It’s a central gathering space — where families go for homecoming festivities and fireworks, where baseball games, tennis matches and playground fun take place. It’s home of the food bank, safety town, library, historical society and recreation center. And importantly, the city’s heart and core is one of the busiest areas in Cuyahoga County.
Already, $66 million in improvements to Town Center have elevated the 81.75-acre space at the intersection of State Route 82 and Pearl Road. For years, Strongsville has solicited residents and the business community, asking for ideas and input for how to improve the space.
The groundwork began in 2009 and continued with the city’s master plan in 2019, followed by the Strongsville Wayfinding Analysis Report, a NOACA redevelopment plan and walkable community workshop report.
“We’ve been studying Town Center for a long time to focus on ways to redevelop it,” acknowledges Brent Painter, director of economic development for Strongsville.
Mayor Tom Perciak adds, “The Strongsville Town Center has been studied closely by my administration and the region’s planning professionals throughout the past decade. Each one of the studies has included public input and examined best practices from across the region.”
The Strongsville Town Center Enhancement and Walkability Initiative will fulfill the primary goals of improving connectivity and pedestrian access. Perciak adds, “One of the most important goals of the project is to create a community gathering space for Strongsville families with amenities that enhance the quality of life within our community.”
Connecting the Community
Water features and play spaces were among the top priorities that residents mentioned in the city’s 2021 community amenities survey. The Town Center project will include these attractions and much more. That includes a new community pavilion with a potential band shell, new ADA-compliant playground, splash pad, expanded green space, recreational areas and a community gathering space for civic events.
As for accessibility and connectivity, the project involves upgrades and improvements to Town Center’s existing walkways and trails, including the Freedom Trail. Also, the city will complete the trailhead north of the Strongsville Recreation Center’s walkway to flow into the backyard preserve and hiking trails.
Improved pedestrian safety will be accomplished with new connects in the staging area for food trucks, farmers markets and other events. Along with this comes wayfinding signage to better identify Town Center’s amenities.
These Town Center priorities were identified in the four reports. For example, NOACA noted that traffic congestion and lack of safe crossings and sidewalks has prompted middle school students to be driven by their parents vs. walking a short distance. Recommendations included increasing pedestrian crossing times, painting high-visibility crosswalks and installing bicycle lanes on Royalton Road.
The multi-million dollar project addresses these concerns. Plus, the three-way stop at Westwood, Zverina and Roe lanes will be transformed into a roundabout with new walkways and a parking lot next to the Strongsville Food Bank.
“This is a true gathering place for the community, and the project will really benefit the quality of life for residents and local businesses,” Painter says.
Advancing the Economy
To help fund improvements, the city has sought grant assistance through programs from the federal, state and county governments, along with regional nonprofits that support community projects. The city is also accepting donations from civic groups and businesses.
“We are working closely with our partners at Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio to obtain grant funding that will help pay for the project,” Perciak says. “We have also created a fundraising committee, chaired by Mike Catan, that is working with local businesses and civic groups for project donations.”
The city’s strong economic base supports large-scale projects like Town Center, Painter adds. “Economic development ties in closely with our Town Center initiative, because part of funding the project comes from income tax collection, and if we did not have the robust economic development base, we would not be able to afford significant redevelopment projects,” he says. “And having those projects supports economic development by creating a better quality of life that helps attract talent.”
Town Center Deconstructed:
Here’s a look at the amenities and improvements that the Strongsville Town Center Enhancements and Walkability Initiative will include:
- Interactive fountain and splash pad: Numerous fountains to entertain the younger set will also be accessible and ADA-compliant. In winter, the space could be converted to an outdoor ice rink.
- Community pavilion and meeting space: A comprehensive and covered pavilion area will serve residents and the business community, doubling as a comfortable outdoor space for meetings.
- Playground: Roughly 12,350 square feet of new playground space will be ADA-compliant to accommodate all children who want to explore the amenities.
- Green space: A central commons will accommodate food trucks, farmers markets, outdoor movies and other community events.
- Trails: Extending existing walkways like the Freedom Trail and completing a trailhead north of the Recreation & Senior Center walkway will provide better access to the Strongsville Backyard Preserve that features amphitheater seating.
- Roundabout: A three-way stop at Westwood, Zverina and Roe lanes will be transformed into a roundabout with new walkways and a parking lot next to the Strongsville Food Bank.
- Extras: Outdoor recreation, including new pickleball courts and sand volleyball.