Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Midway Mall Highest & Best Uses Feasibility Study

Last night, the consultants hired by the Mayor to study the Midway Mall area presented their report.  A copy of the full report can be found here:  Midway Mall Use Study

Below is the Mayor's memo to City Council, enclosing the study:

As I informed you of earlier this year, I deferred part of the unfilled Economic Development
Specialist position salary to pay for the hiring of a firm to work with the City and Midway Mall
asset managers to conduct a Highest and Best Uses Feasibility Study for Midway Mall. The
attached study will be presented to you by the consultants (Jeff Green Partners and Hoffman
Strategy Group) on Monday November 21 during the City Council meeting.

The study has resulted in recommendations for a redevelopment plan for the Mall area that will
be used by the Mall asset managers to try to attract a data-driven, high quality developer when
they sell the property in 2017. It will also be used by the City to leverage outside economic
development funding and will guide us in making future decisions about zoning and offering
economic development incentives to property owners and developer(s). After the presentation,
I am requesting that the Council President refer this matter to the proper committee for
eventual adoption of the report and associated recommendations. Council's official action will
assist the City in leveraging other economic development funds and assistance from other public
and quasi-public economic development entities inside and outside the County.

Midway Mall Highest & Best Uses Study Highlights:

The Elyria/Lorain County market loses approximately $890 million in retail sales because
residents shop elsewhere, such as the Great Northern Mall or Crocker Park.
The economics of the Mall, like other malls nationally and retail generally are changing.
• Retailer's closing or relocating (e.g, Macy's and Dillard's)
• Retails smaller footprint because of e-commerce
• Shifting consumer preferences, tastes, and shopping patterns

The goal of the City of Elyria is to capture a larger portion of those lost retail sales by finding the
highest and best uses for Midway Mall; right-sizing retail; and incorporating other uses such as
residential, hospitality, and office.
This study analyzes the Elyria market in terms of what retail, residential, hospitality, and office
uses are supportable on the Midway Mall property.
It finds that an opportunity is present to realize nearly $100 million in new sales revenues
associated with the re-development of Midway Mall.
• $90 million annually in new retail sales revenue potential
• $3 million annually in new gross residential rental revenues
• $3 million annually in new professional/medical office rental revenues
• $2.5 million annually in gross hotel receipts
The cost of leaving Midway Mall as-is:
• Continued retail spending leakage from the Elyria market
• Retail sales from existing tenants will likely continue to erode
• Additional store closings over the next five to 10 years
• A blighted property that loses future development opportunities
This is analysis helps to inform an ongoing process that includes as our next steps:
• Collaborative discussions among the various property owners, public and private
interests regarding
• Potential redevelopment plan(s)
• Marketing of the property
• Recruitment of developers
• Estimate the financial costs of a settled-upon plan
• Determine public incentives for re-development

The bottom line is, the Mall property is viable in the future only if it changes strategy,
incorporating a different mix of retail, entertainment, office, hotel and mixed-use residential

Friday, October 7, 2016

Autumn Leaf Collection

Beginning Monday, October 17, 2016 through Saturday, December 3, 2016, the City of Elyria leaf collection program will be in operation. Leaves should be raked to the curb in piles or rows as close as possible, but not into the street. No brush, twigs or other material should be mixed with leaves as these items clog the vacuum equipment and slow the collection process.

Approximately eight (8) crews will cover the entire City of Elyria and will concentrate first on areas with more mature trees. Routes will generally follow sanitation routes but the schedule is greatly influenced by weather (rain as well as snow). Due to manpower and weather variations -no set date for collection on a particular street or area is available.

No leaves will be collected after Saturday, December 3, 2016. Residents may dispose of leaves contained in brown paper composting bags at the Elyria Compost Center at 45 Chestnut Street during posted hours of operation.

Please remember these important safety points:
• DO NOT allow children to play in leaf piles near the street/curb
• DO NOT place branches or other debris in the leaf piles. Doing so may result in noncollection of the leaves
• DO NOT park vehicles on or near leaf piles; we encourage residents to use their driveways during leaf and snow season in order to keep roadways clear and accessible Elyria residents, with proof of residency (ie: driver's license or water bill receipt), may bring bagged leaves (and grass clippings) to the City's compost facility located at 45 Chestnut St.

For additional information or questions — please call the Elyria Street Dept. at 440-322-3129 or the Safety Service Director's office at 440-326-1404

All leaves collected are composted and not dumped at the landfill

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Mosquito Bite Protection in Ohio

Below is a document received via the Elyria City Health District concerning a mosquito bite/breeding pamphlet issued by the Ohio Department of Health.

Ohio Dept. of Health Mosquito Bite Protection Information

Friday, April 22, 2016

Town Hall Meeting Minutes Now Available

The Town Hall meeting minutes from last night are now available in the Available Documents section on the right-hand side of this web page.

