Avon Growth News, 4-20-04 to 8-24-04

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4-20-04: EMH plans ER in Avon

6-30-04: The Landmarks Preservation Commission is finally funded

7-29-04: Western Reserve Development is still alive

8-18-04: Small business meeting at 7:30 pm on 9-14-04 at City Hall

9-1-04: Landmarks Survey Complete

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 4-5-04, By Brad Dicken, Staff Writer

``AVON -- A drive down Jaycox or Lear-Nagel roads between Detroit and Chester roads can be pretty relaxing right now. Only a handful of homes and businesses line the two roads and few drivers travel them other than local residents.

That could all change once a traffic engineer completes a study later this year that examines whether one of those roads would make an ideal spot for a new Interstate 90 exit.

Avon Mayor Jim Smith said he thinks the interchange is necessary to sustain the rapid growth of not only his city, but also Avon Lake and North Ridgeville.

Last year, he said, Avon built 403 homes, North Ridgeville built 422 and Avon Lake built 265. Those numbers show no signs of slowing down. "Within the next three to five years, the need is going to become greater and greater," Smith said ...

The $148,000 study, funded by the city and several local businesses, is looking not only at the need for the interchange, but when it will be needed and the best location. Council has never been able to agree on the best location for the interchange.

Howard Maier, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Area-wide Coordinating Agency, said his agency's board has had little to do with the interchange, but will eventually have to vote on whether to allow it to be built. It would also have to be approved by the federal government. But from previous interchange projects he's worked on, Maier doesn't expect the process to run completely smoothly. "Anytime we have made modifications to the interstate system, there's controversy," he said. "We'll just have to deal with it as it comes along." ...''

Contact Brad Dicken at bdicken@chronicletelegram.com

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 4-14-04, By Krista Schultz

''AVON -- ... TranSystems [Corporation] will evaluate the area bounded by Detroit Road to the south, Walker Road to the north, SR-83 to the west, and Crocker Road to the east ...

The first city stakeholder meeting will be April 29 at 7 pm, [Mayor Jim] Smith said. The meeting will be held at Avon City Hall on Chester Road ...''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 4-14-04, By MICHAEL C. FITZPATRICK, Morning Journal Writer

``EMH plans ER in Avon

AVON -- EMH Regional Medical Center plans to bring a $4 million ''state-of-the-art'' emergency room to the city and could break ground as early as this summer.

Plans call for the facility to be built next to the EMH Center for Health and Fitness on Healthway Drive near Detroit Road and SR 83, less than a quarter of a mile from the Interstate 90 and SR 83 interchange.

''EMH is making a significant $4 million investment to bring a state-of-the-art ER to the rapidly growing Avon community,'' said Kevin C. Martin, president and CEO of EMH Regional Healthcare System.

An initial study said the new emergency room will be within a 15-minute drive of more than 200,000 people, the release said. The proposed ER ''will feature an aesthetically pleasing exterior seamlessly integrated.''

Avon Mayor Jim Smith said he first learned of the plan to build the 24-hour emergency room four weeks ago. He called the proposed emergency room and its safety benefits ''one of the most exciting things'' to happen to the city of Avon in his 11 years as mayor ...

The planned emergency room will also create more ''in-service'' time for Avon and Avon Lake emergency responders because they won't have to travel as far, Smith said. ''They can drop a person off and be back in service to take on other customers or people who need them,'' Smith said. The mayor said he didn't not know how many new jobs the proposed emergency room would bring to the city ...

The new facility will be built onto the eastern side of the health center's diagnostic center, said Jim Piazza, Avon's planning coordinator. He said representatives from EMH will make an informal presentation to City Council on Monday and follow that up with an informal presentation with the city's planning commission on April 21 [2004].

EMH would have to receive a ''special use permit'' from the city to go ahead with its emergency room plan because the area where the facility is to be built is zoned for residential use, Piazza said.

The new emergency room will have 14 exam rooms, a trauma room, a centralized physician and nurses station and family waiting area. The facility will also have a three-bay sallyport designed to protect both crew and patients from weather, the release said ...

