Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Mayor of Elyria Economic Development Report

Below please find Mayor Holly Brinda’s Economic Development report, presented at a community meeting held last night, October 23, 2017, at the Elyria High School Performing Arts Center.  

In Process or Pending Economic Development Initiatives
Elyria Mayor as of October 23, 2017
($2.25 million available through 2020 – Already more than $2.89 million need identified prior to some major project development that will require economic incentives)

Midway Mall Area
Macy’s Redevelopment
There is a request for gap financing and an Enterprise Zone Abatement dependent on current negotiations to bring new business headquarters to the Macys Building.  Due to a confidentiality agreement signed by the Elyria Community Improvement Corporation, the terms of the negotiations cannot be disclosed.  The total project investment by proposed new owner is significant.      

Status:  Negotiations are in process. 
Dilliards Building Possible Donation/Demolition
$1 million is needed (source to be determined) to demolish the Dilliards Building, which must happen because of contaminate mold and other issues, and to make the property re-developable.  The owner has offered to donate the building and associated 18 acres of property to the City of Elyria or the Elyria Community Improvement Corporation for the tax write-off.  There is currently $6,744.56 in back taxes due on the property.  The value in accepting the property would to be for the Elyria Community Improvement Corporation to control it for future development.
Status:  City Council will determine if there is interest in this project.  Legal council is currently determining if there is a way for the ECIC or the City to fund this project – if the City decides with Council’s input that there is value in doing that.  The issue will be presented to Elyria City Council in November.      
Market-Rate Residential Development Contiguous to Midway Mall
$24,000 will be spent of Issue 6 funds to develop the initial design work for a market-rate residential development near Midway Mall.  This will help satisfy recommendations in the recent Jeff Green & Partners Highest Best Use Study and Feasibility Plan that recommended more residential investment in the area.  Elyria City Council will receive a presentation by Carnegie Management, Great Lakes Development Partners and Markovich and Pusti Architects on November 6.   The Mayor would like their input before she proceeds.   

Re-development of Former Mountain Jacks Property
The Elyria Community Improvement Corporation has engaged Coldwell Banker in a 12-month contract to market the former Mountain Jacks property as a combination restaurant and party center to serve the new hotels in the area.  The property is listed at $400,000 and payment for services is dependent on the sale of the property.  If the property is not sold by July 2018, the City plans to issue an RFP to design the project to assist in the development process.  This is not being done initially because it is believed there is already interest in the project.  The ultimate project will likely require economic incentives from the City of the Elyria Community improvement Corporation. 
Development of New Former 49th Street Bridge Property
An estimated $30,000 of issue 6 funds will be spent with O.R. Colan on a study being commissioned this month to determine the value of property acquired by the City from the SR57/49th Street Bridge reconfiguration. The City received clearance in late September from ODOT to develop the properties on the east side of the SR57/49th Street Bridge highway reconfiguration project.  This includes 12 excess properties located east of SR57, west of Tillotson Street, north of Midway Boulevard and south of Griswold Road.  A request for clearance to develop acreage on the west side has been made and a decision is pending.  Once the study is complete, the Mayor will be recommending that the property be transferred into the Elyria Community Improvement Corporation and an RFP be issued for the development of the property.  Funds generated by the sale of the property can help fuel the future endeavors of the CIC.         

