September 3, 2014

Medina
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Nonprofit says it can’t afford bringing property up to code

The city of Medina owns this property at 406 S. Broadway St. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

MEDINA — Medina Creative Housing has hit some roadblocks with its plan to develop a city-owned property at 406 S. Broadway St. into a cafe, bicycle rental and gift shop.

Dianne DePasquale-Hagerty, executive director of the organization, presented the problems to City Council’s Finance Committee on Monday.

She said the organization would face about $50,700 in costs to renovate the house to bring it up to code and make it accessible for people with disabilities.

Medina Creative Housing is a nonprofit group that provides housing and employment to people with disabilities.

Even with the renovations to the house, Medina Creative Housing would be able to use only about 300 square feet of the first floor for retail space because the second floor and basement could not be made accessible, DePasquale-Hagerty said.

A February proposal for the site involved tearing down a “bank barn” structure on the property, using the wood to rebuild the barn, and turning that building into a cafe and bike rental. The barn has since been torn down.

Under the original plans, the house would have become a “Made in Medina” gift shop.

DePasquale-Hagerty also said the space allotted to replace the barn was smaller than expected, because the original barn was built on the property line.

In a letter to Mayor Dennis Hanwell shared with Council, DePasquale-Hagerty proposed that instead of rebuilding the barn and renovating the house, “MCH would tear down the existing home structure and build a log-cabin structure that would fit seamlessly with the neighborhood and would accommodate the proposed uses of cafe, coffee roasting, retail and bike rental. The wood saved from the original barn would be repurposed to the extent possible in the new log cabin construction and furnishings.”

Councilman Bill Lamb, at large, was not happy with DePasquale-Hagerty’s new proposal.

“That house may be the oldest house in town,” he said.

Other Council members agreed, saying they did not want to see the house torn down.

“I appreciate everything you’ve done up to this point to try to make it happen,” said Councilman Mark Kolesar, 3rd Ward. “I would not want to see that house come down. If there’s other options — maybe there’s something else that we can come up with.”

DePasquale-Hagerty said she would meet with Lamb, Kolesar and Medina’s new planning director to try to come up with a solution.

At the regular Council meeting following the Finance Committee, Council approved a study to examine what the city could do to replace the municipal pool, which was taken out of service this summer because needed repairs were too costly.

Councilman Jim Shields, 4th Ward, said members of the public properties committee agreed that “we weren’t ready to be out of the pool business.”

Brandstetter Carroll Inc. will conduct an aquatic center feasibility study at a cost of $11,000.

“We felt like we’re at a point where we need some expertise as far as water options are concerned,” Shields said.

Council President John Coyne was the only member to vote against the study, saying he thought it wasn’t needed.

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