Construction is to start in the middle of summer, the release said, and the new facility should be up and operating 10 months after the groundbreaking, the release said. ''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 4-14-04, By Christina Jolliffe

``EMH plans ER in Avon

AVON " EMH Regional Healthcare System plans to build a new $4 million emergency room facility next to the EMH Center for Health and Fitness Avon.

Construction of the 16,000-square-foot freestanding building could begin as early as this summer and completed by the summer of 2005.

"EMH is making a significant $4 million investment to bring a state-of-the-art ER to the rapidly growing Avon community," said Kevin C. Martin, president and CEO of EMH ...

The exterior of the proposed building will be similar to the fitness center and medical offices already located on the 45-acre site. It will be smaller than the fitness center, which is 60,000 square feet, and the medical office building, which is 20,000 square feet.

Inside the emergency room will be 14 exam rooms, a trauma room, a centralized physician and nurse"s station and a family waiting area. The facility also will feature an enclosed drive-up area for ambulances. The new ER will employ about 35 healthcare workers.

The emergency room will not be considered a trauma center, but will have a trauma room, said Wayne Kipp, vice president of business development and marketing at EMH.

Patients with severe injuries more than likely will be flown to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Kipp said. Those with less severe but still life-threatening injuries, also would likely go to another hospital, he said ...

A landing pad for helicopters may be part of the project, but EMH does not plan on bringing patients in by helicopter, only sending them out ...''

Contact Christina Jolliffe at cjolliffe@chronicletelegram.com.

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 6-15-04, By JENNIFER HICKIN, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon ER gets a green light

AVON -- EMH Regional Medical Center's plan to build an emergency room in Avon can move forward now that City Council approved a required ''special use'' permit for the facility.

Council voted 6-0 in favor of the permit, which will allow the new 24-hour emergency room to be built next to the EMH Center for Health and Fitness on Healthway Drive near Detroit Road and SR 83, less than a quarter of a mile from Interstate 90 and SR 83.

EMH had to receive the special permit from the city to go ahead with its emergency room plan because the area where the facility is to be built is zoned for residential use.

The ground breaking for the $4 million ''state-of-the-art'' emergency room is planned for this summer with the facility expected to open 10 months later, according to information from EMH.

The emergency room will have 14 exam rooms, a trauma room, a centralized physicians and nurses' station and a family waiting area. The facility will also have a three-bay sallyport for ambulances designed to protect both crew and patients from weather.

As part of the plan, a quiet and no-fly zone will be put in place to try and minimize impact to residents near the emergency facility. As part of these zones, emergency vehicles will have to turn off their lights and sirens when they approach the emergency room, and helicopters will be required to follow a specific flight pattern ...

In other business, in a 6-0 vote, council approved a developer's agreement for Chester Road Square, a restaurant and retail development to be located across from Wal-Mart. The developer's agreement was needed because improvements will have to be made to the roadway in that area, according to City Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza.

Also motions to suspend the rules and vote early on ordinances related to taxing lottery winnings failed, as well as an ordinance to send a charter amendment regarding Charter Review Commission alternates to the voters. Instead, the ordinances went to the first of three readings and will be voted on at a future meeting.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 6-15-04, By Nick Houser

``Avon Council OK's ER add-on

AVON -- City Council unanimously approved a plan to build an emergency room at the EMH Health and Fitness Center after giving the public one more chance to sound off on the proposal Monday. Council voted in favor of EMH's plan to add the 14-room emergency facility ...

Denis Wright, director of facilities for EMH, said construction would start in August and is scheduled for completion by May 2005 ...

The emergency room will feature 14 rooms, a trauma room, a helicopter pad and a certified staff and diagnostic, radiology and laboratory facilities. Wright said he was relieved to finally gain approval after a series of meetings with the city and residents near the center.

A no-fly zone was added to the plan and will be set by the Federal Aviation Administration after some residents expressed concern about noise made by the aircraft that might be used to transport patients from facility. As a part of the restricted area, pilots must approach from the facility's south side over Interstate 90.''

