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Traffic being tracked in Tallmadge's East Avenue corrdior

By ELLIN WALSH Reporter Published: May 21, 2017 12:00 AM
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TALLMADGE -- A traffic study is under way in the East Avenue corridor of the city, from Tallmadge Circle to the Maplecrest Golf Course; the goal is to help Tallmadge accommodate future growth within its boundaries as well as address the effect of development in neighboring Brimfield. "Once we get the results, we will try to get a funding source (for grant monies for road improvements)," says Tallmadge Mayor Dave Kline.

Tallmadge City Council recently authorized a $50,000 expenditure to the GPD Group of Akron to conduct a traffic count and a study of the ingress and egress on the stretch of East Avenue. "I get complaints from people who currently have a hard time turning onto East Avenue from their allotments," the Tallmadge mayor says, adding, "And there's a lot of action planned in that corridor in the future and it all has a component we need to take into consideration -- increasing traffic."

The Tallmadge City School District plans to consolidate three schools into two on the current middle school campus, at 484 East Ave. Steve Wood, the district's chief operating officer, says the school district completed a traffic study before settling on that site for its new K-8 complex -- a building for kindergarten through grade five and a building for students in grades six through eight. "We are factoring traffic into the design of the campus," according to Wood, who adds, " We are confident that safe access and management of traffic will be achieved "

Approximately 2 miles down the road, the centuries-old, 100-plus-acre property known as the Ripley Farm is proposed for development. The property, which is entirely in Tallmadge, consists of three parcels: a 102-acre parcel at 1229 East Ave.; a 1.24-acre parcel at 1241 East Ave.; and a 0.4-acre parcel at 1223 East Ave. The farm is situated in an R-2 Residential District, where the city's zoning code stipulates a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet or two lots per acre.

However, the trustees of the farm are seeking a waiver in the zoning designation to R-6, Residential Open Space Planned Development District. "The R6 allows for clustering of units to achieve a more creative arrangement of single family homes resulting in greater density in certain areas of the site," according to Rita Weinberg, the city's planning director, economic developer. The Tallmadge Planning and Zoning Commission is expected to consider that request at its June 1 meeting.

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Less than 1 mile away from the farm is the former Maplecrest Golf Course at 219 Tallmadge Road. Earlier this year the Brimfield Township's Zoning Commission, under the recommendation of the Portage County Regional Planning Commission, changed the zoning of Maplecrest from residential-office to general commercial and light industrial. The zoning change could pave the way for DeHoff Development and Lemon & Lemon Development to erect a Menards home improvement store, and a Meijer grocery store. The other 71 acres in the back of the golf course, near Kent Displays and Rubbermaid, could include manufacturing plants, offices and research labs.

While none of Maplecrest Golf Club is located in Tallmadge, it is situated in a Joint Economic Development District between Brimfield and the city of Tallmadge.

The golf course is close to the on/off-ramp for Interstate 76. The Portage County engineers are in the design phase for improvements to the Tallmadge Road, Mogadore Road and Interstate 76 area, according to Brent Kovacs, public information officer for the Ohio Department of Transportation, District 4. What's eyed, Kovacs says, is reconstructing and moving the I-76 westbound exit to Mogadore Road just to the north to help alleviate congestion there. If you're heading south on Mogadore Road toward Tallmadge, the addition of two right-turn lanes, one through lane and one left-turn lane is proposed. Meanwhile, Kovacs says the addition of two left turn lanes is envisioned at the I-76 eastbound ramp with Tallmadge Road.

"We expect this project to sell to a contractor in the winter of 2020," Kovacs says, with construction anticipated to start in spring 2021. The estimated cost is $8.2 million, Kovacs reports, with Portage County, ODOT and the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study sharing costs.

The golf course also is located across the street from the Cascades Retail Center in Brimfield.

Editor's note: Record Courier reporter Kelly Maile contributed to this story.

Email: ewalsh@recordpub.com.

Phone: 330-541-9419

Twitter: @ EllinWalsh_RPC

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