Newspaper Record of XXXXX/JACOBS in Avon,
1-29-10 to Present

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  • 1-29-10: Governor Strickland fast tracks Avon's Nagel Road interchange

  • 6-3-10: Interchange assessments protested

  • 11-6-10: Avon to take interchange land by eminent domain

  • 6-6-11: Mayor Smith says property owners shouldn't be assessed for interchange

  • 9-15-11: Ground breaking for the Nagel I-90 interchange

  • 12-3-11: Cleveland Clinic open house -- The Richard E. Jacobs Health Center

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    LETTER to The Editor of The Plain Dealer, 11-11-07, by Joseph W. Kunzelman

    ``Who will stand up to preserve more land?

    In response to the Oct. 17 [2007 PD] article "Farming done here from now, forever":

    Thank you, Jarvis Babcock and family, for the generous, unselfish gift of 1,018 acres that surely would have been destroyed by developers.

    I live in Avon. We have seen judges and city administrators allow aggressive developers to carve our city up like a big, fat turkey: "Ah, more retail. This will solve all our problems." These self-centered, power-hungry individuals and companies have destroyed acre after acre of woods and trees while driving our last little bit of wildlife up on to Interstate 90 to be slaughtered.

    Did anyone really think that the I-90/[Nagel] Road interchange was not going to happen? Does anyone honestly believe that this will not continue to open the door for more businesses and residents to leave Cleveland, Lorain and the inner-ring suburbs?

    Unfortunately, nobody has the guts or the money to stop this travesty.

    Where are the Babcocks of Avon and the rest of Northeast Ohio?''

    Joseph W. Kunzelman, Avon

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    [Regarding the impact of the Nagel Rd. interchange, one of the most important things is to NOT DESTROY Detroit Road. The key to solving that problem is having alternative ways to go from Jaycox to Nagel, besides Detroit: south marginal -- Middleton - Avon Rd.; north marginal -- Chester - Clemens; both interchange marginals opening on Bradley.]

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 11-3-07, by Joan Mazzolini, Plain Dealer Reporter

    ``Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals compete with their expanding medical centers

    Cleveland's two huge hospital systems are in a competitive game of leapfrog, hopping from one suburb to the next in pursuit of the well-insured patients ...

    But it's an expensive endeavor to chase patients, or try to poach them from other hospital systems.

    And the recent moves have the two Cleveland systems butting up against other hospital systems in Summit and Lorain counties that don't seem that pleased by the closeness.

    "There are four hospitals that are in Lorain County and none operating at capacity," said Jim Simone, vice president of finance for EMH Regional Health Care System. The Elyria hospital will be celebrating its 100th anniversary next year.

    Simone said the Clinic's plans for a new big medical facility in Avon will "make it difficult for all of us to survive."

    "There's not a need for it," Simone said. "We don't need more facilities. There's only so many chest X-rays you can do, even if you put X-ray machines on every corner." ...''

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

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 12-25-07, by Michael Scott, Plain Dealer Reporter

    [Smog Sprawl]

    ``AVON -- As development spreads, bad air follows, critics say Smog sprawl - it could be coming soon to a suburb near you.

    Smog sprawl is the environmental notion that air pollution trails after residential and industrial development as it surges out from the city center to once-rural suburbia and beyond.

    In other words, as we move out to the country, we drive longer and farther to get to work, we pump out more pollutants along the way and foul up the fresh air we drove out there for in the first place ...

    [Northeast Ohio] is already under federal mandate to reduce air pollution -- both ozone and particulates -- by 2009, putting virtually every transportation or commercial/industrial development decision under an increasingly detailed environmental microscope.

    But there's not always a clear-cut answer when balancing the transportation needs of one growing community with the broader concerns of the region.

    That's why planners have to consider, for example, whether the privately funded and fast-tracked interchange to be built in Avon will add to air pollution in that Lorain County suburb -- and the entire region.

    Critics are certain that it will.

    "This is a community where they're putting in a new interchange and where they're planning low-density, automobile-dependent land use," said David Beach, director of the Center for Regional Sustainability of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. "That's hardly a sustainable approach in an age of climate change and scarcity of energy resources." ...

    The city's population surged from about 7,000 to more than 17,000 in just more than a decade. Further, it ranked as the 67th-fastest growing community in the nation from 2000-07, Mayor James Smith said. The community already has two I-90 exits: Ohio 611 on the western end and Ohio 83 near the center ...''

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

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 1-26-08, by Joan Mazzolini, Plain Dealer Reporter

    ``Clinic loses battle with Beachwood schools for records in tax case

    The Cleveland Clinic must turn over financial information that the Beachwood Board of Education requested to make its case that the hospital's Cedar Road facility should not be exempted from property taxes, the Board of Tax Appeals ruled yesterday ...

    The board's decision should move forward a case that has languished for two years, after the Clinic appealed the Ohio tax commissioner's decision that the property is taxable.

    The commissioner ruled that the Clinic's Cedar Road facility was an office building for physicians where little if any charitable care is provided and that it is not eligible for a property tax exemption.

    The Beachwood schools had challenged the Clinic's request for property tax exemption. Ohio law allows school districts, which receive the bulk of property taxes, to challenge exemptions.

    Districts with large Clinic facilities, such as Independence, Willoughby- Eastlake and Solon, have followed Beachwood's lead. The outcome of the Beachwood case will affect their challenges ...''

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

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 6-25-08, by Joan Mazzolini, Plain Dealer Reporter

    ``Cleveland Clinic expected to get more than $1 billion in bonds to pay off old debt and to finance new facilities

    The Cleveland Clinic is expected to get approval today from a state agency to issue more than $1 billion in bonds to pay off old debt and to finance the new Avon and Twinsburg facilities.

    The $1.02 billion in bonds would be issued through the Ohio Higher Education Facility Commission. A change in state law allows the commission to issue the low-interest bonds for nonprofit hospitals just as it does for nonprofit Ohio colleges and universities ...

    About $120 million will go to facilities the Clinic plans to build in Avon and Twinsburg ...``

    To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: jmazzolini@plaind.com, 216-999-4563

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 6-26-08, By Bryan Story, bstory@sunnews.com

    ``AVON -- The Richard E. Jacobs Group is continuing to buy up land near the site of the proposed Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road.

    The Jacobs group acquired an 89-acre parcel on the north side of Chester Road just west of Jaycox Road, costing $8.9 million ...

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 7-31-08, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

    Zoning changes OK'd for future Avon interchange site

    ``AVON -- Hotels, restaurants, office and retail could be in the future for land on Chester Road near the future Nagel Road interchange with Interstate 90.

    Last night [7-30-08], zoning changes for future commercial development on land owned by the Richard E. Jacobs Group were approved by the Avon Planning Commission.

    The zoning changes are for a 5-acre parcel on the south side of Chester Road that the Jacobs Group is under contract to purchase within an 88-acre parcel it bought in June, according to Jim Eppele, vice president of real estate development for the company. The commission also approved rezoning for about two-thirds of a 104-acre parcel the Jacobs Group has under contract on the north side of Chester Road. Both parcels are west of Jaycox Road ...

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 9-21-08, By Scot Allyn, sallyn@MorningJournal.com

    ``Jacobs Group buying property around proposed I-90 interchange

    AVON -- In spite of a Wall Street meltdown, plunging retail sales and nationally new home starts sinking to their lowest level since 1991, one Cleveland-area developer ... [has] acquired more land this summer near the future Nagel Road interchange on Interstate 90.

    In August [2008], The Richard E. Jacobs Group closed a deal on 103 acres on the north side of Chester Road west of Jaycox Road for $3 million, across the street from 88 acres it purchased in June. Tomorrow [9-22-08], Avon City Council will vote on rezoning for part of the acreage that would allow stores, office space, restaurants and hotels to be built in the wooded area.

    This summer's acquisition is in addition to 213 acres the Jacobs Group bought in 1999 from the Norfolk Southern Railway on Nagel Road, north of Interstate 90, according to Jim Eppele, vice president for real estate development for the Richard E. Jacobs Group ...

    The Jacobs Group sold 40 acres of the 213-acre parcel to the Cleveland Clinic, which plans a medical center there, according to Heather Phillips, a Clinic spokeswoman.

    The Jacobs Group is also developing the Avon Crossing retail center at Chester Road and SR 83, where a 104,000-square-foot J.C. Penney store is scheduled to open Saturday [9-27-08]. The J.C. Penney store will include a 1,500-square-foot Sephora cosmetics and perfume center inside, according to J.C. Penney's spokesman Tim Lyons ...

    Top -- Home

    www.morningjournal.com/articles/2010/01/29/news/mj2227388.txt

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 1-29-10, By RICHARD PAYERCHIN rpayerchin@MorningJournal.com

    [Governor Strickland fast tracks Avon's Nagel Road interchange]

    ``AVON -- The new Interstate 90 exit at Nagel Road in Avon is in the fast lane for development.

    Ohio's Transportation Review Advisory Council voted yesterday [1-28-10] to create a new FAST TRAC review process to speed review of key transportation projects around the state.