Downtown Elyria
Conversion of Washington Avenue Parking Lot to Mixed-Use Development
$24,000 of Issue 6 funds will be spent to develop a downtown mixed-use project that would house a restaurant, higher-end apartments, and some retail and office space.  It would include ground-level and possibly under- ground parking.  The project is a five-story building to be located on the current city-owned Washington Avenue Parking Lot.   It would capitalize on the view of the East Falls and the Black River.  It is in response to the JumpStart Elyria study that recommended access to more apartment housing.  Elyria City Council will receive a presentation by Carnegie Management, Great Lakes Development Partners and Markovich and Pusti Architects on November 6.   The Mayor would like their input before she proceeds.  
Kimberly Plaza on the Square
$15,000 will be spent on improvements to accommodate a new business in Kimberly Plaza, the former Men’s Shop, that was accepted by the Elyria Community Improvement Corporation as a donation.   While the building is in excellent shape, there were physical accommodations that need to be made to accommodate the new business - $10,000 for wall reconfiguration and $5,000 to replace the air conditioning unit.
Status:  The law department and the ECIC legal counsel are deciding on the source and flow of the funds to accomplish this. 
Other Pending Downtown Projects
There are currently an estimated $18 million of public and private economic development projects – not involving Issue 6 funds - either recently completed or in the process in downtown.  Two federal grants are being used to improve lighting, streetscapes, crosswalks, bike lanes, pedestrian walkways and signage.  Federal, state and local revenue are responsible for improvements to Middle Avenue, Third Street, East Avenue, and part of West Avenue.  Pioneer Plaza and the Elyria Arts Council were created with the support of two State Appropriations.  Other projects include the courthouse rehabilitation, McDonalds,  a new law office, and more.  Three investors have purchased and are in various processes of renovating eight of downtown’s most challenged buildings.  Meetings have been held with several downtown businesses encouraging them to apply for either CDBG or ECIC revolving loan fund money to make improvements to their buildings.  We are waiting for them to apply.  The City has also requested that McDonalds Corporation donate the vacated property on Broad Street to the Elyria Community Improvement Corporation for re-development.    
Chestnut Commons Area Development & Traffic Reconfiguration
The City of Elyria is, and has been, working with a developer, the county and contiguous communities at the intersection of SR57 and Chestnut Ridge to address both traffic and future development concerns, issues and opportunities.  A traffic study was completed and the City is waiting to see if an annexation request initiated by the developer with support from the city is awarded by the county so the city can “right size” the appropriate traffic reconfiguration and infrastructure response.  Waiting until we understand the full scope of the development is important as the traffic and infrastructure response will be expensive: in the range of $5-$6 million.  The City of Elyria is committed to ultimately resolving the traffic issues in the area and working with the developer, the county and Eaton Township to create the best possible case scenario for the inevitable development that is likely to expand to I480. 

Economic Development Technology & Support Projects

City Website Re-design
$28,500 of Issue 6 funds is currently being spent on a redesign of the city website and one year of service.  The company commissioned is called Revize and is working with the Mayor’s Office and the IT Department on the project that is scheduled to be completed in April 2018.  All departments and City Council will be invited to provide input related to their respective areas.  An additional $5,400 annual maintenance annual contract will be available at the end of the second year.  

Economic Development Software
$4,550 of Issue 6 funds was spent on Xcelligent Software, a tool used by the City to provide commercial property seekers with detailed information about available properties in the city.    

 $12,000 of Issue 6 funds will be spent in April 2018 on the purchase of 12 modules of a proprietary economic development software tool that will help the city and potential buyers and developers: (1) Review the Business Climate; (2) Discovery Industry Trends; (3) Research Their Customers; (4) Analyze Competition; (5) Uncover Local Opportunities; (6) Search Available Properties; (7) Find Additional Resources; (8) Identify Land Use/Zoning Controls; (9) Examine the Environment; (10) Evaluate the Workforce); (11) Identify Community Facilities;  (12 Locate Utilities).   These modules will be added as part of the new website. 
Economic Development Director Search
In the range of $85,000 or more of Issue 6 funds will have to be spent on hiring a new Economic Development Director for the City of Elyria.  The City is currently on its second search process in 12 months.  An offer in the initial search was made and declined because of what was perceived as a low salary for this position.  The second search will conclude in November.   The Mayor is currently taking on the majority of these responsibilities, with some support assistance from Community Development.  
Economic & Workforce Development

