CUYAHOGA FALLS: City Council will decide tonight whether a proposed souped-up Giant Eagle GetGo will receive a tax break.
GetGo Kitchen would include an assortment of beverages, including a coffee bar with free flavorings and syrups, a cappuccino bar, sandwiches, burgers and salads made to order, ready-to-go meals, a beer cave and “quick trip” grocery items.
The store also would offer a 36-seat cafe and free wireless Internet.
Jennifer Syx, Falls deputy director of development, said the store would create 28 jobs. She asked council to approve a four-year, 50 percent property tax abatement.
If approved, the break would save Giant Eagle $26,000 annually, or $104,000 for the four years.
Giant Eagle representative Justin Evans said the store is an upgrade from the typical GetGo.
“This is well above our typical standards,” he said. “Without this abatement and partnership, it won’t be this.”
Some council members, including Carol Klinger, are concerned that the abatement could give GetGo Kitchen an unfair advantage over other area businesses.
“When I look at the proposal as it is, and how it will impact other businesses in the area, it all seems kind of crazy to me,” she said. “It’s really going to give an unfair advantage to competitors in the marketplace.”
Council President Don Walters said no one is against progress.
“But right across the street they’re building a large store and we don’t know what deal they got from the developer,” Walters said. “Tax abatement is a tool to retain businesses from going to another town or for a new business coming in. They are not to be handed out like candy.”
Falls Development Director Sue Truby said tax abatements are necessary to attract and keep new jobs.
“I think it’s a very small token to welcome them to our community,” she said. “Look down the street at Acme, where we gave $1 million in tax abatements and we didn’t have a debate like this. They’re competing with Marc’s and Giant Eagle.
“The city is not trying to make a bad deal good,” Truby said. “We’re trying to make a good deal happen.”
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Natatorium.
Gina Mace can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.