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City approves athletic facilities plan: Schools to start with ballfields, parking areas this year
March 12, 2009
by Jeff Saunders
Macedonia -- The school district anticipates opening a new football stadium in August 2010, after the city's planning commission approved the overall site plan for the $9.8 million athletic facilities reconstruction project March 9.
The commission also approved the first of four phases -- which includes construction of new ballfields, a pedestrian bridge and new parking areas.
Phase II, construction of the new stadium, is expected to begin in the fall.
Mayor Don Kuchta, who serves as commission chairman, said he was pleased with the school district and project planners.
"They are bending over backwards to make sure they do everything they need to do," he said.
School Superintendent Wayne Blankenship and District Business Manager Tom Hartman said they see the approval as a sign that the city and schools are cooperating with each other.
"I think it showed we worked well with the city and planning commission," Blankenship said. "There are a few things left, but it shows we have a good working relationship."
Hartman said he expects the district won't have trouble meeting a few conditions the planning commission set and the district should be able to award a construction contract for Phase 1 and begin construction before the end of spring.
"It will be tight, but we expect to have it going by June," he said.
* Project planners meet with the city's board of zoning appeals to seek variances for several encroachments of athletic fields within a 75-foot Indian Creek setback boundary mandated by city ordinances.
* Planned stormwater drainage controls must be subject to city inspections both during and after construction.
* City Planner Brian Frantz must certify that lighting planned for the complex will not illuminate residential areas to the north and that the planned addition of about 260 parking spaces to the 500 currently existing on the site will be adequate.
* City Engineer Gene Hill must ensure the new parking and drives are strong enough to handle the city's 25-ton aerial ladder fire truck, the fire department's heaviest vehicle. The parking areas and drives will be constructed with materials designed to speed the drainage of stormwater.
* Planners must seek approval from the commission for each of the subsequent phases.
Project planners say the entire project will take as long as four years to complete.
Martin Strelau, an architect with project designer ADA Architects of Cleveland, said Phase 1 will include construction of several ballfields on the west side of Indian Creek, a wider pedestrian bridge over the creek and a small parking area with access to Bluejay Trail to the north.
Phase 2 will include the construction of the new stadium and track east of the current stadium, which will then be demolished. A stormwater detention area and small parking lot over it will also be constructed on the north side of the property.
"We anticipate a mid-August 2010 opening for the stadium, in time for the start of football season," said District Athletic Director Rob Eckenrode.
Construction of the new tennis courts and a detention basin on the property's south side and two ballfields west of the new stadium are planned for Phase 3.
The construction of most of the new parking and removal of the current tennis courts will be done during Phase 4.
The district currently has about $7.8 million for the project, including a $6 million bond issue voters approved last November, to be repaid with a 0.42-mill, 22-year property tax levy, and $1.8 million the district set aside for the project several years ago.
The district recently formed a committee to explore ways to make up the difference through private fundraising.
Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3169
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