Amherst News-Times, 1999-02-17
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Ei ord essay winners —Page6 Comets third in SWC —Page/ Amherst News-Time < Wednesday, February 17. 1999 Ainherst. Ohio I Plans explored for revitalization Even though revitalization of downtown Amherst is still a dream, city officials and business people are preparing the groundwork for a group that may help it become a reality. Plans are being made for a visit and assessment of the historic downtown by Downtown Ohio, Inc., a non-profit revitalization organization the city joined last year for $200. For another $250, two or three group representatives from the organization will explore and review the downtown area on March 13 with mayor John Higgins. The following day, they will meet with city officials, merchants, business people and others to hear and discuss downtown issues, strengths and concerns at the newly opened Veranda Restaurant on Milan Avenue. Among those in attendance will be the 16-member downtown revitalization committee created by the mayor shortly after he took office in 1996. Even though the group has not met on a regular basis, it is expected to play a significant role in any improvements that are implemented, the mayor said. A report outlining the representative's findings and recommendations will be presented at a later date. The main speaker will be Kevin Kuchenbecker, executive director of Downtown Ohio, who will discuss the Main Street program and how it has benefited other cities. "This is something we need to really give revitalization a boost," said Higgins. "They can help give us the direction and guidance we need." | Councilwoman Nancy Brown has noted many new area residents don't shop downtown because they think of the Amherst Plaza and the comer of Cooper Foster Park and N. Leavitt Roads as the central business district. It is hoped the Main Street program can help change that perception. It is a comprehensive statewide revitalization effort created to promote historic and economic redevelopment of older business districts like Amherst's. The city also will receive technical support and training needed to restore the downtown area and make it a center of community activity and commerce. Each year the mayor said Main Street Ohio officials select a community on a competitive basis for Main Street projects, which involves assistance in getting redevelopment grants. It provides information on private, state and federal financing alternatives, including grants, city officials explained. They range between $400,000 and $600,000, and usually are for building renovations, facade work and street or downtown landscaping improvements. ; Among those interested in the program is the newly created Amherst Downtown Business Association (ADBA.) Its creation was a helpful step because it helps show business people are interested in improvements. Brown said. "We can't just walk in and plop an application down," she explained. "You have to have groundwork done and they (the state) want . to see interest, and that some organization supports it and backs it." ;'. She and Judy Recknagel, owner of the Mermaid's Tail, are co- chairing a Downtown Ohio, Inc. visitation committee. A proponent of downtown revitalization, the coun- cilwoman is particularly anxious to hear its representatives. "We need direction and advice on getting started and getting grams because the grants don't come easy." Brown added. ■The mayor agrees. The applies- tioa process for state redevelopment grants is tough because applications often are not approved on the first IT He it hoping tips provided by Downtown Ohio representatives and possible help from the county development department will give ihe dty an edge in tte process. , "It's a highly competitive one, ao ax can use all the help we can get" Higgins said. ,< The program also can help the newly fanned group set priorities help market and promote tte down town, Higgins said. "There's lots of benefits we can get from it (Main Street Ohio) that we don't realize. It can be a brain- trust,'' he added. The goals of the multi-phased Main Street Ohio Program range from increasing retail sales to enhancing the visual quality through building restoration and conservation programs. Several area communities have adopted all or pan of the Main Street philosophy, including Oberlin. Oberlin City manager Rob DiS- pirito, with whom Higgins has been in contact, said the college community has opted to develop its own revitalization using some, but not all, of Main Street Ohio's guidelines. This involves possibly hiring someone who would serve as both a chamber of commerce director and a Main Street Ohio coordinator. The evaluation of Oberlin's downtown gave city officials "a valuable insight" into its strengths and needs, and how it might be improved, DiSpirito added. "It showed us there is more to think about than just the bricks and mortar of buildings, it's marketing, promotion, business retention and other things that are to be considered also," he said. "It gives you a very in-depth program that helps by giving you a tailor-fit set of recommendations you can use." Amherst city officials and ADBA members have said they believe a healthy downtown helps create and retain jobs plus strengthens the tax base, especially income tax. There are four key elements vital to a downtown's revitalization that are part of the Main Street Ohio Program, according to documents provided by Downtown Ohio, Inc.: • Organization and cooperation between merchants and other groups that have a role in a downtown. • A downtown's physical appearance, including the streets, buildings, parking, landscaping and window displays. • Marketing and promotion of a city's unique; characteristics to attract shoppers, investors and tourists. • Strengthening the existing economic base of the downtown while emphasizing diversity in it This includes helping to expand and recruit new businesses, and converting unused space into usable property. Winter royalty Winter homecoming festivities at Marion L. Steele last Saturday began with the crowning of the Winter