GENERAL

  1. If we do not open the Mall what happens? What is the alternative?
  2. I like the street closed. Why not keep it closed like it has been?
  3. What other options were explored?
  4. How can I participate and learn more about the project?
  5. Has this already been decided/approved?

FINANCING

  1. How much is this going to cost?
  2. I thought we were going to pay for this with TIGER grant funds. What happened?
  3. How will this project be funded?
  4. Has the city considered applying for grants to off-set the overall project costs?
  5. Are there other examples of city projects that were financed with bonds?
  6. As a resident and a taxpayer, how much is this going to cost me?

BUSINESSES

  1. Will businesses currently on the mall be open during construction and if so, how will I access them?
  2. I have a business that I’d like to locate in the downtown. Who should I contact?
  3. Many of the buildings look rundown. Will they be updated?

CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE

  1. When will construction begin?
  2. How long will construction take?
  3. What is the project schedule?


FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS

  1. Will we still have festivals?
  2. Will there be anyone organizing a Friday night concert series?
  3. Will there be events during construction?
  4. Will there be a Car Cruise In?

MALL AMENITIES

  1. What will happen to the clock tower?
  2. Can I still rent the pavilion, green room, and/or amphitheater?
  3. What will happen to the spray fountain?
  4. If the spray fountain is replaced what will happen to the engraved commemorative bricks that were donated?
  5. What will happen to the fountain at the north end?
  6. Will there be a roundabout at Stow and Front?
  7. Will the ice rink stay?

THE FALLS THEATER

  1. What is happening with the theater?
  2. Will movies be shown in the theater?

LOT 107

  1. Is there going to be a hotel?
  2. When is construction on the hotel going to begin?
  3. When will the hotel open?
  4. Where will hotel guests park?

PARKING

  1. Will there still be free parking?
  2. Will there be on street parking?
  3. Will there be enough parking?
  4. Does the project include any improvements to the decks?

GENERAL

If we do not open the mall what happens? What is the alternative?

If council votes not to re-open the mall to vehicular traffic, repairs to the existing space will still need to be made. Such repairs would include full replacement of the pavers and repairs to the subsurface, as well as repairs or replacement of both fountains and work would need to be completed on all three (3) of the parking decks.

I like the street closed. Why not keep it closed like it has been?

Of the approximately 200 pedestrian malls created during the late 1970's and early 1980's only a handful of them have successfully survived. Banishing cars from the downtowns made it very difficult, if not impossible, for most retail and hospitality venues to survive. Closing the street resulted in higher vacancy rates and far less foot traffic. Many of the successful malls are located in or near college campuses and are typically located in warmer climates.

What other options were explored?

Doing nothing is not an option. The only options are a) leave it a pedestrian mall, but make the necessary repairs or b) return the mall to a two-way street and restore downtown vibrancy.

How can I participate and learn more about the project?

There are a number of ways to participate and learn more about the project:

  1. Attend public meetings
  2. Visit the city’s website and learn the project history as well as updated information
  3. Contact the Community Development department at (330) 971-8135 or development@cityofcf.com
  4. Sign up for email alerts through the Community Development department, Nextdoor, and Facebook
  5. Contact the Ward 4 Council representative Mary Nichols-Rhodes at (330) 928-5347 or Nichols-rhodesmf@cityofcf.com
Has this already been decided/approved?

City council approved design and engineering services for the first 40% of the project. The balance of the project is currently under bid and will require additional approval from council.

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FINANCING

How much is this going to cost?

Preliminary cost estimates are approximately $13 Million. This includes implementation of the entire Downtown Circulation Plan: mall conversion, replacement of both fountains, one way to two way street conversion on Second and South Front Streets and parking deck repairs.

I thought we were going to pay for this with TIGER grant funds. What happened?

Cuyahoga Falls was one of many cities to apply for 2016 TIGER grant funds. The Department of Transportation received 585 eligible applications from all 50 states, several U.S. territories, tribal communities, cities, and towns. These requests totaled more than $9.3 billion and of the 585 applicants, 40 applicants were awarded funds. Of those 40 grant recipients, two-thirds were repeat applicants.

How will this project be funded?

The city will finance this project through the issuance of a general obligation bond (GO). A general obligation bond is a common type of municipal bond that is secured by a local government’s pledge to use legally available resources to repay bond holders. Streets, schools, and public parks are examples of projects that are typically funded with GO bonds.

Has the city considered applying for grants to off-set the overall project costs?

Yes. To date, the city has moved the Downtown Transformation project forward by utilizing Ohio & Erie Canal grant funds, monies and tax credits from the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO), EPA clean up funds, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) dollars for planning and private property improvements.

In 2016, the city applied for federal TIGER grant funds. The TIGER grant was a possible match because it was part of the recovery program and its funds could be used on economic development projects.

Additional grant opportunities were investigated including Ohio Department of Transportation's (ODOT) funding sources CMAQ and Surface Transportation and Alternative Transportation. These grant sources are limited because the pedestrian mall is not categorized as a street.

The city may offer tax abatements for private investment and encourage the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for larger private investment to help pay for public improvements.The public funds used on infrastructure will be leveraged to aggressively seek out historic tax credits for private investment.

Developers and business owners know that Cuyahoga Falls is a great place to invest as long as the city continues to invest in its infrastructure and actively encourages redevelopment. These grants and the city’s public investments are strategic ways to encourage private investment.

Are there other examples of city projects that were financed with bonds?

Yes. The city financed approximately $27 Million to build the Natatorium and approximately $20 Million was spent on the Portage Crossing project.

As a resident and a taxpayer, how much is this going to cost me?

No new taxes or levies will be issued to pay for this project. The city will finance the project using general obligation bonds which will be repaid from the expiration of maturing debt.

