George W. Davis

GREEN: Senior citizens wanting affordable housing in the heart of the city got good news this week.

Mayor Dick Norton and Planning Director Wayne Wiethe told City Council on Tuesday that the Woda Development Group of Westerville has been granted tax credits by the Ohio Housing Finance Commission to build a 50-unit complex restricted to tenants age 55 and older.

The credits will permit the firm — noted nationwide for high-quality construction of independent, affordable housing — to proceed with plans on a 3-acre portion of a 23.3-acre planned development site known as The Grove/The Grove Villas of Green. It sits along the east side of Massillon Road, just south of Graybill Road.

The senior-restricted housing site would be located between the retail development of The Grove, being proposed by Cindy Williams of Green Development, and the villas, a 180-unit apartment complex being planned by Foremost Development Group of Birmingham, Mich., at the east end of the acreage.

The Grove will feature commercial office facilities along with restaurants, including an unnamed national restaurant not in Northeast Ohio presently, and other retail establishments.

Wiethe said Woda’s application scored among the highest of 109 proposals for the tax credits, submitted to the state commission from all over Ohio.

He said Woda hopes to start construction next spring, following completion of obtaining all necessary permits and approvals of the Planning and Zoning Commission and the council.

A modified concept plan is expected before the planners at their June 18 meeting, Wiethe said.

He said the group scored so high because of where the plan is located — with Akron General’s Health and Wellness Center and Summa’s emergency medical facilities close by, plus the Acme Fresh Market under construction, the Green YMCA, the city’s library branch, and fire and EMS facilities.

“I think you will find a lot of seniors in Green are looking forward to this,” Wiethe said.

In other development news, the council learned from City Engineer Paul Pickett and two directors of Burgess & Niple engineering of Columbus that the administration has made its choice of plans (Plan 3) for an estimated $10 million in improvements to the northern section of the Massillon Road Corridor from the Interstate 77 ramps to state Route 619.

Along with decorative center islands and 10-foot-wide bike and walking paths on the west side of Massillon Road, the city will install roundabouts at East Turkeyfoot Lake Road (Route 619) and Stein Road and a signaled left-turn lane at Raber Road.

Detail design work is to begin now and take place through 2015. Right-of-way acquisition will come in 2016, and construction will occur between 2017 and 2018.

No completion date has been set, Pickett said.

George W. Davis can be reached via email at mediaman@sssnet.com.