    No. 1 on the list: the Nagel Road interchange, a $23.7 million project that will connect the road to I-90, a new five-lane Nagel Road bridge and upgrades at the intersection of Lear [Nagel] and Chester roads. The highway exit was one of five the TRAC picked yesterday for the FAST TRAC process.

    "That means as fast as we can go, they'll work with us," Avon Mayor Jim Smith said ... If all goes smoothly, the project could be bid this year, with construction starting in 2011 and finishing in late 2012, cutting at least eight months -- maybe more -- from the original project schedule, Smith said.

    The intersection will be home to one of the Cleveland Clinic's newest facilities as the medical giant builds the new $97.9 million Avon Family Health & Surgery Center.

    The 186,000-square-foot facility, set to open in 2011, will offer primary care services and more than 30 specialty services, including physical therapy, aquatic therapy, an ambulatory surgery center and a 24-hour emergency room. It also will bring 400 jobs to the city and generate approximately $1 million in city and state taxes annually ...

    "Right to start, the Cleveland Clinic is going to have $35 million going into wages for people just to construct the building," Smith said. "There's immediate economic benefit for the area and the state." ...

    Smith was joined yesterday [in Columbus] by officials from the Cleveland Clinic.

    The city will pay for one-third of the project, mostly with income taxes generated by the new jobs around the site. Nearby property owner Richard E. Jacobs Group will pay for another third of the project, and the final third will be generated through tax increment financing [TIF], a funding method that uses property taxes to pay for infrastructure improvements. [Avon taxpayers are really paying the TIF taxes; so Avon is paying two thirds, not one third.]''

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    Source: www.loraincounty.com

    Title: Avon's debt

    Message:

    ``Quoting from above:

    "The city [Avon] will pay for one-third of the [$23.7 million] project, mostly with income taxes generated by the new jobs around the site. Nearby property owner Richard E. Jacobs Group will pay for another third of the project, and the final third will be generated through tax increment financing, a funding method that uses property taxes to pay for infrastructure improvements."

    Apparently, Avon must assume all of the debt and is responsible for paying off two-thirds of it. What happened to the Jacobs Group paying one-half, and when will Avon get the money from the Jacobs Group?''

    Written by: Commentator 1 on January 29, 2010

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    Title: Re: Avon's debt

    Message:

    ``I agree Commentator 1. Tax Increment Financing is really no differnet then regular taxes except the county doesn't get it's cut. Other then that, it is no magic bullet ...''

    Written by: Commentator 2 on January 29, 2010

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    Title: Re: Avon's debt

    Message:

    ``I agree. At the end of the day Avon citizens are paying 2/3's. I see that the state is trying to push the project along. I wonder if the money is in place to do so -- I doubt it.''

    Written by: Commentator 3 on February 3, 2010

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    Title: Avon School Levy (5.9 mills)

    Message:

    ``Commentator 4 wrote on February 15, 2010:

    "5. What are the estimated revenue increases to the school system from the Lear [Nagel] Rd. interchange?"

    None. All revenue increases will be used to pay off the TIF bonds used to build the interchange.''

    Written by: Commentator 1 on February 16, 2010

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    Title: Avon School Levy (5.9 mills)

    Message:

    ``Commentator 1 has nailed it. While nobody likes a tax increase, perhaps none of this would be necessary if we operated differently -- case in point the financing for the interchange. Who will benefit from the interchange? Those that develop near it -- not the common taxpayer unless you buy into the thought that having more services in that area and being able to get off of I-90 a bit sooner is a real benefit to you.

    As someone posted earlier WE will be paying for 2/3 of this interchange as the TIF money -- which at the end of the day is taxpayer money that could be used for our roads -- will be used to pay the debt on this project.

    While I don't like tax increases, it is interesting that other then Commentator 1's comment no one is mentioning that if our goverement did what they said they would do (meaning we would only finance 1/2 of this project and private enterprise would pay 1/2) instead of the 2/3, 1/3 split, then perhaps we could use some TIF funding for the school and reduce the impact to the common taxpayer ...''

    Written by: Commentator 3 on February 17, 2010

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    Title: Avon School Levy (5.9 mills)

    Message:

    ''The School Board should demand a piece of the action at Nagel Rd. on behalf of Avon taxpayers.''

    Written by: Commentator 1 on February 18, 2010

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    Title: Avon School Levy (5.9 mills)

    Message:

    ``Here's something the Avon School Board can do:

    ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 1-26-08, by Joan Mazzolini

    ~Clinic loses battle with Beachwood schools for records in tax case

    The Cleveland Clinic must turn over financial information that the Beachwood Board of Education requested to make its case that the hospital's Cedar Road facility should not be exempted from property taxes, the Board of Tax Appeals ruled yesterday ...

    The board's decision should move forward a case that has languished for two years, after the Clinic appealed the Ohio tax commissioner's decision that the property is taxable.

    The commissioner ruled that the Clinic's Cedar Road facility was an office building for physicians where little if any charitable care is provided and that it is not eligible for a property tax exemption.

    The Beachwood schools had challenged the Clinic's request for property tax exemption. Ohio law allows school districts, which receive the bulk of property taxes, to challenge exemptions.

    Districts with large Clinic facilities, such as Independence, Willoughby- Eastlake and Solon, have followed Beachwood's lead. The outcome of the Beachwood case will affect their challenges ..."''

    Written by: Commentator 1 on February 19, 2010

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    Title: avon paddles towards new outdoor pool

    Message:

    Commentator 2 wrote on 2-25-10:

    "Why do we need to keep passing taxes for everything? What is the purpose of all of the Commercial activity? Is it to simply increase traffic? Isn't it to help keep taxes low? ..."

    Commentator 2 has hit the nail on the head ... No skin is coming off the City's nose with the Nagel Rd. interchange. The city income tax money from the new Cleveland Clinic facilty goes untouvhed to the City government. The Avon School Board should demand compensation from the City for every real estate tax dollar lost from tax exemption. With this money, a 5.9 mil increase would probably not be necessary.

    What happened to the Jacobs promise to pay half the cost of the interchange? Does our government think the voters are just going to forget about this? It may be argued that `you can't get blood out of a stome.' In that case, turn to the immediate beneficiary of the Nagel Road interchange -- the Cleveland Clinic:

    ``NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 6-25-08, by Joan Mazzolini

    ``The Cleveland Clinic is expected to get approval today from a state agency to issue more than $1 billion in bonds ...

    The $1.02 billion in bonds would be issued through the Ohio Higher Education Facility Commission. A change in state law allows the commission to issue the low-interest bonds for nonprofit hospitals just as it does for nonprofit Ohio colleges and universities ...

    About $120 million will go to facilities the Clinic plans to build in Avon and ...``

    Let the Clinic pick up the Jacobs half of the interchange. And let's be honest about what's happening with the school money. Instead of calling for teacher layoffs, how about calling for the momey that should rightfully be used for education.

    Written by: Commentator 1 on February 26, 2010

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    Title: avon paddles towards new outdoor pool

    Message:

    People need to realize that new businesses bring in mostly only new income taxes, which go to the city. Since 75%% of real estate taxes are usually abated for 10 years or more, and most of the real estate taxes go to the schools, the city council is harming the schools for the benefit of the city ...

    Written by: Commentator 2 on February 26, 2010

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    Title: Commentator 2's Point...

    Message:

    ... Schools get killed by tax abatement. City government is literally immune from this because the majority of their revenues are generated via income tax.

    This is one of the fundamental flaws of our public education funding system: the burden of paying for schools falls on property owners. If cities don't abate, business moves elsewhere to get an abatement. This is why it is important for the Board of Education to work in concert with our city government. There needs to be a balance. We need businesses to enter Avon, but at the same time we can't do that on the backs of the Avon taxpayers.

    Written by: Commentator 5 on February 28, 2010

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    Title: avon paddles towards new outdoor pool

    Message:

    It just hit me. Why the recent spate of real estate tax levies on the ballot? Our City government has a historical preference for income tax levies. So why the library and now an outdoor pool? Possible answer: Any real estate tax levy that passes raises money for the Nagel Rd. interchange because of the TIF diversion.

    Written by: Commentator 1 on March 1, 2010

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    Title: NEW INTERCHANGE

    Message:

    Isn't the clinic considered a tax-exempt entity, therefore it doesn't pay real estate taxes which is the only thing that benefits the schools. The city will get the income taxes from the employees.

    As to other businesses, not much for schools if city gives abatement as always seems to do.

    Written by: Commentator 2 on March 8, 2010

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    Title: NEW INTERCHANGE

    Message:

    As Commentator 2 has pointed out, new businesses in the Nagel Rd. area will have their real estate taxes abated; so the schools will continue to get NOTHING. In the meantime, the rest of us will be responsible for paying off the $23 million debt incurred to build the interchange.

    Written by: Commentator 1 on March 11, 2010

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    Title: NEW INTERCHANGE-South

    Message:

    First off, The Clinic told the city they were coming with or without an interchange. Secondly the citizens of Avon are going to be stuck with the albatross around their neck (the debt from it) for years to come. Here is what we need to think about: what is the benefit to the citizens of Avon? That is what should be considered.

