Newton Falls looks to boost economic development on Route 5

NEWTON FALLS — Hotels, condos, a shopping center, restaurants and an industrial park are among the ideas being proposed for future development along state Route 5.

David DeChristofaro, a private engineering consultant who was hired by the village at $15,000 to create plans for economic development along the Route 5 corridor, spoke with village and township officials at a special village council meeting Monday on some of the possible ideas for available land along the heavily traveled route.

He said he has been able to prepare ideas and preliminary plans for specific locations along the route and how they can best be developed.

“There is the potential for development in this area. The village has utilities to extend out to Route 5, which is critical. Water and sewer can be brought to the area and can be easily extended west. There is highway access with Route 5 and the turnpike interchange at Interstate 80. There is the potential for a missile defense facility,” DeChristofaro said.

He said with future annexation, the village could have more land for development in the corridor.

DeChristofaro said a key to development is to bring more people to the area, which shopping centers and recreational centers will do.

“The number will grow substantially when this corridor is developed,” he said.

DeChristofaro said challenges for the area include the flood plain from the Mahoning River and wetlands, which are a concern because of the elevation.

DeChristofaro said what is next is to pursue opportunities for uses from the existing demographics of the area, like having destination sites such as major hotel chains with recreation and entertainment, national restaurant chains, sporting good stores, banks and shopping centers. There could also be areas for factory outlets and industrial parks as well as a medical center and urgent care.

“This area could fit all of these uses. It is up to you to make the effort to make something happen. It is important to promote the area and develop the corridor,” he said.

Proposed recommendations for land use include:

• A national drug store chain, restaurants and small villas and condos for the southeast corner of Routes 5 and 534 on the farthest west corner of the Route 5 corridor;

• A national hotel chain with entertainment and a recreational facility, a retail and service plaza and a sporting goods store for the area west of the interchange and on the north side of Route 5 ;

• A factory outlet and hotel facilities for the area east of the interchange and north of Route 5;

• An industrial park and truck stop for the area south of Route 5 and Ravenna Warren Road .

“This is very exciting. We are halfway between Cleveland and Pittsburgh and this area could see major development,” said 4th Ward Councilman Phillip Beer.

Village manager David Lynch said council will be asked to act May 20 on another piece of legislation for DeChristofaro’s services to move forward with the second phase of the project.

Mayor Lyle Waddell, who said he is completing classes to become a certified economic development planner, said, “These plans are a step in the right direction. We can look at taking additional steps to put the plans in place.”

Waddell said additional land through annexation would be needed for more development in the future.

Resident David Hanson said he likes how the plans help keep “the small hometown feel of Newton Falls” with people coming to the area also stopping in the village’s downtown.

Hanson noted additional tax revenue would benefit the police and fire departments and the schools.