As Merriman Valley venture gets underway, activists carry on to foyer for far more planning for the place

The first round in the combat in excess of enhancement in the Merriman Valley is more than, with the town of Akron lately granting Petros Houses the variance it needed to build 197 townhomes on Akron-Peninsula Street.

So, now what?

Growth of the former Riverwood Golf System web-site will probably commence this summer time, Petros Houses mentioned. But for the broader valley, activists say they are now arranged to greater confront potential strategies they imagine are unwell or inadequately deemed.

Initial, the Riverwood job.

“We are starting off to formulate our activity program now with everything,” mentioned Petros Homes CEO Sam Petros. “We’re likely to do anything we said we are going to do. I will not think about we’ll put a shovel into the ground right until June. That will be the earliest we’ll set a shovel in the floor. It will almost certainly be July.”

First, Petros Homes has to create an engineering approach for the site that satisfies state and regional officers, he reported. Following that, it will acquire two decades to completely build.

“Twenty-four months. Initially, we have to do all the underground operate, which is a fantastic volume of time and perform,” he stated. “Then we are going to start developing, and I would hope we are going to place up a setting up a month as soon as we get them started. … We may well have as number of as 30 or 40 (of the 197 models) at the close of this 12 months and then we are going to do the rest.”

The business will develop the townhomes in teams of up to 8 units at a whole expense of about $40 million, he said.

As part of its endeavours to earn around town officials — who were being under weighty strain from structured people to halt the development — the enterprise agreed to increase the number of for-sale models from 28 to 35, with the relaxation leased.

Petros stated he’ll likely get started with some for-sale and for-lease models at the exact same time but hasn’t determined if there will be a size distinction concerning the two.

The venture, to be constructed by Medina-based Delight One design organization, may well get extended to make now than in usual periods due to COVID restraints, Petros stated.

“Everything has turn into really tough in our field appropriate now,” he reported, citing raising rates for lumber and labor, and a scarcity of some materials and factors these kinds of as appliances. “We have to buy a dishwasher the day we start out the residence, since you happen to be not going to get it for 3 months … Typically all of this stuff is easily accessible for you, but it is not now.”

Although likely owners and tenants may well be viewing to see when models are out there, nearby people are looking at to see how the venture proceeds with its promised community facilities, this sort of as canoe access to the Cuyahoga River and hyperlinks to regional climbing trails.

Petros Residences is donating 48 acres of the 78-acre web page to the Parma-centered West Creek Conservancy, which will be charged with preserving the riverfront and other purely natural regions on the web site and building the predicted features.

West Creek executive director Derek Schafer claimed he’ll start off his get the job done at the time Petros Houses completes the site’s development prepare. Then his leading priority is likely to be the preservation facet of his mission.

“Initially, it really is defend it, then it truly is restore it. Then it really is link it. … We really don’t want to set the cart before the horse,” Schafer stated. “We have to make absolutely sure the site is safeguarded to start with.”

Schafer said he is conference expectations for expensive attributes with “tempered optimism,” for the reason that he’s not yet positive how considerably it will price tag to maintain the site and acquire the referred to as-for amenities. It may perhaps just take some time to do, and West Creek has but to determine whether it will need to raise funds for the venture via a money marketing campaign or via partners, or even what the function will value, he mentioned.

Residents have been inquiring that the internet site incorporate a bridge across the Cuyahoga River to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. Schafer said it has not been determined if which is heading to take place, or how it will be paid for if it does.

“A bridge in a floodplain like that could be very highly-priced,” he claimed.

The city asked for a internet site for the bridge, and Petros mentioned through e-mail that he’s got it in his designs. He stated he also acquired 2 acres on the other facet of the river for the crossing “with the intent of performing with West Creek and other companies to establish a approach and search for funding sources.”

Petros stated he’s viewed an incredibly higher degree of desire in the job from opportunity prospective buyers, tenants and even creditors who may possibly finance it.

“We are receiving people today contacting us constantly … and loan providers are calling me all the time,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, the undertaking has still left in its wake a cadre of community citizens who failed to want it to come about right until Akron and neighboring Cuyahoga Falls produce a promised learn plan for the entire Merriman Valley that they share.

Those folks shed a struggle but are now better prepared for a much larger combat if far more developments are proposed prior to that grasp plan will come to fruition, reported Dallas Aleman, proprietor of the Towpath Tennis Center near the Petros progress and a member of the citizens’ group Preserve the Valley.

“We have about 700 people today who are on the site and lively,” mentioned Aleman, who has had his organization in the valley for 50 a long time. “Which is in about four months, so it is a groundswell that says, ‘Hey, there are some people genuinely concerned about this.’ ”

Aleman mentioned he is not towards enhancement, or programs like all those of Petros Properties, but he nonetheless thinks the city ought to have carried out its grasp prepare ahead of supplying the development the go-ahead.

Still, he explained he was joyful metropolis officers listened to his team and acquired some alterations built to the Petros Households system, these kinds of as growing the setback from the river from 50 feet to 100 feet.

“I do applaud the town officials for listening to Preserve the Valley,” he claimed. “They shook the boat and rattled some cages, and obtained some results.”

Considerably from going absent, the group is energized for the up coming probable struggle, which Aleman claimed could take spot above 45 acres the city of Akron owns and is contemplating selling. The city has reported it would like to offer that land to a conservation group.

“If something, it really is invigorated us,” Aleman stated of Protect the Valley and the Petros Homes undertaking. “It truly is not like this was just a single struggle and now everyone’s going household with their tail between their legs.”