Avon Growth News, 6-16-99 to 6-30-99

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6-22-99 Tax Abatement
6-23-99 Industrial Building Boom
6-24-99 More Sprawl Talk
6-28-99 Bike Path
6-29-99 Tax Abatement
6-30-99 BP Sues Avon

6-23-99: AVON COMMONS WINS! ----- 2049 yes, 1345 no

The Ohio Supreme Court has denied the Grendell - Phillips challenge to the June 1, 1999, election.

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 6-22-99, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer

"Avon debates tax breaks to lure area firms

AVON -- The merits of tax abatement -- especially when it involves attracting a company from a neighboring community -- flared in debate last night as Avon City Council discussed putting formal restrictions on its use.

The subject was raised by Councilman Jack Kilroy, who has frequently expressed irritation with Avon's liberal use of tax cuts to attract industry, often from nearby communities.

'The 10th Commandment -- thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's property -- should apply to our dealings with neighboring cities,' Kilroy said. 'Our abatement policy has gone a little overboard.'

Mayor Jim Smith defended his policies.

'I am one of the few mayors who says to industries, 'Go back to your community and see if you can stay there at any cost,' Smith said. 'There's no way I want to rob from another community, but when they're going somewhere anyway, I would hate to see our city lose out.'

Smith pointed out that abatements for companies from neighboring cities can be the most valuable, since they keep jobs in the area.

'We don't want to put down legislation that would hurt us in keeping a company here,' Smith said.

Council President Ted Gracyzk suggested the city's current policies on when to offer abatements might be written into law.

'We already have some rules,' he said. 'Maybe we should include them into an ordinance.'

Even those restrictions might be harmful, said Councilman Niels Jensen.

'I would be against putting anything on paper saying we cannot offer an abatement,' he said. 'I would like to look at each case as an individual.'

In the end, Gracyzk suggested Kilroy write down what he thinks would constitute a wise abatement policy, and the discussion will continue at council's next work session ..."

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NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 6-23-99, By JoAnne Easterday

"[Avon School] Board dumps BFI

At savings of nearly $700 per month, Wastes Management will provide services for recycling and waste removal beginning July 1.

Building boom continues in Avon industrial area

Two developers came before the planning commission [6-16-99] to secure permission to build on multiple industrial sites in Avon. Steve Schafer of Schafer Development got approval for a site plan for a 6,000 square foot industrial building on Lear Industrial Drive. The owner Thomas Tont is planning for a steel building for "light manufacturing" with a stone-faced office building at the front.

Schafer is also proceeding with a speculative industrial building for sublots 26 and 27. Lots 20 and 21 also are seeing action with a Schafer/Dobrunz request for a lot split. "A lot of people are asking for an office with a small warehouse," Schafer explained.

Paul Pustay, representing Skill Tool, presented plans for a 52,000 square foot industrial building at 1190 Jaycox Road and for a 16,800 square foot office/warehouse building located at 1180 Jaycox Road.

The 26-acre plot for the large facility and the 7.5-acre lot for the smaller is just north of the new Maroon facility. Pustay described the facility as steel and masonry similar to the style of the Freeman Manufacturing building but of a similar color scheme as A.J. Rose building.

The fountains and retention ponds at new industrial facilities in Avon are getting some positive attention. Pustay said businessmen are asking for retention ponds "like the one at A.J. Rose."

Commission Chairman Jim Piazza complimented Pustay himself. Piazza said that with the plans submitted, "all concerns were addressed the first time." In addition Pustay got kudos from disability coordinator Karen Myers. She reported that Pustay's plan was "the first plan submitted where everything was done correctly."

Pustay proceeded with another request regarding Consultex Project Managers' plans for an 8,000 square foot building at 38412 Chester Road. The building will be for a "professional office with a retail-type thing." Pustay asked for an entrance (only) off Chester Road with an exit on Chester Road Parkway.