We had a low turnout for the meeting last night, but some very good information and good questions posed to our participants.  If you have ideas or suggestions for future meeting topics or speakers, please let me know.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ohio Turnpike Construction in Lorain County

Be aware of the construction on the turnpike that is starting.  The following is a report from the Ohio Turnpike Commission about this work:

Lorain County (Elyria Twp. to North Ridgeville) Pavement Replacement

East and westbound Ohio Turnpike customers will encounter a traffic pattern with a contraflow lane reversal and reduced speed limits now through Nov. 11. Crews are removing and replacing the original base pavement in the westbound right and center lanes between mileposts 144.1-149.2 in Lorain County. Westbound customers wishing to exit the Ohio Turnpike at Exit-145 (Lorain-Elyria/SR 57) must use the right-most lane prior to the contraflow work zone to access the toll plaza. Drivers in the left lane will not be able to use the exit because of the concrete barrier.

Start date: April, 2016                   Estimated completion:  Nov. 12, 2016

Saturday, April 9, 2016

4th Ward TOWN HALL MEETING, Apr. 21 at 6:00 p.m., Elyria American Legion

The next semi-annual Town Hall Meeting will be on April 21, starting at 6:00 p.m. at the American Legion in Elyria, located at 393 Ohio Street.  The topic for this meeting will be the new income tax and how plans are shaping up for applying the funds to improve our City.

Please RSVP to Kristen@MarkFCraig.com so that we can get a headcount for refreshments!

See you at the meeting!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Thank you Elyria!

Thanks for your support on Issue 6.  Now it's time to identify our projects and get moving!  The tax becomes effective July 1.  Make sure if you see issues on the streets, such as potholes or guardrails that need repaired, to call them into City Hall so they can get them on the list!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Support Issue 6 for the City of Elyria-despite the Falsehoods

As you know, I have supported the .5% tax increase.  In fact, I think we would have had a much better chance of passing a .25% in the fall, during the mayoral election, but the need is clearly present and the energy and effort has been consistently persistent this winter to explain the need for the new tax.

It is very difficult to pass a tax in Elyria, particularly when people do not trust the administration with regard to how the money will be spent.  Council has tried to make it clear that it, at least, is trustworthy in this regard.  The campaign is made much harder, however, when the Mayor writes a column misrepresenting, once again, key facts about how we got here.  I was instrumental in the passage of a Charter Amendment that prevented the City from reducing the Income Tax Credit without a prior vote of the people.  This prevented City Council from having the ability to reduce the Income Tax Credit and double tax those who work outside of the City without a vote.  The Mayor, however, falsely represented the Charter Amendment as "eliminat[ing] the City of Elyria's ability to tax Elyria residents who work outside the city unlesss the city they work in has a higher tax rate."  False.  There was a separate ballot measure, Issue 14, asking the residents of Elyria to KEEP the reduction that Council had unilaterally put into place earlier that year, the City Income Tax Credit Rollback.  The residents of Elyria voted NO.  The impact of that City Income Tax Credit Rollback to 50% by Council was such that A family earning $75,000 per year outside of the City of Elyria was forced, without any vote, to pay an additional $656 in local income taxes.  It was patently unfair and I led a team to correct the situation.  The Mayor seems to forget the more than 2100 registered voters who signed the petitions to support the Charter Amendment and the hard work of those local residents who circulated the petitions, including her own Safety Service Director, Mary Siwierka.  The Mayor herself announced her support for the Charter Amendment the first time she ran against Bill Grace.  How quickly we forget.  These types of misrepresentations, inaccuracies and shifting positions on issues are exactly why it is difficult to gain any credibility with our residents.  

Despite all of this, I urge residents to vote Yes on Issue 6.  Due to the leadership's absolute failure to make key cuts over the past ten years or to make any significant advances or efforts in economic development, we have lagged behind many of our neighboring communities.  We had already cut out most of our building maintenance and equipment expenditures, except for key safety equipment, when the State of Ohio significantly reduced the money we get back from the State through the Local Government Fund, putting our City into financial crisis mode.  Council promises to spend this money on tangible items that are desperately needed for the City, but also to use a portion to actively market the City so that we can have hope of economic development for the future.  Please invest back into our City with this .5% income tax increase, which is greatly offset by the 6.3% REDUCTION in 2015 from the State of Ohio 2014 rate. (See, State of Ohio Department of Taxation "What's New in 2015," reporting: Tax Rate Reduction. The income tax rate has been reduced by 6.3% compared to the 2014 rates.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Elyria Snow Parking Bans

Whenever, during any period of twenty-four hours or less, snow falls in the City or in a section or sections thereof to a depth of four inches or more, an emergency is declared to exist in that such a heavy snow storm constitutes a serious public hazard, impairing transportation, the movement of food and fuel, supplies, medical care, fire, health and police protection and other vital facilities of the City. Such emergency shall continue until an announcement by the Director of Safety-Service that snow plowing operations have been completed.

