November 24, 2014

Medina
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Medina Council looking to downtown’s future

Rick Nelsen Jr. and Kiera Manion-Fischer

MEDINA — City Council is considering hiring a consultant to develop a long-range plan for downtown economic development.

Community Development Director Greg Hannan estimated the consultant would cost the city $40,000 during Monday’s Finance Committee meeting.

Hannan said a long-range “strategic plan” is required in order for the city to apply for a $300,000 state Community Development Block Grant, called the “downtown revitalization program.”

He said possible projects to use the grant haven’t been set yet, but it could be used to help fund public infrastructure projects or private rehabilitation or renovation.

For example, the money might be used for parking improvements downtown, Hannan said.

“The biggest desire and goal would be that it will help us encourage private development in the district,” Hannan said of the plan.

The strategic plan would cover the city’s nine-block historic district and a possible expansion down to Lafayette Road.

The plan would take into consideration the historic district’s existing economic conditions and would include a marketing effort aimed to fill vacant retail and office space.

“I think it’s good to have a plan of where we would like to see the city in the next five to 10 years,” Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.

Council President John Coyne said he had reservations about spending $40,000 on an outside consultant.

“I just don’t want to keep giving people money to tell us stuff we already know,” he said.

Hanwell said he would be willing to take the next two weeks to see whether the administration could find a way to reduce the $40,000 price tag.

The committee members agreed to take two weeks to study the proposal.

Contact reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com. Contact Rick Nelsen Jr. at areanews@medina-gazette.com.