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BUSINESSES

Will businesses currently on the mall be open during construction and if so, how will I access them?

Downtown businesses will remain open during construction. City staff will work with business owners and the selected design-build team to ensure pedestrian access is maintained throughout the project.

I have a business that I’d like to locate in the downtown. Who should I contact?

If you are interested in opening a business downtown, please contact Stuart Zall with The Zall Company at szall@zallcompany.com or (303) 804-5656 or the Community Development Department at (330) 971-8135.

Many of the buildings look rundown. Will they be updated?

Yes. In 2017, the city will begin offering a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funded façade improvement program for eligible business owners.

In addition to these funds, city staff will work with property owners or long-term lessees to apply for Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits. The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program provides a state tax credit up to 25 percent of qualified rehabilitation expenditures in order to leverage the private redevelopment of historic buildings. Learn more here.

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CONSTRUCTION SCHEDULE

When will construction begin?

Pending the selection of a design-build team and approval by city council, construction will begin in the spring of 2017 – weather permitting.

How long will construction take?

While there are always unforeseen delays with any large-scale project, the downtown transformation project is scheduled to be completed within one construction season. The majority of the infrastructure will be completed by the end of 2017 with landscaping and finishing work to be completed by the spring of 2018.

What’s the project schedule?

With council approval, construction will begin on the north end of the mall in the spring of 2017, and the majority of the work will be completed before the end of the year. Construction on the south end of the mall, from Portage Trail to Broad Boulevard, will commence late July allowing time for the festivals and Friday night events. Landscaping, furniture, and other mall amenities will be installed in the spring of 2018.

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FESTIVALS & SPECIAL EVENTS

Will we still have festivals?

Yes. With the exception of Oktoberfest, all of the festivals will be held during their regularly scheduled weekends. In 2017, Oktoberfest will be held July 7, 8 and 9th in order to accommodate construction on the south end of the mall.

Will there be anyone organizing a Friday night concert series?

City staff and many members of the Cuyahoga Falls community are partnering to offer Friday night events. Due to anticipated construction on the south end of the mall, there will be four (4) events in addition to the festivals.

Will there be events during construction?

Yes. Construction will be scheduled in the north end of the mall first, leaving the south end of the mall open from the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center to Broad Boulevard.

Will there be a Car Cruise In?

Yes. Don Sitts, the Riverfront Cruise In organizers and city staff are working with St. Joseph’s Church and school to ensure that this beloved event has a home downtown during construction.

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MALL AMENITIES

What will happen to the clock tower?

The clock tower will remain exactly where it is with the road curving off on either side.

Can I still rent the pavilion, green room, and/or amphitheater?

Yes. Rentals will be accepted through May 31st; however, some dates are already booked. For rental information, please call (330) 971-8135.

What will happen to the spray fountain?

As part of the initial design and engineering work already completed, an assessment was completed to determine the overall condition of the spray fountain. The spray fountain was deemed to be at the end of its useful life. Pending council approval of the project, a new spray fountain will be installed in approximately the same location.

If the spray fountain is replaced what will happen to the engraved commemorative bricks that were donated?

Staff members are currently taking inventory of all the commemorative bricks. The inventory will include the names on the bricks as well as document brick size and a photo. During the second phase of the engineering, city staff will work with designers to ensure that the existing engraved bricks will be reused in a comparable manner.

What will happen to the fountain at the north end?

An overall assessment of the north fountain shows that there are water leaks and significant electrical issues. Initial plans included dismantling and storing or moving parts of the north fountain to be reused at a later date. Engineering staff have since determined that the fountain was cast in place and cannot be moved. A replacement fountain will be erected just west of the current one. 

Will there be a roundabout at Stow and Front?

No. The streetscape will be two-way from beginning to end.

Will the ice rink stay?

Yes. The ice rink will remain downtown once construction is completed.

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THE FALLS THEATER

What is happening with the theater?

The theater is currently owned by the Community Improvement Corporation of Cuyahoga Falls (CIC). Plans to redevelop the space into a brew pub are underway, with Coming Attractions LLC serving as the developer. In addition to the potential brew pub, the two retail spaces and apartments will also be renovated as part of the project. State historic tax credits have been awarded to the project.

Will movies be shown in the theater?

Current plans call for the theater to be refurbished in a way that leaves the stage intact, leaving the possibility for live events or movies possible.

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LOT 107

Is there going to be a hotel?

Yes. The Riley Hotel Group has been identified as the hotel operator and plans are currently underway for an eight (8) story, full service boutique hotel with approximately 95 rooms.

When is construction on the hotel going to begin?

Representatives for the hotel believe that construction will begin in the summer of 2017.

When will the hotel open?

Representatives for the hotel have it scheduled to open in the summer 2018.

Where will hotel guests park?

Through an agreement between the city and the developer, 60 - 80 spaces will be leased in the Blue Deck and guests will be offered valet service. Short term on street parking will also be available as a loading zone for guests.

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PARKING

Will there still be free parking?

Yes. Parking in the three city-owned decks will remain free.

Will there be on street parking?

Yes. On street parking will be available throughout the entire downtown area and along South Front Street.

Will there be enough parking?

Yes. The Green, Red and Blue Decks combined provide approximately 661 spaces. In addition to the three (3) parking decks, the current plans call for the addition of approximately 54 new on street parking spaces along Front Street once the pedestrian mall is removed. There will also be 65 additional dedicated on street parking spaces on Front Street, as well as 48 additional dedicated on street parking spaces along Second Street.

Does the project include any improvements to the decks?

Yes. As part of the initial design and engineering work, all three of the decks have been assessed. With city council’s approval, all three decks will be brought up to industry standards, as well as receive lighting and façade improvements.

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