The idea did not fly. Commissioner Tom Wearsch objected strenuously to any further "curb cuts" on Chester Road. He said the business could retain its Chester Road mailing address with in and out only from the Parkway.

Schafer presents expansion plans for Holy Trinity

Schafer also presented plans for the addition of a multi-purpose room, classroom wing and administration office for Holy Trinity Church on Nagel Road. The work is to be completed in phases. The goal is to create a campus-like atmosphere.

Although the plan calls for the new buildings to be built well back from Nagel Road, which is deemed an arterial road, Piazza instructed Schafer to amend the plan and build even further back.

"The existing school is awfully close to Nagel," Piazza cautioned. "I recommend that you move the new school back further.... If we don't start moving things off Nagel Road we are going to regret it." Any new buildings should be 90 feet back in case the road is ever turned into a true collector ...

Farmington Subdivision presented informally by Schafer

Schafer sought direction regarding the preliminary plat for 68 single family and 50 cluster single family homes in a subdivision to be located at the southeast corner of Nagel and Schwartz Roads.

The subdivision will be completed in three phases with an entrance off Nagel, and, ultimately, with phase two, an entrance onto Schwartz Road.

Showoff-Lapp subdivision approved

The Showoff-Lapp subdivision on the north side of Detroit Road at Hatteras Way and east of Briar Lake Subdivision was approved in plat form. Final plans will be submitted at the July 21 commission meeting.

Greenview Estates subdivision deemed "premature"

In spite of the fact that Jim Resar and Ken Adreano of KASA Ltd. presented "the third set of plans on this," Greenview Estates was sent back to the drawing boards. The hold up is the fact that the subdivision would require another "curb cut" on SR 83. There are other roads, Riegelsberger and Windemere, too close by code to the proposed road to allow for the new road.

Since a property owner not interested in selling a portion of his land blocks Greenview from connecting with Windemere subdivision, the plan as presented is not workable.

Lack of sewer connections, both sanitary and storm, presented further problems. Council representative Ted Graczyk said of previous presentations, "You didn't listen to us before."

"I've never seen a better case of premature development," Piazza said. With the developer's request, the plan was tabled.

Special meeting fees to increase

The $300 fee charged developers for a special meeting would be raised to $500. In addition the chairman will consider whether the meeting is requested as a result of poor planning on the part of the applicant or real hardship in the applicant's ability to comply with the city's laws. Using the special meeting as a means of clarification rather than actual time for voting would be frowned upon.

Wetland mitigation considered

Special wording will be referred to city council regarding wetland mitigation within the city. The key words are "high quality" wetlands, which may be denied mitigation.

Having a ditch with cattails in it doesn't constitute a reason to stop building, Graczyk said."

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Cleveland Free Times, 6-24-99, BY JOHN C. BRUENING

"Withering Heights? As suburban expansion explodes beyond the county borders, the inner ring fights back

... Whether you're talking about the ethnic, working-class pride of Euclid or Parma, or the cultural diversity of Cleveland Heights or Lakewood, the inner-ring suburbs are probably the last places in Greater Cleveland where individuality and community coexist ...

Ten communities in this "old guard", Bedford, Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Garfield Heights, Lakewood, Maple Heights, Shaker Heights, South Euclid, University Heights and Warrensville Heights, have forged an alliance called the First Suburbs Consortium, and the Cleveland borders aren't the only thing they're up against. As a group, they're battling the local version of a nationwide trend commonly known as urban sprawl, the continued outward expansion of residential and commercial development ...

Members of the First Suburbs Consortium are developing a counterplan ... for brownfield initiatives, reinvestment programs, economic redevelopment strategies and other plans to take some of the heat off. In plain English, they're working on ways to make the old new again.

U.S. Census statistics tell the sad tale of the inner ring. Population in Cuyahoga County dropped from 1.721 million in 1970 to 1.412 million in 1990. In that same period, population figures in Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina and Portage counties have consistently increased. The most dramatic increase has been in Medina County, which experienced a 48 percent leap in population , from 82,717 to 122,354 , in the 20-year period. Many of the people filling up Medina and other nearby counties are the same ones who are leaving Cuyahoga.

