Gina Mace
Ohio.com correspondent

CUYAHOGA FALLS: Falls Council voted 10-to-1 to approve modifications to the city's contract with Stark Enterprises to develop Portage Crossing.


Chief executive officer Robert Stark is expected to close on the 29 acres of State Road property it will purchase from the city at the end of July.


Under the original contract, Stark Enterprises was to pay nearly $3.8 million for the property, $2 million of which would have been deposited into a fund that Stark could draw from during construction. The modification calls for the entire amount to be deposited into a "State Road" fund.


The fund will be used to reimburse Stark for construction costs, up to the full amount of the purchase price. He will have to present receipts or completed work orders to draw from that fund. Stark has already paid his half of the $900,000 cost of a parcel on the corner of State Road and Portage Trail that housed a BP station. He has also  purchased additional property to expand the project, and must turn over a portion of it to the city for road and utility improvements.


The $11 million spent by the city for the land and demolition will be repaid through a tax increment financing program. Property taxes collected from Stark on the unimproved land will be divided with 78 percent going to pay down the debt and 22 percent going to Falls schools.