Contact Nick Houser at nhouser@chronicletelegram.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 5-15-04, By BRIAN BARDWELL, Morning Journal Writer

``Avon mayor stung by his backyard hobby

AVON -- Avon Mayor Jim Smith is still recovering from an attack by his bees that sent him to the hospital last week, but the only lasting damage has been to his pride.

''It was an embarrassing situation because I know better,'' he said. ''I know better and was just in a hurry.''

Smith said that he had gone out to the hive last Tuesday to change a mite strip, which controls the parasitic insects that kill bees by feeding off them and their developing larvae.

But he said that, as usual, he was ''in a big hurry'' and ''taking a shortcut'' by wearing only a hood, rather than the full beekeepers' suit, and not using a smoker, a bellow-like device that is supposed to calm the bees and make them easier to handle.

And although Smith says that because honeybees and bumblebees are so much more docile than yellow jackets, it wouldn't always be a problem to handle them, but this time it was.

''It was just a day they didn't want to be messed with,'' he said, so when he reached in to pull out the strip, one of the bees stung him and plenty more followed. Smith couldn't say just how many times he was stung, but he did say that ''the bees had a smorgasbord on me.'' ...

He began to feel lightheaded, and went to the emergency room at St. Joseph Community Center, where he was treated and released that night. Since then, he's only been suffering jabs from other people around City Hall ...

The mayor's grandfather had been a beekeeper as well, and Smith has been beekeeping for about a year and a half. He says that his hive, a 3-foot-tall, 18-inch-square box with about 60,000 bees, helps in pollinating the blueberry bushes and other plants around his 3-acre lot.

This isn't the first time since he began handling bees that he has been stung, but he said it was the worst, because he was sloppy about his work, he said.

Smith is back into the bees already, though, and recently was out working with them. ''It does make you nervous, though.'' ''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press; 6-30-04, By Julie A. Short

``Council votes to purchase third ambulance, commission gets budget

AVON -- Two hot reappropriation ordinances received final approval from city council during Monday night's (June 28, 2004) meeting. Each was taken to the full three readings since council members felt more discussion was needed.

The first ordinance to pass enables the fire department to purchase an additional rescue squad, bringing the fleet to three. The $90,000 purchase was not sitting well with At-Large Councilman Larry Kroeger who requested answers to several questions he had concerning the need for a third unit. In the end, council voted unanimously to proceed with the purchase.

"It's long overdue," Avon Fire Chief Frank Root said after the vote. "We really need the squad. As the city grows, so do the department's calls. Look at what is happening in Avon Lake. They, too, need and will be purchasing a third ambulance."

According to Root, the department has received 494 rescue calls to date this year. In 2003, the department has received more than 1,000 calls. Avon's average response time for rescue squad calls is 4 minutes and 25 seconds.

"We are running a little higher than we were at this time last year," Root said. "We plan to purchase a brand new vehicle via the state bid process and hope to have the vehicle running in Avon within six months."

The Landmarks Preservation Commission will finally be able to begin its job as council passed unanimously a reappropriations ordinance to allocate a sum of $15,000 to be used to hire a consultant to take an inventory of historic landmarks, as well as law director fees, secretarial services and professional fees.

"We haven't met since March because we couldn't do anything until we had a budget passed by council," Commission Chairperson Carol Hartwig said. "Now that we have our funds, we will be meeting Thursday [7-1-04] to move forward. On our agenda will be the secretarial services, discussion with our consultant and discussing the possibility of asking the city to extend the moratorium on demolishing of historic structures. It is set to expire in September."

One of the reasons for the delay on the reappropriations of funds for the commission was the request by commission members for a secretary. It has been the city's practice to have the chairperson of city committees to take and dispense with the minutes of meetings, as well as chair the meetings, at no additional compensation. Most on council believed the commission should be recognized and treated like other committees and not receive a special secretary ...

[The Landmarks Preservation Commission is established by Charter, just as is the Planning Commission, the Civil Service Commission, or Council itself; and it should have secretarial services equivalent to the other commissions. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is required to maintain a register of landmarks, give notice to property owners, and inform the public. These functions far exceed the secretarial requirements of Council committees.

