Tuesday, October 23, 2018 Medina 52°
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Main Street Medina announces South Town

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Main Street Medina announced Wednesday plans to enlarge its revitalization district to what is expected to be called South Town, an area outlined by South Broadway Street, Lafayette Road/Street, South Huntington Street and West Smith Road. ED BETZEL / GAZETTE

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MEDINA — The Historic District isn’t expanding, but Main Street Medina’s footprint is.

Main Street announced Wednesday plans to enlarge its revitalization district to what is expected to be called South Town, an area outlined by South Broadway Street, Lafayette Road/Street, South Huntington Street and West Smith Road.

“Main Street’s focus has been the nine-block Historic District,” Executive Director Matt Wiederhold said.

“We’ve talked on and off about expanding the district, increasing programming and membership in Main Street Medina.”

With the recent development plans of the historic Medina Farmers Exchange, located at 320 S. Court St., the recent sale of the former Hawkins Market, at 233 Lafayette Road, to the Medina County Habitat for Humanity, and a 100-percent occupancy rate in the current district in the last three years, Main Street decided the time was right.

“We believe things are falling into place for an expansion of retail and entertainment options in the uptown area,” Wiederhold said.

The Historic District currently ends at Smith Road.

“By expanding our footprint into the South Town area, it will bridge the gap from the Uptown Historic District with the surrounding neighborhoods,” Wiederhold said.

A community stakeholder meeting was held Monday at Mark’s Cleaning Service, 325 S. Elmwood Ave., and was attended by representatives from VCS Salon & Spa, Washington Properties, Kim’s College of Martial Arts, Habitat for Humanity, city of Medina, Main Street Medina, Life’s Treasures Thrift Shop, Beacon Farmer’s Exchange, and Gerspacher Real Estate Group.

A roundtable discussion focused on upcoming redevelopment plans in the area. The Farmers Exchange will include an indoor food vendor market, a full-service restaurant and a butcher shop, as well as 30-some apartments on the upper floors.

Representatives from Medina County Habitat for Humanity told the group that it will be combining its retail and office locations under one roof at Hawkins. During the discussion, the district name of South Town was unofficially adopted to recognize the new district.

“We didn’t know how to describe (the district),” Wiederhold said.

“It’s not a historic district. It is located south of town. It has its own architectural integrity, but it’s different from the square. That area is now part of Main Street Medina.”

He said South Town is trying to recruit some restaurants to its district, as well as possibly a jazz club.

Medina Economic Development Director Kimberly Marshall said the city will consider implementing a Community Revitalization District, which would cover 85 contiguous acres in the current and expanded Main Street district. That would add up to 15 Class D5L liquor permits, which are given to restaurants, to assist with economic development and recruitment of additional full-service restaurants to the district.

Medina Community Development Director Jonathan Mendel said a proposed streetscape improvement plan would include enhanced crosswalks and reproduction historic street lighting for the South Town area.

The improvements will be made with state Transportation Enhancement funds the city secured and may be completed by early 2019.

“We’re just excited about the possibilities the district expansion presents,” Wiederhold said.

“There is so much opportunity for additional development, business recruitment, larger scale restaurants and entertainment venues, and additional parking to serve the entire district. We’ll see bike lanes added, investment in historic properties and a physical improvement to the area.”

Founded in 2007, Main Street officials said the organization has spent the past decade fostering economic development and marketing the Historic District.

In 10 years, thanks to a strong partnership with the city of Medina, Medina County, the Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce, and numerous small businesses and residents, the district has become a vibrant destination.

It attracts more than 100,000 guests annually and generates a $1 million economic impact in the city.

For more information, visit www.mainstreetmedina.com.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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