"We're up to the point now where about one-third of everybody who sells a home in Cuyahoga County leaves and goes out to the next counties," says Tom Bier, director of Cleveland State University's Housing Policy Research Program. "And if we just simply carry on the way we are in the next 15 to 20 years, one half of everybody who sells a house in Cuyahoga County will leave."

Seeking the wide-open spaces, says Bier, has been the American way since the days of the frontier. It's a migratory philosophy that has survived the industrial revolution and endures in the post-industrial society, thanks in large part to the automobile, a middle-class amenity since the end of World War II. [Modern telecommunications, the Internet, have made dispersed living even more practical.]

"We did it first in the central cities, because that was the original place to live," he says. "We move on, and we generally move up. If you're going to be successful in life, the odds are pretty good that you're going to want more space, or you're going to want something that, if it's not larger, it has some amenities that you don't have right now. We keep putting the new out on the edge. We do not concern ourselves with maintaining what has already been built, or rebuilding. So until maybe 10 or 20 years ago, the suburbs were immune from that because they were new enough."

But the decades ahead are likely to tell a different story for the older, inner-ring suburbs and for the county as a whole, says David Beach, director of EcoCity Cleveland, a nonprofit educational organization focusing on urban development and environmental issues.

"Cuyahoga County is in sort of a unique position in that it will be the first county in the state to build out, to fully develop," says Beach. "That's going to happen in the next 10 or 20 years. There's a little land left in places like Westlake, Solon or North Royalton or Olmsted Falls, but not a lot. Pretty soon the county is going to be fully built out, and then it'll have to ask the question 'What next?'" ...

The First Suburbs Consortium seeks to "initiate and support policies and practices which protect, maintain and redevelop mature communities and foster regional cooperation," according to its mission statement. Further, the consortium endorses "public and private 'Smart Growth' policies that combat: economic erosion of mature communities; social costs associated with abandonment or disruption of traditional neighborhoods; wasteful duplication of infrastructure; environmental degradation; and loss of farmland and open space." ...

Inner-ring initiatives

The First Suburbs Consortium has established three pilot programs as first steps toward strengthening its member communities while sending a message to the state legislature.

One of these programs , a linked deposits initiative , would create a direct-deposit low-interest loan program to owners of single-family, two-family and multi-family dwellings in Cuyahoga County for the purpose of home maintenance, repair and improvements.

To date, five area banks , Huntington, Key, First Merit, Fifth Third and Star , have agreed to participate in the Link Deposit Program, and several cities within the consortium have passed the necessary legislation to participate in the program ...

The consortium is also establishing a brownfields redevelopment fund to help overcome the environmental hurdles (industrial and/or toxic waste cleanup) associated with previously developed commercial and industrial property.

Communities within the consortium are to be the primary focus of the program, and funds will be disbursed from the county via subsidized loans of up to $1 million per project. The goal is to maintain commercial and industrial sites in the inner ring as attractive options for developers who would otherwise build in outlying areas, according to Keith Benjamin, community services development officer for Cleveland Heights and coordinator for the First Suburbs Consortium. Euclid is currently applying for brownfield funds to assist in the demolition and asbestos abatement of the Invoy Motel, a Euclid Avenue eyesore that the city bought and closed down in the past year ...

A third pilot program is the establishment of an economic redevelopment fund, a pool of money solicited from area foundations as well as member suburbs' own reserves. The funds would be directed toward projects such as refurbishing businesses in inner-ring neighborhoods and making them more physically attractive and competitive, says Benjamin.

In addition to its own initiatives, the consortium is lobbying the state legislature to establish a task force , similar to the Farmland Preservation Task Force established by former Gov. George Voinovich , to examine the condition of Ohio's mature suburbs and the factors threatening their well-being and to provide recommendations for ensuring the long-term stability of the region's older suburbs. They're also asking the state to create economic incentives for older suburbs and communities that have greater need for redevelopment.