However, money spent on improved records of the proceedings of Council committees would be money well spent -- for the legal protection of Avon and for the right of the citizens to know what is going on.]

In other council news, Council voted to amend the special use permit for Goodtimes Fun Park to allow the lowering of the age limit for using the paintball facility. Previously, owner Chris Heinebrodt came before council requesting the age be set at 18. He has since researched other paintball facilities in the area and found the age to be lower. With a parent's consent, anyone 14 years or older may participate in paintball activities once it is installed at Goodtimes.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 7-29-04, By Julie A. Short

``Family sells land to make way for proposed Western Reserve subdivision

Avon resident Jim Marsiglia has fond memories of his family's more than 30-acres of land off Long Road.

"I used to ride my go-cart back in there," Jim said. "We also had a lot of sheep who would take care of eating the grass. There used to be a big barn on the property, as well as a large tree that came from Germany." ...

The land is now the site of a proposed 21 Western Reserve lot subdivision. Chuck Szucs of Willoughby Hills-based Polaris Engineering and Surveying, representing Gamellia Construction, was before the city's planning commission last week [7-21-04] with plans for amending the preliminary plat for Halsted Village.

"This particular Western Reserve subdivisions will have larger homes on one-acre plus lots," Szucs said. "The development will consist of one cul de sac street of approximately 1,450 feet long. We are seeking a variance from the [Lorain County] health department for a septic system. Currently, there is no sanitary available. A septic system will be in lieu of that. We are not sure at this time if the city will require sewers." ...

[Click here for more on this development.]

In other planning commission news, members voted unanimously to allow for the splitting off a 7.8-acre parcel into a number of parcels within the Avon Pointe Professional Campus. Developer Shaun Brady said the splits are necessary because banks are more willing to finance tenants when the land is in smaller portions rather than one large piece.

Brady would not disclose publicly which new tenants he has lined up for the 20-acre professional office and dining campus under construction on Chester Road.

The new restaurant proposed for the former Country Heirs antique shop (35800 Detroit Road) received approval for the construction of deep freezer/color addition and an 8 foot-by-10 foot maintenance building, pending review from the city's French Creek District architect.''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 8-3-04, By JENNIFER HICKIN, Morning Journal Writer

``Solicitor solution is sought

AVON -- City Council continues to look at how to best deal with unwanted door-to-door solicitors in Avon, with the issue going to the Legal Committee for further discussion.

A number of cities have already been challenged in court regarding door-to-door solicitor ordinances, according to city Law Director John Gasior ...

The city's current ordinance on solicitors allows for police to respond to a residents' call regarding solicitors by speaking with the solicitors to try and get as much information about their activities before sending them on their way, according to Gasior.

However, the ordinance is unconstitutional and the Police Department doesn't enforce it, according to Avon police Chief John Vilagi.

Something the courts do seem OK with is allowing residents to place no-soliciting stickers in their windows, Gasior said.

The drawback with the sticker is that police have no authority to press charges against a solicitor unless a resident signs a trespassing complaint, according to Vilagi, something he believes most residents would not want to do.

If the city does go with a sticker, residents need to be made aware they have a responsibility to sign a complaint, according to Mayor Jim Smith, who said he gets at least three to five phone calls a week from people complaining about solicitors.

Although there is no difference between purchasing a no-soliciting sticker from an office supply store or getting one from the city, a city-issued sticker would allow the Police Department to keep track of those with stickers and provide solicitors with information of who does not want people at their door, according to Gasior.

The issue was sent to the Legal Committee for further review.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 8-18-04, By Julie A. Short

``Summit planned for merchants to address concerns

AVON -- What started out as few comments made during the conclusion of a city council meeting, has snowballed into a meeting of the minds to address concerns brought forth from merchants throughout Avon.

During council's June 28 [2004] meeting, Councilwoman-at-Large JoAnne Easterday presented to fellow members concerns she had been hearing from small business owners over the city's perceived lack of concern for them ...

It was at that time that members of council agreed that it would be beneficial for the small business owners and city officials to gather at city hall for a meeting to discuss concerns more in depth.