    In my opinion we are all paying so a few developers can get richer while we have been conned into believing there is some great benefit to all of the citizens. I don't see this lowering our taxes. I don't see this helping repair and build out our infrastructure that is in need of repair or will need repair (in fact I think the debt will put us behind the 8 ball in doing major road and sewer repairs that will be needed in the future) and I don't see this making Avon any less congested from a traffic perspective.

    The other thing that nobody has mentioned here is what other problems is this interchange going to cause. I'll throw one out to everyone - Nagel Rd itself. I think this will drive a good amount of traffic south into Avon and North Ridgeville. This section of Nagel is already in moderate to poor shape and is already VERY congested during rush hour. Further, [in addition] to just repairing the road, if traffic does increase in this area, you may need to consider widening it to put in turn lanes at some of the intersections like Schwartz Rd and Nagel. Look for the room there -- good luck.

    It is easy to say that this interchange will drive more development in this area, and it may. However no one will really be able to measure what the difference in development would have been without it ...

    There is 83 and Crocker if people need to get into Avon. Heck 611 is even an opition ...

    Written by: Commentator 3 on March 18, 2010

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    blog.cleveland.com/metro/2010/01/avons_new_interstate_90_interc.html

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 1-29-10, By Karen Farkas

    ``Avon's new Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road will likely open in 2012 ...

    AVON -- The $24 million interchange, funded by the city and private developers, is among the first of five infrastructure projects approved Thursday under ODOT's new FAST TRAC program.

    The program accelerates the normal four-year planning timeframe it takes a major transportation project to gain final approval by the Transportation Review Advisory Council, an independent committee chaired by ODOT Director Jolene M. Molitoris.

    ODOT will move faster to help Avon acquire land and complete planning to get the project under way. The interchange is now set to open in late 2012, about a year earlier than planned.

    The other FAST TRAC roadway projects are in Franklin, Clark and Butler counties.

    "They said whatever we can do to make it quicker they will work with us on it," said Avon Mayor Jim Smith, who traveled to Columbus Thursday morning for the TRAC meeting ... Smith said most of the engineering is done and almost all the environmental assessment. Land still has to be acquired. He hopes to break ground in 2011.

    Cleveland Clinic officials also attended the meeting. The Clinic broke ground last November [2009] on the $97.9 million Avon Family Health & Surgery Center at the proposed interchange.

    Most of the 212 acres around the interchange is owned by the Jacobs Group ...''

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

    Top -- Home

    2presspapers.northcoastnow.com/2010/06/01/special-assessments-for-new-interchange-to-impact-more-than-100-property-owners/

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 6-2-10, By Rebecca Turman

    ``Special assessments for new interchange to impact more than 100 property owners

    AVON -- Property owners who will pay for assessments to help fund the construction of the new I-90 interchange at Nagel Road will have the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns during a public informational meeting Thursday [6-3-10] ...

    While the city will need to acquire property from 31 landowners to build the interchange, ... approximately 105 property owners will be assessed as a result of the interchange being built.

    On May 17 [2010], city officials sent out an informational letter to those who will be impacted by the assessments. The letter states the interchange, which will cost an estimated $28 million, will be paid from three separate sources:

    1) A contribution from The Jacobs Group totaling a third of total construction costs. This payment will likely be paid by The Jacobs Group as a voluntary assessment on some of the property owned by The Jacobs Group located near the interchange [in other words, no money up front?].

    2) The city will pay for a third of the total construction costs from anticipated income tax revenues and payments made in lieu of [real estate] taxes in a number of [TIF] districts that have been designated for this purpose by the city (TIF revenues).

    3) The final third will be paid by levying special assessments on property owners specifically benefited by the construction of the interchange.

    In the letter, the city states the assessment is [necessary because] ... the current estimate is more than the city reasonably expects to have available to pay from its general revenues or TIF revenues.

    According to the letter, special assessments will not be levied until interchange construction is complete, sometime in late 2012 or early 2013. Those who will be assessed can either pay off the amount in full or pay it over a 20-year period, with interest accumulated, at the same time real estate taxes become due and payable.

    Those with agricultural exemptions can defer paying special assessments until their property is sold or developed. This includes the sale of right-of-way to the city.

    Essentially, the city will loan money for those special assessments. However, once the property is sold or developed, owners will have to reimburse the city for the full amount that was deferred, plus interest accrued.

    Colliers Ostendorf-Morris, an independent appraiser hired by the city to review the Benefited District, compiled a summary of how the benefit to property owners from the interchange was calculated. Factors taken into consideration were proximity to the interchange, visibility from I-90, existing access and zoning ...''

    Contact Rebecca Turman at rturman@2presspapers.com

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    www.morningjournal.com/articles/2010/06/04/news/mj2834487.txt

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 6-4-10, By JAMILA T. WILLIAMS jwilliams@MorningJournal.com

    ``Avon property owners to pay: Citizens voice concern about Interstate 90 project

    AVON -- Property owners who are going to have to help pay for the $28 million Interstate 90/Nagel Road interchange told the city what they thought of the future tax assessments. And what property owners said let the city know how unhappy they are.

    "Just unfair," Rose Jenne, of Jenne Distributors, said of the way her business will be assessed. The assessment for her six plus acres could be as much as $201,000 with interest.

    Jenne Distributors is on Chester Road where the exit ramp would be built, she said. The interchange would hurt rather than help her business, despite being considered to be in a prime spot based on the appraiser's calculations.

    The exit ramp would essentially cause her to close one of her entrances because the trucks would not be able to get into the loading area.

    "I don't need it (the interchange), and I don't want it," she said. "It doesn't benefit me."

    The interchange is believed to impact nearly 105 property owners who will be asked to foot $9 million of the cost. Avon will also need to acquire property from 31 owners to build the interchange. Some property owners will receive assessments in the millions, such as Henkel -- close to $2 million ...

    Many were in disagreement with how the assessments were made and how much benefit their business would gain from the interchange. One concerned property owner ... said the interchange was being railroaded down everyone's throats ...

    Throughout the meeting, tensions remained high, many upset with the amount of their assessments, when the city really didn't have a set price on the project. A note pad was even passed around for interested meeting attendees to sign up to find out more about bringing a class action lawsuit against the city.

    Steve Schaefer said he came to the meeting to get a feel for what's going on and to hear the organizers' plans ... Schaefer said while he hasn't calculated the total estimated assessment he'd have to pay for his company, Schaefer Development on Lear Industrial Parkway, the amount is more than likely not affordable for him ...''

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    2presspapers.northcoastnow.com/tag/avon/

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 6-9-10, By Beth Mlady

    ``Meeting draws heated exchange over I-90 interchange

    AVON -- Tempers flared from the outset of a Thursday [6-3-10] information session in City Hall, as property owners and residents shared confusion and anger over 'unfair' property tax assessments conceived to help fund construction of a new I-90 interchange in Avon ...

    Margaret Callesen, a bond attorney with Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, who has been working with city officials, spoke next.

    'This type of assessment won't be any different than any other ' it's just larger in scope,' she said, adding the method of using 'properties that are specially benefiting' is the 'best measure' for the calculations.

    Lawrence Kell, senior vice president at Colliers Ostendorf-Morris, who appraised the properties, said, 'The most important criteria is proximity.' He went on to say, 'visibility prior to the interchange ' is a major benefit.'

    Business owner Rose Jenne, of Jenne Distributors on Chester Road, spoke several times during the meeting.

    'I think it's unfair,' Jenne said. 'This interchange is definitely going to affect my business. It will cost me $1.5 million to move my building. (The interchange) doesn't benefit me. It will kill my business.

    'It's not only the assessments, but after all of that, land is going to be taxed higher. So we're going to get hit twice.'

    Callesen said the interchange analysis was based on 'whether it benefits the property, not the business.' ...

    But many property owners feel the weight of the burden rests squarely on them. Ed Connelly of Connelly Landscaping called the situation 'scary,' saying to cover the money he will eventually owe will 'take a lot of time, and you have to sell a lot of bushes.' ...

    Mike Kelly, a Just Imagine Drive businessman, said, 'You guys are going to have to go back to the drawing board.'

    Another man agreed, saying, 'If it's something the city can't afford right now, it just shouldn't happen. You should be going to Jacobs (Group, which owns 220 [and more, See above] acres of affected property) and telling them to pony up.'

    One attendee invited others to join him in a class action suit against the assessments. 'Are you working on a Plan B?' asked another man. 'Because this thing is probably going to be shut down.' ...

    A Resolution of Necessity could be discussed by City Council before year's end. Future meetings to discuss the I-90 interchange will be announced by city officials.''

    Contact Beth Mlady at mladywrites@yahoo.com

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    Source: www.loraincounty.com

    Title: Re: Tax Abatements

    Message:

    (Written by: Commentator 2 on March 30, 2010)

    Commentator 6, first of all, kudos to you for responding to issues on this board ...