On the transportation front, the consortium wants the state to broaden the Department of Transportation's budget and increase its funding to include maintenance of roads and bridges in incorporated areas and to establish policies to foster a mix of transportation modes rather than an overemphasis on highways. The consortium is also lobbying to ensure that the state distribute its fuel tax funds more evenly, based on need and contribution, so that the urban communities get their fair share ...

Kimberly Gibson, a Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission lobbyist hired by the First Suburbs Consortium earlier this year ... [says] that state incentives tend to favor either development of virgin territory or redevelopment of areas in advanced stages of decline, but neither of these scenarios applies to Ohio's older, inner-ring suburbs ...

But Vince Squillace, executive vice president of the Columbus-based Ohio Homebuilders Association, doesn't buy the subsidy argument. Most if not all of the initial improvement costs for new residential developments are picked up solely by the developer, he says.

"The only money that I can think of that they're talking about is some funds for sewage treatment plants," says Squillace. "Say a plant wants to locate out in a rural area, and the receiving area will promise to extend sewer services, so they sell some bonds and they raise some money, and they extend these sewer waters out to this new plant. And then they have to try to find customers to come in and fill it up. Otherwise, there is no subsidy at all.

"I know the first-ring suburbs feel like all this money is being spent outside their area, and that's just an effort on their part to get the legislature to provide some kind of tax sharing. The thinking there is, 'since we're not growing and we're not developing and we're not getting as many tax dollars, we want to get part of the money that the growing suburban areas are getting,' under the supposed guise of subsidies." ...

"I think community groups are starting to really understand the issue of urban sprawl," says Lakewood Mayor Madeline Cain ... "I think the general public isn't there yet. The view of the private citizen is basically, 'I want to do the best I can for my family, and if I can afford that big house in that big yard and that best-in-Ohio school system, why shouldn't I?' That's their attitude. I think that's exactly why people buy those houses." ...

Intangibles like "livability" and "sustainability" have been recurring buzzwords in the vocabulary of Vice President Al Gore ...

We're at a point in our history, says EcoCity's David Beach, where we have to start asking tough questions ... "Will Cuyahoga County figure out how to do things differently and go into a mindset of maintenance and redevelopment, and keep itself competitive? It's going to be an enormous challenge to the county starting in the next 10 years. No other county in the state has had to deal with that issue.""

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 6-24-99, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer

"Avon likely to set new growth mark

AVON -- Even after three years of strong residential growth, Avon city officials are predicting this could be Avon's biggest ever.

The record for the most single family dwelling permits was set in 1997, when 206 were filed, 85 of them before June 1. The second-busiest year was 1998 with 202 permits, 75 filed by June 1.

This year's statistics, calculated through May, are on pace to top that easily.

'So far we have 112,' said Chief Building Official James Smith. 'And we're averaging 25-29 permits a month. You do the math.'

That 112 is easily the highest number of permits at this point in the year, statistics show.

And building no longer stops in the fall.

'We used to have a wintertime shutdown,' Smith said. 'Now we just keep rolling along.'

Planning Commission Chairman Jim Piazza said the boom should continue, based on what the commission has already endorsed.

'If we stopped approving plans now, with what we've already approved, we could still double the size of the city,' Piazza said. 'At the beginning of this year we had 3,000 buildable units approved, on the books. Those could be built tomorrow.'

The commission's work has continued, Piazza said, and the flux of developers presenting plans for major subdivisions has not peaked yet.

'There were two just at last month's meeting,' he said.

There are a number of subdivisions hoping to get under way this year, including:

More than just new homes, Avon is becoming the site of numerous expensive properties. This year will also likely show the highest growth in housing values, with over $22 million added to date, compared to just $17 million at this point last year, according to building department statistics.