Small business owners take note: The Economic Development Committee of council is extending an invitation to all commercial businesses to attend an "economic summit" On Sept. 14 [2004] at 7:30 p.m. in council chambers at city hall. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss possible ways the city might assist in the economic success of area merchants ...

Easterday hopes many owners will be in attendance at the meeting to offer ideas as to how everyone can work together ...

Possible topics for the summit might include discussion of problems merchants have faced or are currently facing, ways the city might offer assistance and businesses that are doing well might consider sharing tips and ideas on what has helped them succeed.

Ron Larson, owner of the Tree House Gallery and Tea Room, believes the meeting is encouraging, but hopes talks continue.

"I've seen this before where groups come together once or twice and then nothing happens after that. I hope this will not be the case."

Larson, well known for developing Olde Avon Village, would like to see the plans for Avon's downtown.

"I've heard lots of talk about the city creating a streetscape with lighting and benches along Detroit Road once it is widened, but we have yet to see those plans in print. The city has spent a lot of money on the skatepark that attracts a limited audience. The entire community would benefit from an attractive downtown area. If the city is concerned about the French Creek District and maintaining its heritage, than it needs to walk the talk."

Larson would also like to see the city become part of the Heritage Loan Program, which offers preservation and landmark restoration assistance to communities. The program is currently available within Cuyahoga County. There is talk that it could be set up for property owners in Lorain County.

"We need to put this on the front burner," he said. "As a small business owner, I would take advantage of that if the city were involved in it. It would also give other people who own historic homes a vehicle to maintain and correct some of the construction issues." ...''

[Maybe Detroit Road could become an Ohio Scenic Byway to encourage tourism in Avon. A Heritage Home Loan Program, especially in the French Creek District, should include commercialy-zoned century homes that can be saved by using them for commercial purposes. ]

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 8-22-04, By Melissa Ramaley

[The Heritage Home Loan Program]

``Old homes can be charming, classic, grand pieces of history, or battered, neglected and sagging. In Lorain County you can find homes that fill out both ends of the spectrum, but a new loan program may tilt the balance in favor of the tidy.

The Heritage Home Loan Program is a cooperative effort of county government, local governments, nonprofit organizations and lending institutions that has been well-received in Cuyahoga County, and may soon be available locally. Cleveland program organizers presented the program to potential contributors in Elyria last week.

Kathleen Crowther, director of the Cleveland Restoration Society, said repairing old housing is good for the economy because it draws people to urban commercial centers ...

Owners of homes built before 1950 in participating areas of the county would be eligible for reduced-interest rate loans. The loan may be used to repair and maintain the house's original features, or to restore it to its original state -- modern additions such as vinyl siding would not be covered.

Sara Hobbs, manager of the Cleveland Restoration Society's Preservation Resource Center, said not only does the loan provide a financial incentive to undertake improvements, but the program helps ease the strain of renovations ...

In Cuyahoga County, homeowners can apply for the loan through KeyBank, then schedule a site visit from the Cleveland Restoration Society. The society helps applicants determine what repairs are needed, and how to make historically accurate repairs.

Terry Wacker, chairman of the South Elyria Neighborhood Development Corp., allowed presenters of the loan program to do a site visit to one of his rental properties ...

"I think we are in dire need of this sort of program," he said. "Given the economic times, money is scarce for restorations. A lot of times, landlords and homeowners resort to the quick fix. Over time, that begins to degrade the housing stock. For streets to remain valuable, homes have to remain intact." ...''

Contact Melissa Ramaley at mramaley@chronicletelegram.com

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 9-1-04, By Julie A. Short

``Landmarks Preservation Commission creates historic homes list

AVON -- After months of playing the waiting game, members of the Landmarks Preservation Commission are finally getting down to the business outlined in the city charter.

In June, city council unanimously passed a reappropriations ordinance to allocate a sum of $15,000 to be used to hire a consultant to take an inventory of historic landmarks, as well as law director fees, secretarial services and professional fees ...