    [Commentator 6 wrote:

    There are six (6) property tax abatements with businesses on the books right now in Avon. ... ]

    As to the $120,000 tax figure that the schools lost due to abatement, given the city received about $500,000 of income taxes on the 800 to 900 jobs you mentioned, why can't the city pay the schools the $120,000 that was abated? After all, this is over two full-time teachers. The city has no problem giving raises to everyone in this bad economy, surely they could afford the $120,000.

    Written by: Commentator 2 on March 30, 2010

    [Commentator 2 is not proposing that tax abatement agreements be revisited. Commentator 2 is proposing that the City of Avon pay the Avon schools the revenue that is lost because of tax abatement.]

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    Title: Re: Tax Abatements

    Message:

    Commentator 6, thanks for your research. Please address the elephant in the room -- the real estate tax exemption of the Cleveland Clinic.

    Don't you think that the City should pay the schools from its income tax revenue the momey that the schools are losing from the Clinic tax exemption? If this were factored in, the 5.9 mil levy might not be necessary.

    And what about whose paying for the Nagel Rd. interchange? Suddenly the commitment to pay one-half the cost by the Jacobs group has been reduced to one-third, with no public discussion. Are you comfortable with this sleight of hand?

    Did you consider that the Clinic should pay some or all of the cost of the interchange? After all, the Clinic has a $1 billion dollar line of credit from the State, while the way things stand now, the taxpayers of Avon are going to be stuck with the full $23 million [now, June 2010, $27 million] debt incurred to build the interchange.

    We are called on to vote for 5.9 mils now, more mils in 2011, and who knows how many mils in 2011 to build a new middle school. There are some seniors in Avon who just can't afford this, especially when the Jacobs Group and the Clinic are the primary beneficiaries of massive Avon expenditures and debt.

    Written by: Commentator 1 on March 31, 2010

    -------------------

    Title: Re: Tax Abatements

    Message:

    When talking about bond ratings, first of all, no matter what it is, doesn't justify waste. Secondly, didn't Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, WorldCom, and Enron all have top ratings from the "experts" before they went bankrupt? I am not suggesting this will happen to Avon, but let's not give the rating agencies too much credit (pardon the pun). Thanks.

    Written by: Commentator 2 on March 31, 2010

    -------------------

    Title: 90 Interchange

    Message:

    Well all, I hope you read it in The Press [4-1-10]. North Ridgeville has realized that the interchange is going to impact them and are widening Nagel from Lorain to Center Ridge (or at least making plans to) yet the rep from North Ridgeville noted that Avon has no plans to widen from Center Ridge up to Detroit because "THEY DO NOT HAVE THE MONEY". I mentioned this as an issue a few weeks back and it seems it will be. This is going to another problem that is going to be saddled on the citizens of Avon ...wait and see.

    Also I do find it interesting that there is now talk about trying to tax those properties that will benefit from the interchange. WOW what a concept ...

    Written by: Commentator 3 on March 31, 2010

    -------------------

    Title: Re: Tax Abatements

    Message:

    Commentator 6, you are outnumbered on council and had nothing to do with something that will slowly cook Avon's goose (stadium, YMCA) as it will burden us and harm services for at least 30 years.

    What you can do as someone stated, is question things like the interchange. The Press said it will cost $20.8 million [now, June 2010, $27 million]. Does this include the 30 pieces of property needed? Does this include surrounding road improvements, engineering, etc. In summary, it is your job to make sure that when you vote for expenditures, you get a rolling total of what has been spent versus budget (oh yeah, make sure there is a budget) and what are the overages and underages. Just because Avon can borrow doesn't mean you have a blank check.

    The schools may be a separate entity, but the SAME taxpayers pay for them as pay for city services. A burden from one impacts taxpayer sentiment for the other!

    Written by: Commentator 2 on April 1, 2010

    -------------------

    Title: Re: Tax Abatements

    Message:

    There was a long list of proposed cuts in school services, including bussing, if the 5.9 mil levy fails in the last issue of Avon Avenues; but there was NOT ONE WORD about going after the revenue the schools are losing from tax-abated real estate and tax-exempted medical facilities.

    As a side note, real estate tax exemption for medical facilities is bad economic policy, if you think a level playing field is a good idea. See

    http://www.freetimes.com/stories/14/22/charity-...

    ``There is another group for whom the property tax exemption is not fair: doctors in private practice. A healthcare giant like ... the Clinic can provide medical services in a suburban facility and not pay taxes, but an independent practice of physicians gets no such benefit. This is problematic from an economic perspective, says Dr. Edward W. (Ned) Hill, vice president for economic development at Cleveland State University.

    "As an economist, I like neutrality when it comes to taxation and not discriminating based on the mode of ownership," Hill says. "This is a tax policy that favors one form of delivering medicine over another. It disadavantages the small medical provider."''

    Written by: Commentator 1 on April 12, 2010

    -------------------

    Title: Re: Role of Avon City Council

    Message:

    The Avon Council should vote to pay the Avon School District, from the City's income tax revenue, the money the schools are losing because of tax abatement and medical tax exemption.

    If this were done, the 5.9 mil levy this year and the levy next year, 2011, would not be necessary. As far as building a new middle school is concerned, let's keep on using the existing middle school.

    Written by: Commentator 1 on April 16, 2010

    -------------------

    Title: Re: Role of Avon City Council

    Message:

    I don't think there is any one solution for the schools need for money. It can be solved with a combination of:

    Abatement being credited to schools from city.

    Freeze on wage increases.

    Larger classrooms.

    Real estate tax increase, but it should be less then currently asked for.

    I am sure there are other good ideas. But the fact is, you don't bridge a $5 million or so per year gap with only one of the above suggestions.

    Funny, it seems like reality is setting in with the city. They now realize they can't pay for the interchange with more borrowing. Looks like they are about out of credit card capacity.

    Written by: Commentator 2 on April 16, 2010

    -------------------

    Title: Re: School Issue 3

    Message:

    The elephant in the room is the failure of the Avon Board of Education to go after the revenue the schools should have from real estate that is tax abated or medically tax emempted.

    I'm not arguing that the City should deny abatements for industrial projects (commercial abatements should be denied -- Avon Commons was not tax abated) or that the City should contest medical tax exemptions (although they discriminate against small medical practices -- who cares about a level playing field?). I am proposing that the City pay the BOE the money the schools are losing from City income tax revenue.

    For those who think development at the Nagel Road interchange is going to be a horn of plenty, see

    http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2010/04/...

    ``AVON -- It won't be long before another development explodes in Avon near the site of the future Cleveland Clinic ...

    The Richard E. Jacobs Group owns 169.5 acres along Nagel Road that it intends to use for mixed use development. [What about the rest of the property the Jacobs Group owns in the vicinity of the interchange? See above]

    Jim Eppele, vice president of real estate development for the Jacobs Group, said it already has a conceptual masterplan of the site laid out ...

    Here's a look at the square-footage set aside for the various buildings the Jacobs Group has planned:

    * 90,000 square-foot health club

    * 19,725 square-foot space for retail

    * 10,000 square-foot day care

    * 77,568 square-foot hotel space

    * 14,125 square-foot of restaurant space

    * 45,900 square-foot assisted living space

    * 310,000 square-foot office space

    * 417,500 square-foot light industry space

    ... The Cleveland Clinic's $97.9 million Avon Family Health & Surgery Center is set to open in 2011. The 186,000-square-foot facility will offer primary care services and more than 30 specialty services, including physical therapy, aquatic therapy, an ambulatory surgery center and a 24-hour emergency room. It will also generate approximately $1 million in city and state taxes annually.''

    The Jacobs development history at Chagrin Highlands should be examined for what Avon might expect from our specualtion at Nagel Road. Far more certain is that Avon will have to pay two-thirds the cost of the intercahnge, and that we will have to carry all of the debt.

    Written by: Commentator 1 on April 27, 2010

    -------------------

    Election on 5-4-10:

    Issue 3 - Avon Local School District Additional/5.90 mills, Emergency Requirements, 10 yrs.

    100 % reporting

    For 1,864

    Against 2,389

    -------------------

    Title: Re: So sad

    Message:

    Concentrating on cuts may be psychologically satisfying, but it is a dead-end way to frame the issue. How about trying to increase school income by other means than exclusive reliance on the real estate tax?

    For example:

    Fees to participate in sports and other activities -- young families with good (and increasing) incomes will not blink at this.

    Open enrollment -- avoid teacher layoffs by using vacant classrooms. We paid for these facilities; so let's use them. The time value of money should not be ignored.

    From income tax revenue, the City of Avon should pay the schools the real estate tax money that the schools lose because of tax abatements and medical tax exemptions.

    I'm sure there are others.

    Written by: Commentator 1 on May 5, 2010

    -------------------

    Title: Avon Council Reckless Spending

    Message:

    Commentator 7 wrote, "i do not think the city is in as bad a shape as some people think it is in. i do think council and the mayor are doing a good job. how many other cities have grown like avon and new business want to locate here. the new revenue being generated should put the city in good shape."