Farmington homes, for example, are to retail for at least $250,000, the developer said."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 6-28-99, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer

"Slow route eyed for bike path

AVON -- While Avon Lake has already established 23 miles of bike path, Avon has started plans to catch up -- in 20 years or so.

Mayor Jim Smith said Avon plans to make its bike trail 'a little different' than the one in Avon Lake, which was partially paid for by a state grant and has incurred costs of more than $942,000.

'We have to,' Smith admitted. 'We don't have a grant. But it's easier for us. We're not all developed like Avon Lake, so we don't have to retro-fit.'

Avon's plan is fairly simple, Smith said, taking 20 years instead of Avon Lake's four to execute. Inspired by the winding path developer Joe Scaletta is putting into his Avenbury subdivision, the city is now poised to approve adding trails to the city's master plan, requiring developers to include bike paths in future construction plans.

'They'll be off the road like sidewalks would be,' Smith said, describing Avon's bikeway as wide, asphalt paths. 'Before we build up, we're going to make a ring around the city.'

Eventually, Avon hopes to connect the various paths by continuing the trail along existing streets, but plans for that will have to wait.

Avon plans to work with the Lorain County Metro Parks to eventually connect to paths in North Ridgeville, Sheffield and Avon Lake ..."

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NEWS ARTICLE from THE CHRONICLE-TELEGRAM, 6-29-99, By Joe Mosbrook Jr.

"Avon Council discusses rules for abatements

AVON -- With a rush toward industrial growth in Avon, the debate over tax abatement is heating up.

There are 2,800 acres of industrially zoned land here with droves of new businesses knocking on the doors of City Hall each month -- and the larger firms that sign on to build are usually enticed by tax incentives.

Bothered by that trend, 4th-Ward Councilman Jack Kilroy proposed to City Council five restrictions Monday [6-28-99], which he said the city officials should abide by when offering tax breaks.

Those terms are:

Kilroy, an outspoken critic of tax abatements, gave no further details in his plan. Council President Ted Graczyk Jr. said he would review the terms and discuss them in committee with a possible compromise.

Both Graczyk and Mayor James Smith agreed with the limitations in principle, but said they prefer the terms, or others similar to them, be adopted as guidelines only.

"A lot of this make sense,'' Smith said. "But we don't want to paint ourselves into a corner. We have to be flexible.''

Smith said many of Kilroy's proposed restrictions usually are followed, plus others such as proof of the company's financial stability, growth potential and desirable business type.

But Smith cautioned that the city must remain competitive if, for example, a major corporation moved into Avon, offering hundreds of new jobs and even greater potential.

"What, are we supposed to turn away some giant biotech company because they don't meet all of our guidelines?'' he said. "That's ridiculous. We can't be tied down like that.'' ..."

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NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 6-30-99, By Craig J. Heimbuch

Avon City Council passed an ordinance which provides for a three percent excise tax on hotel and lodging accommodations during their Monday night meeting.

The three percent city tax is in addition to the already existing three percent county tax. The three percent figure is the maximum allowed by law for a city to charge if that city does not have an operating visitor's bureau. Avon does not, at present, have an operating visitor's bureau.

The passing of the ordinance is timely, due to the fact that plans for a new hotel complex are in the works. The hotel is hoped to be built at the intersection of SR 611 and Chester Road, and is being discussed by planning commission.

Council also passed an ordinance allowing Cablevision to install eight emergency power supply vaults throughout the city. The boxes are designed to provide continued cable service during a partial power outage. Essentially, the boxes maintain cable service to homes that are not being affected by a loss of power, avoiding complete cable outages that are currently a threat. The boxes will be mounted on the ground and will have an eight hour power supply ..."

NEWS ARTICLE from THE MORNING JOURNAL, 6-30-99, By SARAH FENSKE, Morning Journal Writer

"BP fights for Avon gas station

ELYRIA --Arguing that Avon City Council's vote preventing placement of a gas station on Detroit Road was unconstitutional, attorneys for BP Amoco urged a judge to overturn the decision in a hearing yesterday.