"We are happy to report the survey by Steve McQuillin is complete," Chairwoman Carol Hartwig said. "We will be sending out letters to these property owners to let them know they are on the survey, once we confirm the addresses. Ultimately, we would like to have a public meeting with them." ...

"The plan for the public meeting is to further explain to the residents how the new preservation amendment operates," said Hartwig. "We want to give the residents as much information as possible."

According to the amendment voted into the city's charter last November [2003], the owner of a property in Avon, which is designated as a landmark, may appeal to the Landmarks Preservation Commission to have the property removed from the registry of landmarks.

No person or governmental body owning a registered landmark shall demolish said landmark without a demolition permit issued by the commission. The commission shall issue a demolition permit no later than six months after receiving the application for said permit.

"The moratorium on structures over 100 years old is set to expire in September," Hartwig said. "We had to complete the survey before this and get in the touch with the residents. The commission will not be requesting an extension to the moratorium." Council voted on March 22 to establish the moratorium.

McQuillin also presented to commission members a document outlining historic district design guidelines he hopes will aid residents in preserving their historic structures ...

The commission members have not yet set a date for their next meeting but members hope the city will have an assistant clerk of council in place who will transcribe notes taken during commission meetings ...

"The job has been posted and we are waiting to hear if someone has been hired," Hartwig said. "The commission is coming along. Our meetings have been very interesting. We look forward to meeting with the residents and continuing to preserve Avon."''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 9-2-04, By JENNIFER HICKIN, Morning Journal Writer

``No plans yet for I-90, SR 611 site

AVON -- Heavy equipment has been busy filling in and leveling the land in front of the Fairfield Inn & Suites at SR 611 and Chester Road, but a state senator who owns part of the property said there are no immediate plans to add to the development around the busy Interstate 90 interchange.

State Sen. Jeffry Armbruster, R-North Ridgeville, said, once the hills of dirt have been compacted on his property and an adjacent parcel, the land will be up out of the hole it was in and will be ready to be developed.

Armbruster, who owns gas stations in Westlake, Lakewood, North Olmsted, Bay Village, Amherst and several locations in the Columbus area, said he doesn't plan to open a gas station on the 1.92-acre parcel purchased from the Shell Oil Company in 1994 ...

Lodging Industries Inc., owner of Fairfield Inn & Suites, owns the remaining property being leveled, according to Avon Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza.

The Lodging Industries representative who is able to comment on any future plans for the site was out of the office yesterday ...

As the area becomes more built up and more cars exit at SR 611, the city of Avon is trying to prepare for increased traffic with a plan to move Chester Road to help traffic flow.

Once started, the project would involve moving the intersection of Chester Road and SR 611 west of the McDonald's on SR 611 to improve traffic flow in the area, according to Mayor Jim Smith.

By moving the road, more vehicles will be able to turn onto SR 611 before reaching a light, allowing traffic to move along better, he said, but the road project isn't expected to take place for another couple of years.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from the Chronicle Telegram, 8-24-04, By John Osborne

``Several districts gaining students

While Elyria Schools battles dropping enrollment, falling from 8,288 students during the 2000-01 school year to 8,021 children last year, most districts in the county are either maintaining student population levels or experiencing significant growth ...

The Avon public school district, where enrollment has jumped from 1,747 students during the 2000-01 school year to a projected 2,696 children this year, attributes the substantial increase in the number of students to a booming housing market ...

The story is much the same next door in Avon Lake, where enrollment has ballooned from 3,096 students in 2000-01 to 3,360 last year, according to interim superintendent Dennis Rectenwald ...

The Sheffield-Sheffield Lake school district has also grown over the past five years, jumping from a 2000-01 student enrollment of 2,000 to 2,121 in 2003-04 ...

With a loss of almost 1,000 students in the past five years, from 10,530 in 2000-01 to 9,596 last year, Lorain Schools hasn't been as fortunate as many of the other districts in the county, according to district spokesman Dean Schurr.

"Typically, (our drop in enrollment) can be attributed to the effects of charter schools," he said.''

Contact John Osborne at josborne@chronicletelegram.com.

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