When there is a snowfall of over 4" the City of Elyria has parking bans on certain streets:

- 2nd St. between East Ave. and West Ave. 
- East Ave. & Broad St. 
- East Ave. between 4th and 16th St. - Northbound lane, east side of roadway 
- East River St. between Eastern Heights Blvd. and Lincoln St. 
- Garford Ave. between Colgate and Eastern Heights Blvd. 
- Kerstetter Way between Broad and West Ave. 
- Middle Ave. between 3rd and 16th St. 
- Oakdale Circle between Defiance Ave. and South Abbe Rd. 
- Ohio St. between Washington Ave. and Gulf Rd. 
- Park Ave. between Michigan Ave. and Oxford Ave. 
- Ridge St. between East River St. and E. Bridge St. 
- University Avenue between E. River St. and South Abbe Rd. 
- Washington Ave. between Broad and Ohio St. 
- West Ave. between 4th St. and Oberlin Rd. 
- Whitman Blvd. between N. Abbe Rd. and Gulf Rd. 
- Winckles St. between Taylor and Clark St. 

Residents are reminded to remove vehicles as soon as possible during heavy snow events. Vehicles not removed from streets with posted parking ban signs will be subject to ticketing.  

ALL residents are encouraged to remove their cars from their street regardless of restrictions to allow for safe and thorough plowing. The City appreciates your patience as it plows main streets and thoroughfares first and secondary streets afterwards. For current information regarding snow parking bans in effect, please view the City of Elyria website at www.cityofelyria.org.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

ISSUE 6 Tax Increase Campaign Fundraiser

British Invasion Dinner Dance at the Moose Lodge (555 Ternes)
Saturday January 30th 6 to 10 pm
$25.00    Fish and Chips, cole slaw, mac and cheese

Music by the Liverpool Lads, a Beatle cover band

For tickets, contact Dr. Mark Jessie, mark500044035@yahoo.com or 440-322-7766.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone!  This will be a challenging year financially for the City of Elyria, facing the departure of one of our largest employers and the resulting loss of revenue.  Additionally, the City will be asking the residents to pass an income tax increase of .5% in March at the primary election.  The lack of economic development for years within the City of Elyria, coupled with the loss of businesses and the reduction in the Local Government Fund monies from the State of Ohio have led to our expenses far exceeding our revenues.  The City has eliminated most capital expenditures for nearly 10 years and the facilities are in dire need of repair, upkeep and upgrades.  Please carefully consider whether or not you will support this income tax.  Keep in mind that the State of Ohio income tax has decreased by 6-10% over the past few years, making a .5% increase more easy to handle for household income earners.

Best wishes to all for a prosperous and healthy 2016!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Deer-Proofing Your Property (Miller Nature Preserve)


Stroll through the display hosted by Mapleleaf Landscaping.  Learn to create a deer-proof backyard. Display runs from August 22 to October 25.  Miller Nature Preserve 2739 Center Road, Avon, OH 44011.  Lorain County MetroParks Miller Nature Preserve

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

2015 Leaf Pickup Information

It's that time of year again!  Remember, do not put your leaves in the street.  Keep them on the tree lawn or grass area adjacent to the street.  If you put them in the street, it causes the drains to become clogged and the City then is forced to expend additional resources to send out the Vactor truck to clean them out.  If the drainage is impacted, there is an increased chance of flooding and water intrusion into houses in your area, so please be considerate of your neighbors and be mindful of the additional costs to the City, which impacts all of us.

Below is a media release from the City regarding the 2015 Leaf Pickup Program:

Autumn Leaf Collection — City of Elyria
Beginning Monday, October 19, 2015 the City of Elyria leaf collection program will be in operation. Leaves must be raked to the curb in piles or windrows as close as possible, but not into the street. No brush, twigs, or other materials should be mixed with leaves as these items clog the vacuum equipment and slow the collection process.
Crews will cover the entire City and will concentrate first on areas with mature trees. There is no set schedule for collection as weather conditions, equipment and personnel — fluctuate day to day. Due to manpower and other variations (weather, equipment) no set date for collection on a particular street or area is available.
Collection will continue as equipment and personnel permit but may be curtailed at any time due to unforeseen circumstances. The City will make all efforts to collect up until inclement weather arrives.
Residents are encouraged to dispose of leaves at the Elyria City Compost Center, 45 Chestnut Street during their posted houses of operation. This Center is managed by Barnes Nursery and will remain open for this season until Saturday, December 5, 2015.
Please remember these important safety points:
·        Do NOT allow children to play in leaf piles near the street/curb.
·        Do NOT place branches or other debris in the leaf piles. Doing so may result in the non-collection of the leaves
·        DO NOT park vehicles on or near leave piles; we encourage residents to use their driveways during leaf and snow season in order to keep the roadways clear and accessible.
All yard waste materials may be dropped off at no cost by Elyria residents at the City's compost facility at 45 Chestnut Street during their operations hours (see City website).
For additional information or questions, please call the Elyria Street Department at 440-322-3129 or the Safety Service Director's office at 440-326-104.

Leaves collected by crews are composted and not dumped into area landfills.