Stow City Council will consider Thursday buying 1.5 acres at 3940 Darrow Road, which if approved, could lead to a private developer building a rec center/sports complex.

The parcel would be added to 6.3 acres already owned by the city north of the post office, including the present senior center.

Mayor John Pribonic said it “will be a very, very important vote.”

The purchase price is $231,000 and includes a currently occupied residence.

According to Pribonic, the city most likely would lease the property to the developer, making the rec center facility privately owned. He compared the proposed center to the rec center in Tallmadge, saying the plan was to keep membership and usage costs comparable to that one, so that “residents could use it at a resident’s cost.”

“We are confident the proposed plan for a new recreation center will be an excellent new community asset for the residents of the city of Stow,” said Pribonic. “As a privately-funded project, our community, and our citizens will be the true winners here.”

He added, “We can provide what the citizens want and it’s not being taxpayer-funded.”

The year-round facility could include a walking track, workout machinery, basketball courts and rooms for classes such as yoga as well as outside recreational activities, such as sand volleyball. A pool is not included in the plans.

Pribonic said the developer, who the city is not naming because the plans are preliminary, first approached the administration in January, wanting to build a private multi-sports complex for traveling teams and workout facilities, “to meet the ever-growing demands for gym space.” The developer was looking for property located possibly in an industrial area, so as the city held conversations on the proposal, “a light bulb went off,” the mayor said.

“So we asked, ‘would you be interested in this footprint being a little bit larger,’ and incorporating it so we could also use it as a rec center in Stow,” Pribonic said.

“We are constantly looking at or open to ideas of what would be proper uses of the property on the Stow City Center site and this fits in perfectly,” he added.

While there would be no property taxes realized on the rec center, Pribonic said the city would collect payroll taxes.

He confirmed the senior center site on Darrow Road would be included in the rec center plans. Discussions about relocating the center have been taking place, he said.

Pribonic said if the sale is not approved, the developer most likely will take the plan to Cuyahoga Falls to construct the private multi-sports complex. He stressed that if that happened, the developer would not want to compete with the Cuyahoga Falls Natatorium as a rec center and would seek to create gym space only.

The Darrow Road property is zoned R-2 Residential, according to Rob Kurtz, the city’s planning and development director. That would would allow public or non-profit recreational facilities to be  conditionally permitted, he said, adding that “potential zoning amendments required to allow a public-private sports recreational facility" have not been determined.

Residents’ input sought

The city will host a meeting to gather input from residents on May 2 regarding the future direction of the city’s development and progress.

The session will be held at 7 p.m. in the Stow City Council Chambers at 3760 Darrow Road.

Residents are encouraged to provide their feedback on several key topics, including how the community can help Stow continue to develop and attract new families and businesses to the area.

“The opinions of our residents are critical to the success of our city,” said Pribonic.

The event will be led by an independent third party that regularly works with area cities and municipalities on improving communication and gathering feedback.

Residents unable to attend will be able to fill out an online or printed survey, which will be made available during the week of April 29.

 

Marsha McKenna can be reached at 330-541-9430 or mmckenna@recordpub.com.