“Elyria Works Now” Workforce Development Initiative
$1 million (source to be determined) will be needed to take this project to scale for three years.  Over the past two months the Mayor has been working with 15 community partner organizations to develop a Bloomberg Foundation Mayor’s Challenge Project to address the city’s most pressing issue.  The diverse group of community leaders chose to develop the project below.  It will be implemented to some degree in 2018, pending a grant approval process in January 2018.  The Bloomberg Foundation will award (35) $100,000 grants, five $1 million grants later in the year, and one $5 million grant.  To pilot the project will cost about $100,000 and to take it to the required scale would take about $1 million over three years. The group is committed to moving this project forward at some level regardless of the grant award by leveraging other funds.
Elyria will lower its 22.2% poverty rate by 5% and close the employment gap between companies facing labor shortages and residents who are underemployed or actively seeking work. We will accomplish this by creating Elyria Works Now, a new collaboration of industry, education, government, non-profit, for-profit, and faith-based stakeholders that will provide connectivity, support, education, training and access to higher paying jobs.  Pilot Employers will commit to employment goals, “screen-in” and family-friendly policies, and working with community partners to integrate wrap-around services responding to Individual Development and Career Plans.
Target populations include graduating and recently graduated high school seniors without career paths (estimated 160) and under-employed adult residents (estimated 1085 of 11,821 residents living in poverty) or those actively seeking work (2,237).  In the Pilot, 100 entry-level, fulltime, living wage manufacturing positions with healthcare benefits will be filled.  Upon implementation 1,100 positions will be filled.  The Pilot will determine if other industry sectors should be added.  Currently Indeed lists 1,600 open manufacturing jobs among Elyria’s 80 manufacturers. Of 18 manufacturers responding to a survey, 16 report difficulty filling positions, with 73 entry-level, and 84 skilled positions open.
Strategies include defining the delivery model, creating the curriculum with Individual Development and Career Plans and committing Pilot Employers; committing partners to recruit applicants through referral channels and career stations and deliver training and services; creating demand through a multi-media marketing campaign and an Elyria Works Now Web Portal; evaluating the program annually; and developing resources through grants and membership fees.
Elyria Company Expansion Projects
The City of Elyria is currently in negotiations with three major companies for expansion assistance (sources to be determined) in the form of abatements and other incentives.  More information will be made available to Elyria City Council and the public as the processes procced. 


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Elyria Fall Leaf Collection Includes Free Leaf Raking By Students for Residents In Need

The City of Elyria FALL 2017 LEAF COLLECTION PROGRAM will run from Monday, October 16 through Tuesday, November 28. Leaves should be raked to the curb in piles, but not in the street.  No brush, twigs, or other materials should be mixed with the leaves, as these items may cause safety hazards and will clog the vacuum equipment, slowing the collection process.

A special service will be provided this year. If you are a senior citizen unable to rake your leaves because of an illness or physical disability you are eligible to sign up for FREE LEAF RAKING SERVICE by calling the Mayor’s Office at 326-1420 by November 1. This service is being made possible through the generosity of student volunteers from Elyria High School and Elyria Catholic High School.  It was the brain-child of Keenan Williams, assistant manager of the Elyria Street Department.  Mr. Williams has been working with the schools to coordinate the effort.  The first 100 citizens to sign up will be eligible for the service.

“The City is very proud of Mr. Williams and the many students and school personnel who have been involved in coordinating this effort,” said Mayor Holly Brinda.   “I am sure it will be appreciated by a number of our citizens.”  Mayor Brinda said the students will be providing leaf raking service November 13 – November 22, when most of the leaves have fallen.

As for the community-wide leaf collection October 16 – November 28, 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.  We ask for your patience and understanding.  Regardless of the weather, no leaves will be collected after November 28.  Any leaves remaining on the curb lawn after November 28 must be bagged (brown bags only) and left with the weekly trash pick-up.  FREE brown compost bags are available at the Mayor’s Office or the Public Utilities Office, 131 Court Street.

Residents are encouraged to dispose of their leaves at the Elyria Compost Center, 45 Chestnut Street. The Center is managed by Barnes Nursery.  Details regarding their hours of operation and services can be found on the City’s website under the Sanitation Department at www.cityofelyria.org. Leaves collected by crews are composted and not dumped into area landfills.

Please remember these important safety tips:
  • Do not allow children to play in the leaves near the street or curb;
  • Do not place braches or other debris in the leaf piles – doing so may result in the non-collection of leaves;
  • Do not park vehicles on or near leave piles.
For additional information or questions, please call the Elyria Street Department at (440) 322-3129 of the Safety Service Director’s Office at (440) 326-1420.