    Commentator 7,

    We have good cash flow, but terrible levels of debt. They need a plan to recover (if even possible) from the financial hole they have dropped us in.

    Questions to ponder:

    1. Why would one believe that additional commercial growth is good for Avon? Have your taxes gone down with all of this commercial growth? Are the roads substantially more crowded? What's the point if there is no financial benefit to the citizens?

    2. Did council deserve their 67% self-voted pay raise when all around were losing their jobs or becoming underemployed? Their collective pay raise was large enough to hire 1 additional teacher in Avon's schools.

    3. Did council do any analysis on the proposed library structure that was $100 per square foot overpriced? If so, they should have campaigned against it instead of saying ... that they were a conduit for the library.

    4. Do you believe that the Y and baseball palace were a good investment? Remember, the citizens voted to raise income taxes .25% based on spending $23M stated by the mayor, not the $37M actually spent. Council, with their famous 7-0 votes is fully responsible for squandering $37M on supposedly "free" property. By the way, this project will not support itself and the debt payments will come from the general fund.

    5. Do you believe that Avon has $57M in net debt (historically $18M)? If not, get a copy of Avon's annual report.

    6. Do you believe that the interchange on Nagel Road, if 2/3 funded by the taxpayers, will pay itself off? Don't let the TIF argument blind you from the fact that Avon taxpayers will be responsible for this debt. There are no cash flow projections by council or the mayor that will show this project to pay for itself. Our total debt will balloon to roughly $73M. [As of 6-3-0, the debt will ballon to $57M + $27M = $84,000,000]

    7. Do you realize that at 4% financing, that $73M of debt will require $2.9M annually to service? That is $2.9M not going into your roads or anything else. [As of 6-3-10, .04 x $84M = $3,360,000 annual interest]

    8. Do you realize that 25% of the street repair expenditures were cut from the 2010 budget? If we can't afford to fix our roads now, when will we?

    9. Do you realize that Nagel Road will get an interchange, but the roadway south of Detroit road will not be improved because the city does not have the money? Drive through there at 5 o'clock today to enjoy the experience prior to hundreds of cars being added to the streets. North Ridgeville is already expanding Nagel Road ...

    Written by: Commentator 8 on May 20, 2010

    Top -- Home

    www.morningjournal.com/articles/2010/09/28/news/mj3393800.txt

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 9-28-10,

    By MEGAN ROZSA mrozsa@MorningJournal.com

    [Avon to take interchange land by eminent domain]

    ``AVON -- The city of Avon is preparing to take 11 property owners around the proposed Nagel interchange to court to determine a fair property price, while more than a third of the other owners in the area have agreed to appraisal prices. The rest of the property owners are working on getting contracts signed, as some are owned by multiple people and with some living out of state, according to Planning Coordinator Jim Piazza.

    "If all goes well, we'll have 19 out of 30 after that and we're hopeful that some of the 11 will settle before court," Piazza said. The latest numbers show it will cost approximately $5 million to acquire the 31 parcels the city and the Ohio Department of Transportation need to build the interchange. All together, that is around 29 to 30 acres. The acquisition process started at the beginning of August.

    The city's appraisal firm priced the land anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000 per acre depending on location, zoning and improvements to the land ...

    At last night's City Council meeting [9-27-10], members approved more tax incentive financing for the interchange area. Council had already put a TIF on some of the property around the interchange but accidentally left out three parcels: the ones added last night. The TIF can only be used for commercial properties, and when a business improves the value of the land, the city will get more from property taxes ...

    The plan is to go out for bids on the project in February, get them back in March and break ground in the spring [2011].''

    ----------------

    2presspapers.northcoastnow.com/roadblocks-could-lie-ahead-for-i-90-interchange-land-acquisition/

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 10-9-10, By Rebecca Turman

    Roadblocks could lie ahead for I-90 interchange land acquisition

    ``AVON -- If agreements cannot be reached in the upcoming month, the city of Avon may take almost a dozen property owners to court to acquire their land for the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.

    At the end of July, the city made offers to 31 property owners totaling $6.1 million for their land needed to build the interchange. Initial individual offers ranged from $1,100 to $1.39 million.

    Of the 31 properties, one acquisition - the Herbst 0.052-acre property - was deleted, as it has been deemed no longer required for interchange construction ...

    The city has signed agreements with 11 parcel owners while eight other parcels are still in negotiation.

    As of a Sept. 22 monthly status report from TranSystems Corporation, 11 parcels are considered to be in appropriation, which means an agreement has not been reached.

    At an interchange stakeholders' meeting in early June regarding assessments that would be passed onto property owners near the interchange, Rose Jenne, chairman of Jenne Distributors Inc. located on Chester Road, voiced her concerns.

    "This interchange is definitely going to affect my business," Jenne said at the June meeting. "It will cost me $1.5 million to move my building. (The interchange) doesn't benefit me. It will kill my business." ...

    According to TranSystems' September update, the project cost for property acquired up to Sept. 22 was $3.89 million, of the total projected cost of $6.1 million. Avon Finance Director Bill Logan's records, however, show $759,880 of property has been paid for, while other payments are pending.''

    Contact Rebecca Turman at rturman@2presspapers.com

    ------------

    www.morningjournal.com/articles/2010/11/02/news/mj3589957.txt

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-2-10, By MEGAN ROZSA mrozsa@MorningJournal.com

    Avon ready for battle to get land for interchange

    ``AVON -- The city of Avon is preparing to take 12 property owners in the proposed Nagel interchange area to court if a settlement in price for the land cannot be reached before the end of December. City Council discussed this action at a work session last night, but did not take action.

    The land appropriation project started in July, City Law Director John Gasior said, and each property was appraised two to three times by different appraisers ...

    Owners who have yet to settle include: Ann Dehart and Carol Ann Hall; DiBenedetto Building Company; RFM Facilities Management; Lemke; Jenne Distributors; Discount Drug Mart (two parcels); Nagel, Dietz, Haehn; Goins; Lawreszuk executor; Wechter; and Root. They are offered anywhere between $4,800 to $1.2 million ...

    The next council meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. on Monday.''

    ---------------

    2presspapers.northcoastnow.com/council-may-move-forward-with-eminent-domain-process/

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 11-6-10, By Rebecca Turman

    Council may move forward with eminent domain process

    ``AVON -- At Monday night's council meeting, members will move forward with the eminent domain process to obtain properties needed to build the I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.

    During a Nov. 1 work session, council members reviewed 12 resolutions "to declare the necessity to appropriate land necessary for the construction of an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road."

    "You take the property by eminent domain when you file an action to appropriate the land," Avon Law Director John Gasior said in an interview prior to the work session. "(Council is) asserting their right under eminent domain to take private property for public use."

    "(We had) 29 parcels (to acquire)," Avon Law Director John Gasior told council members. "I believe we are down to 12. In some cases, we are close," he said of reaching a settlement ...

    If council approves the resolutions, copies will be mailed to the 12 property owners ... If settlements cannot be reached, he said the city would file the petitions to appropriate in common pleas court.

    "Along with the petition, the main thing we deposit is a check for the amount of money we are willing to pay for the property," he said. At that point, the city is 'finished, in a sense," Gasior said. He told council members once the check is filed with the court, the city can 'treat the property as if it is ours."...

    "They are supposed to be court cases that have priority in the system," he said. "In theory, at least, you could have the road built before the jury has reached a decision. They could argue that the road is not necessary, but the time for that has long passed.

    "But that doesn't stop someone from making that argument."

    The land will become the city's property. The only issue left is price. "We are continuing to negotiate, and we have some deals that are probably going to be finalized in the next month, but we know that there are property owners out there that we cannot negotiate with," Gasior said. "We are on a timetable. We have to make a move here." ...''

    Contact Rebecca Turman at rturman@2presspapers.com

    ---------------

    2presspapers.northcoastnow.com/avon-council-moves-forward-with-eminent-domain-process-for-i-90-interchange/

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 11-12-10, By Rebecca Turman

    Avon council moves forward with eminent domain process for I-90 interchange

    ``AVON -- Avon City Council adopted 12 resolutions at a Monday [11-8-10] regular meeting to 'declare the necessity to appropriate land necessary for the construction of an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road."

    Councilman Bryan Jensen noted that approving the resolutions doesn't stop anything in terms of continuing negotiations with the 12 property owners from whom the city needs to purchase land to build the interchange.

    Avon Law Director John Gasior confirmed Jensen's statement, adding, "This step has to be taken in order to go to court. This is a statutory requirement."

    During the meeting, several of the property owners spoke out about the negotiation process.

    "We've applied with a response about eight to 10 pages, I believe to TranSystems," David DiBenedetto said, adding he hasn't heard back from the company.

    The city is looking to acquire 8.39 acres from DiBenedetto along with another 2.45 for an easement, according to city documents.

    DiBenedetto said he has issues with a fence he's been told he needs to erect on his property, along with a gas easement.

    "I'd like to sit down with them and see if something could be worked out," he said.

    Frank Root Jr., another property owner, said he hasn't heard anything for two months in terms of negotiations. The city is looking to acquire 2.03 acres from him ...