Last year, what was then BP America Inc. proposed the gas station for the corner of Detroit Road and SR 83 south of I-90, an area zoned for small stores and offices. On Sept. 24, Council voted unanimously against a zoning change that would allow the gas station to be built.

BP officially merged with Amoco in January of this year, and now BP Amoco is suing to have September's decision overturned. Yesterday's hearing was conducted by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Lynett McGough.

'We have serious reservations about how this decision was made,' BP attorney Anthony Coyne said, arguing that Council should have respected Planning Commission's 3-2 vote of approval.

The company was not given the opportunity to respond to 'prejudicial' charges leveled by council members, Coyne said.

Avon Law Director Dan Stringer said BP had time to speak, but not the answers to council's questions.

'They were definitely given opportunity,' he said. 'What they didn't have was an anticipation of the questions.'

Stringer suggested that BP should have chosen a different location rather than asking Avon to make a zoning change contradicting its master plan.

'The decision to option that land was made not relying on the master plan, just on what was the best location for you,' he said. 'It was just about making a profit.'

BP disagreed, saying that sites in the area zoned for gas stations were not viable ...

Crooks argued that council members made 'ludicrous' statements assailing BP's record.

Councilman Jack Kilroy testified that he did raise questions about the corporation's history in the area.

'I thought it was fair to say BP was not always good for communities and neighborhoods,' he said, citing an incident in Cleveland when the station abandoned a gas station and would not take care of it. 'I thought people should know about this stuff.'

Coyne then accused Kilroy of anti-British bias, citing pointed questions he asked Prince Charles about human rights violations while in law school 20 years ago.

Kilroy denied any particular animus against BP.

'I don't have fondness for any big oil companies,' he said, adding that he would have voted against any gas station wanting to develop the site.

Kilroy said later that BP's tactics did not bother him.

'I don't think those questions were legitimate or pertinent at all,' he said. 'But that's typical of lawyers who don't have a leg to stand on. BP had every chance to make their case before council, and they didn't. This is just a big money grab at the expense of the city.' ...

Judge McGough gave both sides 30 days to file briefs in support of their arguments. Following another round of oral arguments, she intends to make a decision."


"Census: Avon's 44.7% growth rate leads area

... Avon boasts the largest population increase in the county, jumping 44.7 percent since 1990 to 10,615 residents.

"I think it is probably more than that,'' said Avon Mayor James Smith, who estimates there are at least 12,000 residents who call Avon home. "That's probably on the low side.''

The last five years has resulted in a big development boom for the city mostly because of its close proximity to Cleveland, a good school system and reasonable taxes, Smith said.

Cleveland's population dipped by 9,799 residents to 495,817 -- a decrease of 1.9 percent, according to the census figures.

"People are wanting to get bigger lots -- they want more green space. (Avon is) not going to be a rural community for much longer,'' Smith said.

City officials in Avon decided it would be better not to fight the influx of people but deal with it and try to accommodate it, he said.

The industrial base has kept up with the residential development, Smith said, which evens out the development in the area. Otherwise, "we're in trouble,'' Smith said.

The villages of Grafton and LaGrange also experienced substantial increases at 41.6 percent and 34.6 percent respectively.

In Lorain, a decrease of 3.4 percent was reported by the Census Bureau, but Lorain Mayor Joseph Koziura said he doesn't trust the newly-released figures ...

Elyria's population saw an 0.8 percent decline to 56,278 residents from 56,746.

"It's not a big surprise -- we've been fairly stable,'' said Mayor Michael Keys, who declined further comment until he could study the figures.

A general increase in population throughout the county is representative of it being a good place to live, Smith said.

"When you've got a nice place to live, people will want to live there,'' Smith said, noting the city of Avon and all of Lorain County is very desirable to potential buyers. "People will come one way or another -- people are moving in every day.''

The population in Columbus jumped 5.9 percent, according to the census, to 670,234."

