Common problem: How to fill a medium-sized hole? | Berkshire Eagles

Common problem: How to fill a medium-sized hole? | Berkshire Eagles

Le Larry Parnass, Berkshire Eagles

NORTHWOOD, Ohio – They came. They talked. They clicked.

Without his heels, like Dorothy in that film, but with the same hope. Using gizmos-electronic ahem, "audience response system" – residents of this small city in northwest Ohio clicked things that they liked to flag, as if they were flying through an in-flight magazine.

Or did not like so much, as officials set out a vision.

Keep the slides nice.

There were folks in Northwood, Ohio, voting on features that could come to us, after the mall had won the skirts under the firm with Berkshire Mall.

As I travel to an Empire Mike Kohan died, my notebooks are filling evidence of what is wrong at places where his company was still owned or doing – and I will share these accounts in the coming days.

The tattoo artist whose supplies are frozen inks in an unheated shop. Checks on mall workers to insist. Bounce tax payments. The mattress shop owner paid his own garbage to draw, and to fix the rooftop air conditioning unit, then deduct it from his rent.

Frustrated tax collectors, fire chiefs, mayors, administrators and utilities. And family owned shops and their customers. People who are unwilling or unable to resign Mall turn around the drain.

At one place, I got a ribbon of fresh cut grass next to an acre cracked paths. Sick on the ruthless scene outside, a lawn mower tenant sent up, told me, so the place did not look, as another tenant told me, "like Berlin in 1945." Not enough.

But after I talk to people in Northwood, I decided to put an end to it and look forward, as they now wear. What are they looking for to gather here?

– – –

Before developers succeed, they consult bankers.

Before cities and towns disappear, they speak to their people. This means taxpayers. Northwood officials held meetings to consider how residents felt about new uses for the old-ground land. The city had paid $ 200,000 for selling "sheriff" in 2016, five full years after the judge closed the center after deciding that it was not safe to enter. The property finally transferred to $ 800,000, when it was sold in 2012 to a firm called Ohio Plaza Shopping Center LLC, according to reports in the local media. Officials believe that Kohan stayed as principal.

Similar meetings can be held for Lanesborough, a town for the Berkshire Mall, as the town and Baker Hill Road District are likely to lose almost $ 1 million per annum in attracted tax income. It wasn't easy to spend money for years, since Kohan came. There is 1 ph.m. the deadline of Wednesday to pay approximately half a million dollars to the Baker Hill Road Area, which has legal authority on the site; the town itself is more owed. In total, Kohan's company had arrears of $ 921,824.25 for this fiscal year.

Northwood added the "what else?" ask residents three times. The last meeting was April 9th.

"Why are we here?" the second slide said that night. [Or is that “asked”?]

Answer: Redevelop the former Woodville Mall, the first enclosed shopping center when it opened in 1969, but now a 120 acre empty pavement plot, valuable rebar, grass and weeds.

"Great location," said the slide. This appeared to be a natural bullet point for this hometown of the natives. The property sits on the busiest commercial route in the city, south-west of the city center, although a regional manufacturing decline is occurring.

The next point appeared on the slide falling stitch. "A great opportunity to implement planning initiatives." It is definitely a great opportunity for Glenn Grisdale, a professional planner to hold the information meeting.

But ideas for the ideas do not encourage the ideas of the developers, I think it's fair to look at them.

The taxpayers at previous meetings, by clicking on "videoing session," made that point.

When asked whether they supported the property development "in a way that defines the best market," 65 percent said that. But they did not give it away, or they lose their long-term connection. More, 76 per cent, thought that some of the property should have a public purpose.

A photograph shows a full house in the city meeting room, doubled as a courtroom. Instead of cellphones, people were keeping those clickers – as big as phones but with actual buttons. The votes were unbound but were likely to be satisfactory. No one asked for their views on the Mall in the years.

– – –

The Article follows on from these notices

Certainly skin in the game is by residents. As I reported earlier for this project, Northwood used more than $ 2 million from a state loan fund to clean the site. The city must pay it back. Kohan was already out of the picture.

That's great money for a community of 5,200 – about a thousand fewer residents than they live in Great Barrington.

To make another comparison between Berkshire County, Woodville Mall sat dob-smack right in the center of Northwood, it does not take up a long road out and surrounded by woods, as in Lanesborough and in the Berkshire Mall. Instead, imagine 120 acres on the edge of the center of Adams. Then think that the picturesque downtown of the town has gone. The empty space could be worthwhile.

The Woodville Mall exhibition took place forever. Each delay raised the question about what comes next.

Over the past few months, crews have worked to remove asbestos, spraying water to keep loose pieces from distillation. In winter, when the water was frozen sometimes, the city administrator told me, turning the dark sides of the Mall into a skateboard rink as the crews worked softly, breaking at the ceiling.

But that's the bad day.

Eventually, Northwood checked the gut on this land, just as cities and towns in this case need. The verdict here: Invest more public money to attract private development.

They paid for consultants, who came with a combination of enterprises that contributed greatly to housing.

Now that people have been given the green light, North Anderson's administrator Bob Anderson is working with others to encourage interest among developers. It can use a small tax incentive arsenal to reduce start-up costs. But the city is just one of the unexpected parties who turn around people with money around here. If success was the "success breeds success" applied to commercial development, Anderson has a heavy lift.

"The Enclave" requires some retail development, as people expressed a desire to eat or shop locally. The Mall was much larger for Northwood shopping – serving as the de facto center of the city. Today, one shop is selling agricultural goods, including clothing. The old Lion Food across Woodville Road is empty, dark, rectangular and dumb as a face in an old west.

On the old institution attracted, the concept is, with an apology to the founder Steve Martin, do not: "Let's be small."

– – –

The city plans to invest in infrastructural improvements on the southeast edge of the Meall land. He hopes to lay a pipe and get everything but make an asphalt to build a new street. If things do go ahead, this new street could house a number of small buildings with individual retail tenants.

"I don't think we will have a mall like this again," Anderson says to me, sitting at a conference board with maps and documents specifying "The Enclave."

If a developer breaks, the idea is, at least now, do not use most of the property for housing of all types, and all ages. Anderson says that he must keep in mind that sketches in the slide shows are only suggestions, and the poster shown on easel in the lobby of the city building. Developers decide what really goes on, if that day comes.

People talk about creating a place that could be their first home for young couples who could, some day, move to “aging” homes. All right here; things “life circle”.

Dan Mikolajczyk, neighbor and former city councilor is one of those people.

He is happy with the things on the table.

Apparently people don't think of a site admission manufacturer, including a company providing material for a new Jeep plant around five miles away. Some said that traffic on the Woodville Road would pose a safety threat to a new city school.

People were not interested in gigantic enterprises for the place. That mall hangover. "No one wants anything more now," he told me, when I found it walking close to the north side of the corridor. He sat through countless meetings.

"Senior career is a hot topic," he says.

Although it is a practical Ohioan, not only to fall for "planning initiatives," like Mikolajczyk moved by the idea of ​​creating something that city just does not: place to call downtown. A small coarse magnet capable of giving the public a new civic shape.

"It's a bit of everything. It's a good concept," says Mikolajczyk. "It's a gamble. Everyone knows it's a gambler."

Next: Unhappy tenants take the gloves in a mall which is almost at the bottom of the rock.

Larry Parnass, investigations editor for Eagle, can be found at

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