    The mayor ultimately makes the decision on counteroffers, Gasior said.

    "I'm not going to take the chance of going double (what) the appraisals call for," Avon Mayor Jim Smith said.

    "I didn't ask for double," Root added.

    "We have to stick somewhere near the appraisals," Smith said.

    "I don't know where they are coming from," Root said of how the offer was determined.

    Gary Nagel, of Grafton, spoke on behalf of the Nagel, Dietz, Haehn property the city needs to acquire, which totals 1.34 acres and .15 acres for an easement.

    Nagel said the group of property owners has only talked to TranSystems twice. He said provisions need to be put in place for what's going to happen to the ditch and drainage on the property. Nagel said runoff water would be brought onto his property as a result of the interchange.

    Nagel also took issue with the driveway access onto the property. "At first, they didn't want to give us a driveway," he said. "Now they want us to take it down a 10-foot driveway."

    Regardless of the property owners' engineering concerns, Gasior told Nagel, council still had to take the next step in approving the resolution ...

    "The driveway is the No. 1 issue, along with the drainage," Nagel said ...

    Since council has approved the 12 resolutions, copies will be sent to the property owners, who will then have 30 days to work with the city before the city files petitions to appropriate in common pleas court ...''

    Contact Rebecca Turman at rturman@2presspapers.com

    ---------------

    www.morningjournal.com/articles/2010/11/16/news/mj3680976.txt

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-16-10, By MEGAN ROZSA mrozsa@MorningJournal.com

    ``AVON -- Now that John Kasich is governor-elect, Avon Mayor Jim Smith thinks it's time for a change with how and who will build the city's Nagel Road/Interstate 90 interchange.

    A couple days after the election, Smith wrote to Kasich and said the city should be responsible for the building of the interchange, not the Ohio Department of Transportation ...

    The city's engineering partner for the interchange is Trans Systems, of Cleveland. The firm has told Smith the city could cut eight-and-a-half weeks off construction time and save at least a half million dollars by overseeing the project ...

    At last night's City Council meeting, members added two more property owners to a list of owners who will face eminent domain if a payment settlement for interchange property is not reached. This brings the total number of properties to 14. The first 12 were passed at a council meeting last week ...

    Property owners who have yet to settle include:

    Ann Dehart and Carol Ann Hall;

    DiBenedetto Building Co.;

    RFM Facilities Management;

    Lemke;

    Jenne Distributors;

    Discount Drug Mart (two parcels);

    Nagel, Dietz, Haehn;

    Goins;

    Lawreszuk executor;

    Wechter;

    and Root.

    Added to the list last night were Westlake Auto Body and Lorain County Vacant Land LLC. They are offered anywhere between $4,800 to $1.2 million.

    Also at last night's meeting, Smith said Ross Builders, of North Ridgeville, was awarded the bid for the outside renovation of the building at Avon Isle.

    Phase 1 of the project will be funded by a grant from Northeast Ohio Public Energy Commission and will include exterior waterproofing and making the building more energy efficient. It does not include renovating the interior, Smith said.

    Ross Builders hopes to begin the project immediately, and a representative at the meeting estimated it would take about three months to complete, depending on the weather.''

    ---------------

    > www.morningjournal.com/articles/2010/07/28/goodliving/doc4c506d0cacba3138163816.txt

    GOODLIVING ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 7-28-10, by KELLY METZ

    Nagel Road interchange paved in gold for some, paved with pain for others

    ``AVON -- Business owners Ernie Freeman, Brian McKeown, Jim Radcliffe and Ed Schober are not happy about being assessed for the Nagel Road interchange. They said it will have negative impacts on their businesses ...

    The Nagel Road interchange, which will connect the road to Interstate 90 by the end of 2012, for 105 business owners, ... is a death sentence to their businesses, and they say they will fight to keep it from happening.

    The Nagel Road interchange, a $27 million project ... was put on the FAST TRAC by the Ohio Department of Transportation in March [2010] which allowed the construction to begin almost a year earlier than expected. The interchange will feature a new five-lane Nagel Road bridge and upgrades at the intersection of Lear [Nagel] and Chester roads ...

    The interchange is believed to impact nearly 105 property owners who will be asked to foot $9 million of the cost. Avon will also need to acquire property from 31 owners to build the interchange.

    Some property owners will receive assessments in the millions, such as Henkel -- close to $2 million, according to a Morning Journal article from June 4 [2010] ...

    Property owners wouldn't be expected to pay their assessment until 2014, the article stated. They will have the option to pay the full amount within 30 days or pay the amount throughout a 20-year period with interest.

    Ernie Freeman, who owns Freeman Equipment, 1375 Lear Industrial, Avon, said he believed the study was "one man's opinion" and business owners can't afford to pay an assessment on "an interchange they don't even want." According to assessment rates, his payment totals $6,144 but if he wants to pay the assessment throughout a 20-year period, it would total $9,691.

    Jim Radcliffe, owner of Barrington Pumps and Systems, Inc., was assessed a total of $8,204 or $12,940 throughout time. "City officials are saying because we will see an increase in property value, that is why this interchange is worth it," Radcliff said.

    "I do not believe this is true. I will not see a property value increase or an increase in business just because of this interchange. The only thing that comes here is delivery trucks ... And they aren't going to reduce my rates because of an interchange."

    Freeman said he feels like the 105 business owners assessed because of this interchange are being "discriminated against." He said he thinks it is ridiculous they are being assessed so much but the Cleveland Clinic is not being charged any dollars.

    "Not to pick on the Clinic or anything, but they have deeper pockets than we do," Freeman said. "We are being railroaded here ... The city is hitting 105 property owners who by and large do not want this interchange. It's wrong."

    Brian McKeown, owner of [The] Rockpile at 920 Nagel Road, faces a total of roughly $140,000 for the interchange. He said because of the construction, it will be much more difficult for customers to get to his business.

    "They are cutting a vital artery for my business," he said. "I don't know if I can stay alive during that time to even be able to reap the so-called benefits from the interchange."

    "My business from 2001 to 2004 got a Golden 30 Award and we were named the fastest growing business in Lorain County," McKeown added. "Because of the economic situation of the past three or four years, we are back to cash flow numbers of when we were having a hard time.

    My employment levels are down. My cash flow is down ... If the economy keeps going the way it is and with the loss of business, we could be a financial memory by 2012. If these costs are assessed, we'll be gone by 2011. I can't afford $140,000."

    McKeown said he will go down fighting for his business and if he has to pay for the assessment, his business will not survive.

    "Most people who have small businesses put every penny they have ever earned into it. With the assessments, everything we have grown could be gone. The productive people will get pounded. I will fight to the death before I give up what I have earned." ...''

    Is all the-up front interchange money coming from the City of Avon? If that is the case, then Avon taxpayers will have to pay the interest on all this debt.

    As of 6-3-10, $57 M (Avon's current debt) + $27 M (estmated interchange cost) = $84,000,000 debt, resulting in .04 x $84M = $3,360,000 annual interest payment. This is taxpayer money. It could be used to fund the schools.

    Top -- Home

    www.morningjournal.com/articles/2011/06/07/news/doc4deda97958084668516103.txt

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal

    Published: Tuesday, June 07, 2011

    Mayor Smith says property owners shouldn't be assessed for interchange

    ``AVON -- In a dramatic turn of events at last night's City Council meeting, Avon Mayor Jim Smith recommended roughly 105 property owners not be assessed for the Interstate 90-Nagel Road interchange

    Smith's surprise announcement met with jubilation from the packed meeting when he said, "My recommendation to council is to not assess."

    The mayor said he couldn't make the announcement earlier because he needed financial advisors' opinions ...

    Revenue from tax increment financing [TIF] already in place should be enough to cover the costs, according to the mayor.

    The interchange will cost in the low $30 million range and the city's share is around $23.7 million, with developers, The Richard E. Jacobs Group, also picking up costs. The interchange was proposed so that Cleveland Clinic's Avon Family Health and Surgery Center which is in the building stage, could have access from I-90 and it would open up land in the area for development.

    Mary Bliss, who farms land along Detroit Road, joined in with other property owners in the audience with a hearty applause and cheer after Smith's announcement ...

    Brian McKeown, owner of The Rock Pile, 900 Nagel Road, expected to be assessed a large amount. Even though he was happy with the mayor's decision that property owners did not have to pay "for a development," he was not entirely pleased with the plan.

    McKeown said in the bluntest terms, the city was essentially robbing Peter to pay Paul. He told Smith he still wasn't happy with the decision, because taxpayers should not still have to pay for a private development.

    "I think they are taking away from other things that are a necessity and kicking those cans down the road," he said. "I don't think in these times, in this economy it's a good time to be brave. We've got a lot of assumptions in those numbers. Something else is going to suffer and it's going to suffer badly."

    The beginning of the meeting consisted of Smith and financial advisor on the project Matt Stuczynski going over the city's debt history. Smith showed pictures of Chester Road before the improvement and followed up with the $120 million in revenue the road brought ...

    Stuczynski discussed the city's financial standings, in terms of the amount of debt they have incurred over the past 10 years ...

