By Alison Stewart
Special to the Beacon Journal
BARBERTON: The future use of the former Oakdale Elementary property remains up in the air.
Mayor Bill Judge said City Council would vote on making an offer on the lot during Monday’s regular meeting.
Summa Barberton Hospital officials, who entered into a purchase agreement with the Board of Education in May for $73,000, are moving forward with a plan to turn the property into a parking lot. Hospital officials held a public meeting last week to work with residents who were concerned about the proposal.
“Many of the residents who attended the meeting were opposed to the parking lot due to increased traffic and safety concerns,” Judge said.
Some of those concerns include noise, increased lighting and water run-off, said Ryan Pendleton treasurer and chief financial officer of the school district.
City Councilman John Lysenko also opposes the proposal and drafted legislation last month in which the city would purchase the land from the school board for $1 to use as a park.
School board President Joe Stefan said last month that the district is not interested in selling the property for that amount, and the board would not reverse the purchase agreement unless Summa withdraws.
“The hospital is a suitable buyer for the property,” Pendleton said. “We have satisfied all of our requirements for this purchase and now it is up to the hospital and the city to come to a decision.”
Summa’s director of public relations, Michael Bernstein, said the residents’ concerns would be taken into consideration.
“We are working with architects and the city to create a parking lot that will address the concerns of residents,” he said. “We have an extensive study in place to construct a lot that will not be intrusive to residents with walls constructed to block light. The lot will be used for first-shift employees.”
Summa is looking to use the lot as an alternative to a 40-year-old parking deck on the hospital property. Bernstein said the deck is past its original life expectancy, and the hospital no longer can afford to invest millions of dollars into a deck that needs to come down.
“The deck will need to be taken down within the next three to four years,” he said. “We are being proactive and trying to find a long term solution for parking. The Oakdale property makes sense due to its location, and it is a parcel of land that will serve the community well.”
Summa must obtain zoning approval or a conditional-use permit to complete the purchase agreement with the school board.
The council will meet at 7:30 p.m. at the Barberton Municipal Building, 576 W. Park Ave.