King and Queen, seniors Steve Szucs and Abbrn Jankowski. The night began with a junior varsity win over North Ridgeville, followed by a varsity win, and capped off with a dance. Scout achieves highest honor Greg Yuhasz received the rank of Eagle Scout at a special court of honor on Sunday, November 8, 1998. Yuhasz is the son of Ruth and Nick Yuhasz. He is a member of Boy Scout Troop 427 in Amherst The troop belongs to tte Great Frontier District of tte Heart of Ohio Council. Tte Eagle Scout award is tte highest Boy Scout honor. In order to achieve this rank, a scout must earn 21 merit badges, te an active member of tte troop, hold leadership positions and complete a community service project ■ • Tte Eagle court of honor, held at tte Nordson Train Depot began with tte opening flag ceremony presented by Sean Bailey, Kevin Burls, Chris Ferris. Andy Cotton, and Eric Jones. Jeff Rider, William Loar, Joel Rivenburg, Matt Butler. Jesse Parkhurst and Matt Adkins. Tom Cotton presented tte Scout Ceremony. Master of Josh Sailer read the Eagle poem, treasurer Ken Ferris reviewed Yuhasz's scouting record. Yuhasz's aeyanfjM career began with Cob Scout Pick 494 of Amhent when te earned tte Arrow of light the high- eat rank of Cub Scouting. He joined Troop 427 on Febiuary 7,1994. He earned tte rank of Tenderfoot oa October 3, 1994, Second Class on December 3, 1994, First Gam on April 3. 1993. Star oa October 9. 1995, Life on July 12,1996 ami I*- naBy tte rank of Eagk on tore, 1998. Yoten*sl GregYuh*eirjrouo1yweertt¥»dcleptay»tiae2l merit badges he hattejnt#a)nthtro«dtoto Besides earn ing tht btttgtt. Yutmz had to Uhl eeverei other requkremerts nsosnny to tn* roaoh tne Nghtat honor posslbte as a boy scout cord. He has been in scenting for Mr Sailer eeoectally atmmmma mamwammmam* mmmmmaarmm—m-—mmmmmj Yuhnz on Ms ability ni foMfor to ail a food example, his entte- IkmmmWmm siatn and Ms willlagnen to a total He is a of 21 •fate Or der of the Arrow Brotherhood. Other programs of participation included Troop Junior Leader Training, New Frontiers Program, Outdoor Wilderness League (Firelands), and snorkeling BSA. In 1996, te was the second recipient of tte Donald Jameson Lifetime Scouting Achievement Award. Eagle Honor Guard Matt Adkins and Jesse Parkhurst escorted Yuhasz to Scoutmaster Jeff Rider, who presented the Eagle award. Yuhasz is the 43rd Eagle Scout in Troop 427, and joins his grandfather, uncle and cousin as Eagle Scouts. Tom Cotton, Troop 427's 42nd Eagle Scout invited all Eagle Scouts to come forward and take the Eagle charge with Yuhasz. Mr. Rider recalled highlights of Yuhasz's Scouting years. Following Mr. Rider's remarks, Yuhasz's name was added to Troop 427's Eagle plaque. Yuhasz then took tte floor and thanked his family, friends, adult leaders and tte troop members for their help and encouragement along his Eagle nail. Scoutmaster! Owen Mite Bailey described t's Eagle Project Yukon planned, organlied. led and worked to clnarrldan s new 12 foot wide trail at tte Mill Hollow Metro Fa*. Tte new iral connects to tte existing Bluebird trafl. A total of 340 hours was roasjnd by al ants to comnlsttpf I Ml Tte Ifouonbls Mayor John Nf~ • DonauvM iw for park requested by Mayor by OLEN MLLER News-Times reporter With corporate and business donations all but tapped out the city admimstration is renewing its request for public donations to help build a 60-acre West Side Park. The city is about $53,000 shy of meeting its $600,000 goal, tte amount of public and private funding agreed to in a 1997 agreement with the Lorain County Metroparks board. Under the agreement tte city and park system agreed to each provide $600,000 in funding for tte $1.8 million facility. The remaining third was to come from public fundraising and donations. Fundraising and donations were chosen over the creation of a possible tax levy. In his Feb. 8 report to city council, mayor John Higgins said te has approached and received donations from every major business in tte city. "We need some public support to complete this job," he said. The park is to be built between N. Lake and N. Main streets and will have a childrens' playground, picnic facilities, a soccer field and a walking and biking trail. More than two months ago, te and MetroParks director Dan Martin jointly announced progress in tte fund drive and asked residents to begin digging into their purses and wallets. Of the more than $346,000 donated so far, about 30 donations have come from businesses and corporations. They have contributed amounts ranging from $1,000 to $25,000. Only nine have been checks of $300 or less, tte kind of contributions sought from families or individuals, Martin said. "But these are tte* kind we are seeking now and we need more of, not necessarily $300, but of smaller amounts — kits of them," te added. "We've heard from very few families." Higgins and Martin said they would like to conclude tte campaign by the end of March so engineers can be hired in April or May. Construction work would te bid out before tte end of tte year and tte park built in 2000. Unless tte goal is reached by tte end of next month, tte mayor said the city may have to resort to special fundraisers. The other option would be to scale back tte park, although that decision would have to te made by the parks board. Martin said. Donations can be made to tte Lorain County Metro Parks. 12882 Diagonal Road. LaGrange, 44030. Post office options considered by QLEN MLLER aaaaBaaaaaaaajeaaaajaaaaaBaaaBaaaaaaaaaaaaaaBBaaaaaaBi News-TImee reporter Tte old post office tending on Park A venae could become eater a conmoity center or senior citterns' tacWty. depends* oa wan dty fflfJPffl flMaaaD Ot tht eOQaaaae Tte jiiaftli pins for tte city- ■f a Feb. 8 saidte by Tte in Jen Trinity in tte antfte WBMl _BBBBBBBBBBBBJ_ Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa f BBBBBBBBBBBBBaBBBBBBaBBl Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaai
|Title||Amherst News-Times, 1999-02-17|
|Date of Original||17-FEB-1999|
|Submitting Institution||Ohio Historical Society|
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