loaded with cinder blocks hidden up behind Crocker Park....

Posted by [Commentator 15] on 04/04/09

This is a personal snit between two mayors that's being taken out on residents.

Clough is still miffed about the Avon interchange; this is payback. He needs to grow up.

Posted by [Commentator 16] on 04/04/09

... The closing has been an issue since Westlake took it over. It is not something new, one can look back and see the concern for years. It is only in disrepair since they stopped maintaining it. He took it over on the pretense he would keep it open, let it sit for several years until he could rationalize closing it.

Clough is simply acting like a child because Avon is doing the same thing to lure Westlake companies that Westlake did to other inner ring suburbs. Live by the sprawl, die by the sprawl.

As to the comment about opening Clemens, while it would make sense to take the burden off Detroit, Clough has previously stated that it will happen over his dead body. So no that is not an option.

Posted by [Commentator 17] on 04/04/09

1. ... [What happens] once the new Cleveland Clinic facility is open in Avon?

2. The mayor and the Westlake leadership insured the loss of the highest earning, higest tax paying employee base when they wouldn't let the Cleveland Clinic build at Crocker Park. It is clear that the Clinic will be building in Avon ...

3. Westlake's action is reminiscent of Cuyahoga County's ill fated effort to prevent Lorain County from widening I90 to keep people in businesses in Cuyahoga County.

4. Avon Road has been in the condition it is in now, always in need of post-winter maintenenace and this year is no different. The only difference is who is in charge.

5. With more and businesses opening in Avon and more and more residents moving there, Westlake will deter people from living in Westlake or working in Westlake to get to their businesses in Avon or to get to their homes in Avon by closing roads such as Avon Road ...''

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