    With the current growth of the city the city has already exceeded what they projected to be their current TIF payments, Stuczynski said.

    Avon's ... [Finance Director], Bill Logan, said that the city is expecting to bring in $870,000 in TIF revenue in 2011.

    With the project being paid for over 25 years both Logan and Stuczynski agreed that there was plenty of money available ...''

    -----------

    www.coveritlive.com/mobile.php/option=com_mobile/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=78814373be

    COVERITLIVE from The Morning Journal, 6-6-11

    ``7:05 The meeting hasn't started yet, but we are live, up and running ...

    7:27 Almost all the council members have taken their seats in anticipation for the meeting to begin

    7:31 The gavel has been hammered. Council President Craig Witherspoon is speaking and has asked for comments to be held until after the presentation from Mayor Jim Smith.

    7:31 Witherspoon is turning the presentation over to Smith

    7:32 Smith: Just want to address council on improvements, property purchases.

    7:33 Smith: ... $650,000 ... for Chester Road and some people have said it is not worth it. He said with that money, more than $1 billion has come in.

    7:33 Smith: first wants to show what Chester Road looked like in 1994, 1995

    7:35 Smith is showing pictures. He said the $650,000 investment has brought in millions in revenues.

    7:35 The picture posted is what Chester Road looked like in the 1990s

    7:36 Smith is now talking about Avon Isle. He said the city paid $30,000 in trust and in the end of the 32 years of that, the city can receive up to $600,000 in return from the charitable trust.

    7:37 Smith: French Creek Square

    7:38 The state put French Creek Square up for sale, the city bought it for $420,000 and put it back for sale and received almost $1.2 million. The city used that money to buy Snyder Court, remodel fire department, senior home

    7:38 Smith: We built the fire station and the fire station [for] almost $3 million, which was paid for in 2.5 years

    7:39 Smith: Post office was worked on for seven years and in the end of 15 years, the building will be paid off ...

    7:44 Smith: Road program has been successful in past years, in the early 1990s there were hardly any road program. Since then, $1 million has been designated for the road program.

    7:44 Smith: That money comes out of "pretty much only people who work in the city of Avon."

    7:45 Smith: income tax revenue at $9.7 million in 2011.

    7:46 Smith: Income tax is still rising. Two years ago, revenues were not projected high, but tax revenue was still climbing.

    7:51 Matt Stuczynski, a consultant, is now talking about debt the city is faced with, in particular the Nagel Road interchange.

    7:55 Stuczynski going through several large projects that are "key components of the community expansion"

    7:55 Stuczynski: Going over taxable debt portions of the city's finances

    7:56 Stuczynski: For the most part the city's debt that was issued in the last 10 years and bonds that were issued have been paid off or are close to being paid off.

    7:57 Stuczynski: The city currently has $56 million in bonds issued

    7:59 Stuczynski: The city's bond rating is the second highest from a well known bond service. That means there are strong financial prospects ...

    8:02 Stuczynski: Significant portion of debt for bonds is paid for by revenues ... The YMCA pays roughly $5 million of the city's debt through a partnership ...

    8:10 Clinton Pelfrey, council at large, asked where Avon is compared to other cities of the same size as far as revenue streams. Stuczynski said there isn't really a benchmark that can be used for measurements

    8:12 Smith said one thing on the general fund obligation, which is about $56 million, is the police station debt

    8:13 Kevin Ward, Ward 3, asked about income tax growth rate. Stuczynski said he anticipates a 1 percent growth, or "assumption" each future year.

    8:15 Stuczynski: The goal is the revenues coming in will exceed Avon's debt.

    8:16 Finance Director William Logan has been popping in and commenting about the debt, revenues.

    8:17 Now we are talking about Nagel Road

    8:18 Stuczynski: TIF revenues are used as a funding source starting for the Nagel Road interchange.

    8:20 A TIF is tax increment financing, which is a funding source used to finance typically large projects. These are the funds collected when the market value goes up in areas around a project.

    8:21 Stuczynski: It is important to keep track of excess TIF funds

    8:21 Stuczynski: The excess TIF funds will be used to pay off excess interchange debt

    [What is "excess interchange debt"?]

    8:23 Stuczynski: The Cleveland Clinic TIF revenues are projected at $250,000 in 2012 and is increased to $300,000 from 2013 and on. There is also hope for increased income tax and so on gathered.

    [Isn't it true that the Clinic pays no real estate tax because of it medical tax exemption -- a 100% tax abatement?]

    8:25 Stuczynski: the city portion of debt for the interchange is roughly $27 million, which is a little over 2/3

    [Aren't all the bonds issued by the City of Avon?]

    8:26 Stuczynski: If the revenue streams meet the expectation, a surplus would be found and could be in the $23 million range.

    8:27 Pelfrey is saying the city doesn't have a lot to base some of the earlier projections. He said the numbers in 2015 are a little conservative and if there is growth, the revenues could go up. Stuczynski said he is hoping those numbers will be higher than what is projected.

    8:28 Logan: we can not predict what will develop and how fast it will be developed.

    8:29 Logan: The actual debt service on the projection is assuming 5.5 percent interest rate.

    8:30 Stuczynski: Revenue generated from growth in market value, or TIF revenues, could be at $150 million by 2020.

    8:31 Stuczynski: Or we could be looking at just eight years to get to $150 million in the interchange area

    8:33 Stuczynski: Income tax projections as it relates to the Cleveland Clinic, are conservative. We are waiting for an exact number for the goal.

    8:33 Stuczynski: If goals are met, the city like to not have to borrow from the Jacob's Group ...

    8:40 Bryan Jensen, Ward 1, asked if Logan is comfortable about figures given, even at a conservative level. Logan said the finance department is still looking at the numbers and the city is in great shape, and in [regard to] the excess TIF money from existing TIFs, there should be "ample" room to take care of debt.

    8:42 $870,000 is expected this year in TIF revenues, in the area up and down SR 83, in portion of city center, down Chester and in the general west side of SR 83 area.

    8:43 Ward asked if there was any way if he can look at the total valuation of those areas now and gauge where they are going to be or where the baseline is at.

    8:44 Logan said those numbers could be provided by the county

    8:47 Jensen: This model shows there should be no reason to assess property taxes.

    8:47 Smith just said his recommendation is the property owners to not be assessed for the Nagel Road interchange.

    8:48 Smith: As it stands right now, we have exceeded TIF revenues by four years, so I see no reason to assess.

    8:48 Smith: My recommendation to city council Is, after looking at all monies, is to not assess at all

    8:49 Smith: "My recommendation to council is to not assess"

    8:49 The meeting room just burst into applause ...

    8:52 Stuczynski: Once city passes new legislation the city can not fall back and assess ...''

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    www.morningjournal.com/articles/2011/05/28/news/mj4596241.txt

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 5-28-11, By RICHARD PAYERCHIN rpayerchin@MorningJournal.com

    Interchange funding talks set for June

    ``AVON -- The newest calculations for paying for Avon's Nagel Road interchange with Interstate 90 will be available early next month.

    City Council will use its first work session in June to discuss the financing for the new highway exit. The work session will be at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber of the Avon Municipal Building, 36080 Chester Road ...

    The interchange will be a key route for traffic going to the new Cleveland Clinic's Avon Family Health and Surgery Center on nearby Just Imagine Drive.

    An earlier draft agreement outlined how the Jacobs Group and Avon would pay for the highway ramp and road widening project. The draft financing agreement pegged the price at $26.52 million to be split into thirds, with about 105 neighboring property owners responsible for assessments up to $9 million ...

    Avon will collect income tax of 1.75 percent on Cleveland Clinic employees and will use 1 percent of that toward paying for the interchange, Smith said. The city also has income from other tax increment financing, or TIF, agreements for other projects around Avon, the mayor said ...''

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    blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/06/avon_mayor_details_controversi.html

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer

    Published: Monday, June 06, 2011, Updated: 6-7-11 By Tom Breckenridge, The Plain Dealer

    Avon mayor details controversial plan to finance interchange at Interstate 90 and Nagel Road

    ``AVON, Ohio -- Mayor James Smith said Monday night [6-6-11] he will recommend that property owners not be assessed for the Interstate 90 interchange at Nagel Road, drawing applause and cheers from a crowd at City Hall.

    Smith made the announcement after more than an hour of detailed financial reporting from finance and bond experts, who reported to council that tax revenues are more robust than anticipated and the city's bond rating and financial health are strong.

    Given that news, Smith said property owners should not be assessed for the $33 million project, which includes a new interchange and new utilities north and south of I-90 at Nagel.

    "Thank you for making the right decision for the residents and business owners," said John Kahl, who's the chief executive officer of ShurTech Brands of Avon, which would have been assessed for the interchange. "It would have been a horrible waste of time to fight against each other."

    City Council is expected to vote on the project soon ...

    Under the previous proposal, property owners around the interchange would have paid up to $9 million.

    The city and an affiliate of the Richard E. Jacobs Group LLC will share the project's cost.

