(Posted July 7, 2018)
By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
With the release of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, Kroger has moved one step closer to starting construction on a Fresh Eats store on the east side of West Jefferson.
The EPA report came in on June 29, said Mayor Ray Martin at the July 2 village council meeting. He said the report was favorable and will allow Kroger to move forward. The store will be located at the intersection of U.S. Route 40 and State Route 142.
“We don’t have a start date,” Martin said about the store’s construction.
While the Fresh Eats is slated to occupy the northeast corner of the intersection, another developer is working on plans for a large mixed-use development on the other side of Route 40.
John Tetzloff, president of the Darby Creek Association, attended the July 2 meeting to express concern about potential stormwater, runoff and water supply issues related to the development.
“I’m not saying we’re opposed but we do have concerns,” he said.
“We hope to keep the conversation going,” he said, noting that the planned development is one of the largest he has seen.
Karl Billisits of Harmony Group, the developer, said his group would help the area wherever possible. Council President Steve Johnston encouraged the two sides to keep the dialogue open.
In other business, Martin administered the oath of office to Linda S. Hall, who is filling the council seat vacated by Lorie Cafagno. Hall has 25 years of experience with The Ohio State University, most recently as administrator of the clinics for the James Cancer Hospital. Like Cafagno before her, she will serve on council’s finance committee.
Council authorized the mayor to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement and/or Local Transportation Improvement Programs for two projects in the village.
The village plans to seek funding for improvements to the Parkdale/Norwood School sanitary sewer and in the Converse Park/Westchester subdivision.
Council approved a recommendation from the Planning and Zoning Commission to rezone 120 Jackson St. from business to residential. The issue failed to get enough votes for passage at a previous meeting. This time the vote was 6-0. Council member Mike Conway was absent.
In a report from the parks and recreation department, director Marci Darlington said participation in the Lunch & Learn program has exploded. Last year, the program fed 12 to 30 children per session. This year, the program has served as many as 90 children per session.
“It started as a program to feed kids who didn’t have food,” Darlington said in her report. “Now, it’s become a community event. It’s so popular we may have to start a regular volunteer program.”