S.J. Collins Enterprises

West Market site to include fourth building

DOWNTOWN AKRON — During its May 23 meeting, Akron City Council heard more about plans to add another retail building that could house up to three businesses at the West Akron development featuring a 365 by Whole Foods store.

A representative of developer S.J. Collins said the 4,200-square-foot building would be located along West Market Street behind the Circle K at the corner of West Market Street and North Hawkins Avenue.

City of Akron Zoning Manager Mike Antenucci said Council approved the original site plan for the development last July. It included the main building that would house Whole Foods and two additional buildings to be built along North Hawkins Avenue at the former site of West Point Market.

Whole Foods officials recently announced the Akron store will be built as one of the organic grocery chain’s first 365 by Whole Foods stores, which reduced the size of the store by about 10,000 square feet. Cameron Grogan, of S.J. Collins, said that gave the company more room to work with on the site. The main grocery store building also will include about 4,000 square feet of space for another retailer, he added.

During a public hearing on the conditional use of the property, conducted during the Planning Committee meeting, Councilman Rich Swirsky (D-Ward 1) asked if the impact on traffic and parking has been considered with the change.

“I want to make sure there’s not going to be a bottleneck of traffic,” he said.

Jason Segedy, the city’s director of Planning and Urban Development, said the development’s entrance would be aligned with Westgate Circle and the traffic signal there would provide adequate traffic control. He added that the retail development would have 271 parking spaces.

The committee kept the ordinance on time, but chair Jeff Fusco (D-at large) said passage is expected in the coming weeks.

“There’s a lot of questions, and we just want to make sure everyone gets their questions answered,” he said.

Also this week, Council passed several resolutions and ordinances regarding this year’s road paving projects.

The Residential Resurfacing Program includes portions or all of the following streets in the West Side Leader’s coverage area: Avalon, Elmdale, North Hawkins, Kenwood, Randel, Roslyn, Vinita and Westwood avenues; Garman Road; Palisades Drive; and Frederick Boulevard. On the alternate list are: Noble and Reynolds avenues; Manor Road; Westgate Circle; DeWitt, Eastgay, Westgay and Zahn drives; Zahn Court; and Pilgrim Way.

The Unimproved Street Resurfacing Program includes no streets in the West Side Leader’s coverage area. On the alternate list are parts of Winston Road and Ayers Avenue.

The Arterial Collector Resurfacing Program includes parts of Memorial Parkway, West Market Street and the part of Ghent Road that is annexed to the city. On the alternate list are North Portage Path and Diagonal and Thurmont roads.

Public Works Bureau Manager Jim Hall said last year all streets that were on the alternate lists were paved. He said if bid prices come in low or additional money is available, the city hopes to address the alternate streets this year.

Also this week, the Parks and Recreation Committee discussed an ordinance to fund the My Neighborhood Our Akron City Council Grant Agreement Program, which would allow the 10 ward Council members to authorize up to $10,000 in grants for projects in their wards. The proposed total amount for this year — $100,000 — is twice what it was last year, the program’s first year.

While the total amount allocated could be increased, individual grants will remain between $250 and $1,000, said committee chair Russel Neal Jr. (D-Ward 4).

Fusco said he would like to see an accounting of what groups were funded in last year’s program and what kinds of projects they did. He requested the ordinance be placed on time.

During the Planning Committee meeting and again in comments at the end of the evening meeting, Neal raised his concerns regarding the community learning center (CLC) projects being built as a partnership between Akron Public Schools and the city. Neal has questioned the amount spent on the Firestone/Litchfield CLC, as well as the amount budgeted for the upcoming Ellet CLC project.

“I think there’s a plan and it’s not being shared with us,” Neal said.

Council President Marilyn Keith (D-Ward 8) told Neal several times that questions could be answered at Council’s scheduled June 20 meeting with the Joint Board of Review, which is made up of city and APS representatives who oversee the building project.

Councilman Bob Hoch (D-Ward 6), in whose ward Ellet High School is located, said answers to questions about enrollment and cost were already provided to Council members when Council was asked to approve a conditional use for the Ellet CLC site last month. He also said Council members who still have questions should be proactive about getting information about the projects.

“Make a call; send an email, [or] a text; go to the person or the body who are able to answer your questions,” he said.

Both Neal and Donnie Kammer (D-Ward 7) asked to respond, but Keith asked for the meeting to be adjourned.

Council will not meet May 30 due to the Memorial Day holiday. Council will next meet June 6 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on the third floor of the Akron Municipal Building, 166 S. High St. Committee meetings are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. that day, also in Chambers.