    The Jacobs Group owns several hundred acres near the interchange and is eager to develop.

    So too is the Cleveland Clinic. It plans to open a family medical center near the proposed interchange by year's end, on land acquired from the Jacobs Group.

    The interchange is expected to open by spring 2013 ...

    The project's cost has grown beyond expectations, which city leaders said forced them to look to property owners for help.

    Smith said that the suburb would pay its share with a portion of the new property tax and income tax expected from new development at the interchange.''

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    chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2011/06/07/avon-mayor-recommends-borrowing-money-for-interchange-project/

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle Telegram, 6-7-11, By Evan Goodenow

    Avon mayor recommends borrowing money for interchange project

    ``AVON -- The Interstate 90 interchange project at Nagel Road is expected to be paid for with long-term borrowing rather than a $9 million tax on area property owners ...

    Smith's recommendation came after an extensive account by the city's bond counsel, Matthew Stuczynski ...

    After the meeting, Stuczynski, the head of Strongsville-based MAS Financial Advisory Services, said fears of a municipal bond market crash are trumped up ...''

    Contact Evan Goodenow egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

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    blog.cleveland.com/thesun/2011/06/mayor_smith_recommends_no_asse.html

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun Sentinel, 6-9-11. By John Bisesi, Sun News

    ``AVON -- ... Council ... discussed several ordinances that are necessary to issue bond anticipation notes for the interchange. Members will vote by June 20 [2011] on selling these notes. There is a short deadline on passing these ordinances because the money needs to be in an Ohio Department of Transportation escrow account by July 15 ...

    ODOT's bid process for the interchange work will begin in less than a week, on June 15, and the sale date for the bid is July 21.

    The interchange is expected to open by spring 2013.''

    See Jacobs

    More Documents Relating to the June 8, 1998, Decision Against Avon

    Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon

    Press here for The Latest News

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    chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2011/09/16/after-16-years-ground-broken-for-avon%e2%80%99s-new-i-90-interchange/

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 9-16-11,

    by Cindy Leise

    [Ground breaking for the Nagel I-90 interchange]

    AVON -- Ground was broken Thursday [9-15-11] on the $18 million Nagel Road/Interstate 90 interchange [total cost approaching $30 million] ... at Pettiti's Garden Center ...

    Construction on the Cleveland Clinic's $93 million Avon Family Health and Surgery Center already is well under way ... Avon Mayor Jim Smith ... joked that he lost about half his hair during planning for the interchange, which took about 16 years ... Construction of the interchange is expected to take 18 months, and it is slated to open in early 2013.

    Among the issues that complicated the project was its funding.

    An initial plan to assess property owners in the area for some of the costs associated with the interchange was scrapped after opposition from people who said they did not want the interchange or the assessments ...

    The state biennial budget gives the state the authority to enter into ... private-public partnerships on road projects, said Michael Cope, assistant director for business and human resources for the Ohio Department of Transportation.

    Don Damyanic, the construction manager hired by the city to coordinate the interchange, said the construction contract with Mosser Construction of Fremont was a little more than $16 million.

    Damyanic said there is "a substantial amount" of additional work to be done including moving sanitary and water lines as well as gas lines, and the total cost of construction will likely be about $18 million.

    Earlier this year, Avon Council approved a plan to sell $23.1 million in municipal bonds to fund the interchange which would be paid off in 25 years.

    The Jacobs group sold the land to the Cleveland Clinic for its new facility and it still owns about 300 acres [more, see above] in the area, mostly on the north side of I-90, according to James F. Eppele, the group's vice president of development ...

    While there are no road closures currently in place, the city expects the contractor to close the Nagel Road bridge over I-90 [soon], Damyanic said.

    Contact Cindy Leise at cleise@chroniclet.com.

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    chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2011/09/21/avon-considers-reopening-avon-road-during-interchange-construction/

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 9-21-11,

    by Steve Fogarty

    Avon considers reopening Avon Road during interchange construction

    AVON -- It would be cheaper to temporarily reopen Avon Road to traffic during construction of the Nagel Road/Interstate 90 interchange than to keep it closed.

    At least that's the view of Mayor Jim Smith, who is studying whether to reopen the road, which was closed to traffic in 2009 over unsafe conditions.

    While construction of the interchange is a major impetus for getting the road opened again to traffic, another is ensure developments such as the 200-plus home Willow Creek subdivision are not cut off from emergency services.

    "We want to make sure there is adequate access for fire trucks and ambulances," Smith said. "We need to be sure we take care of those folks in there." ...

    "If we can get it open for a temporary period of time, it would only cost us about $50,000 to put down a layer of blacktop to make it drivable," Smith said.

    Despite the cost of paving, Avon would save thousands of dollars that would otherwise have to be spent for traffic control costs to allow one-lane traffic in the vicinity of the interchange construction, which is expected to last up to two years ...

    Smith said Westlake officials appear to be in favor of the reopening the road, but would have no financial stake in the move. Avon would actually pave a half-mile portion of Avon Road that lies inside Westlake ...

    Avon Road runs between Bradley Road in Westlake and Nagel Road in Avon. The deteriorating portion of the road in Westlake was closed by Mayor Dennis Clough in 2009 after the mayor claimed it was unsafe.

    While the closing didn't affect Westlake drivers to any extent, it did rub Avon residents the wrong way as many used the road to get to I-90 and Crocker Park and other Westlake businesses.

    Avon Council is expected to discuss and vote on the matter next week, Smith said. "If everyone is supportive, we'll go ahead. If they're not, we won't ..."

    Contact Steve Fogarty at sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

    Top -- Home

    www.morningjournal.com/articles/2011/11/12/news/mj5276392.txt

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-12-11, By ALLISON STROUSE, astrouse@MorningJournal.com

    [Cleveland Clinic open house -- The Richard E. Jacobs Health Center will be holding a community open house on Dec. 3, 2011, from 1 to 4 p.m. -- see the 150 exam rooms and more than 30 speciality services the center will offer.]

    AVON -- When the Cleveland Clinic decided to build the Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon, they wanted to make it as patient friendly as possible.

    As finishing touches are put on the Just Imagine Drive facility, in preparation of the Dec. 12 [2011] opening, Medical Director Dr. Joseph Knapp can't help but be pleased with what he sees.

    The four story, 190,000-square-foot building is destined to be a one-stop shop for patients' medical needs.

    From the rehabilitation center, to the surgery center, and the primary care center, the facility has tried to include everything a person might need when visiting doctors offices ...

    "There are so many cool features," he said. "But, my favorite has got to be the therapy pools."

    After Dec. 12, he might not be the only one, as the pools are a new thing to the west side of Cleveland.

    "Embedded in the pools are treadmills," Knapp said. "The resistance of the water and the temperature of the waters aids in healing and just better clinical outcomes." ...

    But just as cool as the pools are, there is something to be said about the surgery center as well. "We're going to have an integrated operating room."

    As Knapp explained, the four large televisions around the operating area will project images of the surgery that can be streamed to other Cleveland Clinic locations.

    "A surgeon could be doing a surgery and someone else from across the system could watch that surgery take place," he said.

    Having this technology available helps with the teaching aspect of the Clinic and it also allows the surgeons at the Avon facility to tap in to the expertise of those at the main campus, according to Knapp.

    While there is one integrated operating room, the facility has three other operating rooms and four procedure rooms, according to Knapp.

    Within the surgery center is also a private discharge elevator, allowing those just coming from surgery to have some privacy when leaving the health center ...

    The first floor holds the orthopedics center. Knapp pointed out that having that there was a logical choice as those were the people who might not be able to walk a long distance.

    On the third floor, the chemotherapy area has single and group stalls, allowing those to receive their treatment with friends or by themselves ...

    The Richard E. Jacobs Health Center has been under construction since November 2009. The center will be holding a community open house on Dec. 3 [2011] from 1 to 4 p.m., where can view the 150 exam rooms and more than 30 speciality services the center will offer.

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    www.morningjournal.com/articles/2011/11/05/news/mj5244777.txt

    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-5-11, By ALLISON STROUSE, astrouse@MorningJournal.com

    AVON -- The Cleveland Clinic Richard E. Jacobs Health Center in Avon will open it's doors to patients on Dec. 12 [2011], marking the end of the $97.9 million project.

    The health clinic, which has been under construction since November 2009, will have community open house Dec. 3 from 1 to 4 p.m. to give the public a sneak peek of the facility.

    The public will be taken on guided tours to show off the more than 30 specialty services, including physical therapy, aquatic therapy and a 24-hour emergency room.

    "There will also be health screening," Cleveland Clinic spokesman Scott Heasley said. While they are still finalizing what screenings they will offer, he stated that will be basic health screenings. During that open house there will be activities for the children, as well as raffles and giveaways.

    The Family Health and Surgery will have more than 60,000 square feet of surgical space as well as a gym, 150 exam rooms, four procedure rooms and four 23-hour overnight stay rooms.

    The clinic has named Dr. Joseph Knapp as the medical director of the Avon facility, after serving as the medical director of the Cleveland Clinic's Westlake Family Health Center ...

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