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 6-30-99, By JoAnne Easterday

"Local farm markets offer homegrown fruits and veggies

AVON - "Eat your vegetables!" Mom coaches at the dinner table. That's no problem if the vegetables are young and succulent, fresh and firm. The fruits and vegetables offered at local farm markets frequently meet that test of edibility because they're grown on site or close by.

Farmers at Fitch's Farm Market, Mayton's, Nagel's and Pickering Hill Farm can monitor availability and pick just at the peak of freshness without waiting till the peas are hard and the corn is coarse and overripe. Berries keep longer because there is not a long period of time between picking and the sale. They're picked before 10 and can be eaten at noon or can be refrigerated for the next morning's breakfast and not be shriveled or rotted.

Richard Fitch is part of the sixth generation to farm the land at 4413 SR83. The seventh generation, 19-year old Adam, 17-year old Daniel and Michael, 13 are lending a hand in production as well. Richard has been operating the farm on a full-time basis for 19 years and says he grows items ranging from A to Z, Asparagus to Zucchini. Before that he worked a full time job and ran the farm on a part time basis.

The farm is operated as a family affair with Richard's father and with his wife, Rita, who is a teacher in North Ridgeville.

Fitch remembered farming in his youth. He said his father had the last operating team of workhorses in Avon. During a particularly wet spring neighboring farmers had small tractors become stuck in the mud. His father's horses pulled the tractors out of the mud.

Those workhorses were useful when the time came for digging horseradish. Fitch remembered dreading coming home from school and following the plow to root out the plant.

When son Adam complained that he was the only kid in high school who had to come home and dig horseradish, Richard hardly commiserated with him. He merely corrected his son.

"You're the only kid in the state of Ohio who has to dig horseradish," he said considering the fact that that farm is the only one to grow the condiment commercially in the state.

The root is sold to a processing firm in the Dayton area. That rootstock dates back at least to the four generations Richard remembers. They dig most of the crop in February to be made up for dressing Easter hams. By March the remaining roots are planted for the next year. There is a smaller digging in the fall as well ...

The 35 acres surrounding Fitch relatives' homes and the market are enough to maintain a steady stream of produce; but eventually the Fitch family may have to eliminate the pick-your-own portion of the business.

"It's harder to get down the roads with a tractor," Fitch said. "People want rural character but they don't want to wait" for a slow vehicle. The influx of new people is good for business, but the appreciation of those very customers does not extend to courtesy on the road to farmers ...

Mayton's farm at 3815 Center Road has red and black raspberries ready for sale.

"Everything we sell, we raise," Bill Mayton said. Their selling hours begin after picking at 10 a.m. and continue till they sell out about four or five in the afternoon. Mayton predicted their tomatoes and peppers would be available about the end of August.

Raspberries are ripening at the Don Nagel, Jr. Farm at 33294 Detroit Road. His father Hugh said the farm would be opening shortly after the fourth of July with corn.

The elder Nagel said he and his son have "a couple hundred acres under cultivation;" 90 acres of that is in corn. The crops include tomatoes, peppers and cauliflower as well. Perhaps what makes the "down-the-hill" farm distinctive is the sale of fresh garden flowers-tall stately zinnias and gloriously huge magenta celosia entice market shoppers. Hugh's wife Anna Mae and daughter Diane Deitz are in charge of making floral designs and wreaths during the season. The farm has 17 acres of grapes, 5 acres of which is composed of Niagara grapes used by the Klingshirn Winery.

Jay Pickering of Pickering Hill Farm, 35699 Detroit Road, said his family-run market is taking orders for Michigan sour cherries that will be available about July 1 and run through July 15. No one in this area of Ohio grows cherries in sufficient numbers to stock the market, he said.

Sweet corn from southern Ohio is available now and the authentic homegrown sweet corn should be ready by July 4. Homegrown tomatoes will also be available in 3 to 4 weeks. With the warm spring peaches are ready now. All the "good stuff," raspberries, beans, and pickles will be ready in 2 to 3 weeks ..."

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