On the Issues

Many communities have formed Community Improvement Corporations (CICs) and they are used to facilitate economic redevelopment within the municipality. For example, Westlake has been successfully using its CIC since 1975 to develop many of the thriving retail areas within the city. CICs allow the hosting city to better direct economic development versus just trusting developers to create the vision the city has for a certain area. The TCIC was established, under the direction of the Ohio Revised Code, to allow Twinsburg to creatively work with developers in the revitalization of our downtown area. All TCIC meetings have involved the potential selection of a development partner to carry out the vision for the downtown area set forth in Twinsburg’s Comprehensive Plan. TCIC is a 501(c)(3) and must report all of its financial activity on an annual basis on IRS form 990, which is open to the public to view. The TCIC has no employees and all of the Board members are serving voluntarily. I am the Vice Chair and a proponent of the TCIC. I have worked with other CICs and have seen the positive impact they have on the community and the initiation of economic development within the city. As mayor of Twinsburg, I will work alongside the TCIC to advance and guide the resurgence of downtown Twinsburg.
We need to continue to stay focused on keeping expenses in line while not jeopardizing city services and the quality of life for our residents. As we move closer toward a project start date, I will be organizing town hall meetings to gather resident feedback on the proposed redevelopment. I envision an area that has a pedestrian friendly, walkable footprint that can host family oriented city events. A revitalized downtown area is would help keep Twinsburg as one of the top cities in Ohio.
The redevelopment of the square and surrounding downtown area would be funded and owned by a private developer. The city would not be using taxpayer dollars for the project. Any property that is owned by the city or the Twinsburg Community Improvement Corporation (TCIC) that becomes part of the redevelopment would be negotiated and sold to the eventual developer. The TCIC has had discussions with several developers that have interest in the project and there is hope that one will be selected soon.
The TCIC is currently negotiating options on the properties in the southeast quadrant of the square. Once the options are secure the TCIC can market the project to a potential developer or developers (one could focus on the retail component and one on the residential component or one developer could develop both). The TCIC would then negotiate a development agreement with the developer(s) that governs the ultimate site plan and potential mix of retail, office and residential uses. The developer would then be responsible for final acquisition of the properties that would become part of the project. The developer would need to submit the plans for the project through all the City’s administrative processes (Planning Commission, Architect Review Board and Building Department).
The heart of Twinsburg’s small town feel starts with the square and its surrounding business district. Part of the appeal of towns like Hudson and Chagrin Falls is the walkability of the retail businesses and restaurants. Chagrin Falls has connectivity to nature and Hudson has open green space and both downtowns areas are easily accessible by residents. In comparison, Twinsburg lacks an identifiable downtown area that will attract businesses and restaurants. Twinsburg’s residential areas have no pedestrian or bike friendly way to access the downtown area. The redevelopment of Hudson used a western reserve or neoclassical style architecture and the result is a vibrant, walkable downtown area that retained its small town feel.

The initial goal of the Twinsburg Community Improvement Corporation (TCIC) is to redevelop the southeast quadrant of the downtown area. That project would promote a 50/50 division between residential (townhomes along Tinker’s Creek) and small businesses and restaurants. The ultimate goal would be to have a main street connecting Rt. 82 and Creekside. In my opinion, this redevelopment would preserve the heritage and small town feel of Twinsburg and encourage reinvestment in the buildings around the square and create a thriving retail district that can retain locally owned businesses. In addition, I will be promoting the connectivity of our vast trail system in the northern part of town to the downtown area. I believe this project will economically benefit Twinsburg, create multiple venues for family and city-wide events and enhance our ability to attract and retain businesses. As this project develops, I will be promoting town hall meetings to assist the city in gathering resident feedback and comments. Twinsburg has always been a town that embraces its heritage while looking towards the future and adapting to change and growth. My plans as Mayor would align with that goal; to preserve Twinsburg’s heritage and keep the small town feel alive.