Minutes of the Avon Historical Society, 9-8-03

President Jack Smith opened the September 8, 2003 meeting of the Avon Historical Society at the Old Town Hall at 7:00 p.m. with 29 members and guests being present.

As a first order of business the president asked the secretary to read the minutes from the last meeting. Following the reading of the minutes upon a motion by Theresa Szippl and second by Ron Larson, the minutes were approved as read.

In the absence of treasurer Barb Wolf, Jean Fischer reported that as a result of our participation at the Bicentennial exhibit our club received $454.83 from the gate receipts which represents a percentage of the time our members participated as workers. We have also received $199.00 in current dues and as of today, the checking account has a balance of $1,184.03. The money market has a balance of $5,926.71. The president asked if there were any outstanding bills to turn over to the treasurer, and there were none.

As the second order of business the president wanted to thank everyone who came to the Bicentennial exhibit and more importantly those who worked there. He stated further that in his opinion it was a spectacular exhibit and our only disappointment was that we had hoped for a bigger attendance.

Regarding our on-going oral history project the president further reported that we have collected some terrific video and audio tapes from some of our more senior citizens here in town. As a reminder we were accomplish this venture through our member John Traxler who brought in other Ford workers with their community service project that enables them to assist 501c3 organizations. It was suggested from the audience that if he has not already been contacted, that George Miller was in town visiting and he would be an excellent person to interview. If you have any other names to suggest please let us now.

Jim Szippl reporting from the step committee stated that as everyone can see this evening the steps have been worked on and straightened but not without some problems being involved. The builder did not want to break anything and so he took special care to do it right. Also Dr. Fischer had pointed out that there was some foundation damage and the builder was careful to repair it using as close a color as possible to the original foundation.

The president then asked Ron Larson to give us an update on the Lewis House. Ron reported that the Lewis House in the Old Avon Village has been completely renovated and has a business operating there. He estimates that the cost of the move and renovation of the structure cost approximately $205,000.00. The interior walls are stone, mortar and wood. There are no nails except where required for safety and support. The shutters have been restored as closely as possible on the outside. Due to the cost of slate being prohibitive, he used a roofing material from Owens Corning that gives the appearance of slate. They also used stone from the Amherst Quarry to match the stones needed.

The Blackwell Barn has been started on the premises and the foundation is in. Ron stated that we as a club are trying to provide a balance of old and new such as the towns of Hudson and Chagrin Falls have accomplished and this is a critical time for all of us to stay involved in what is happening in our community.

The president then called on Jean Fischer of the refreshment committee who stated that a sign-up sheet is being passed around this evening for anyone who would like to volunteer to bring snacks to our meeting.

Pat Furnace of the calling committee stated that she presently has 4 on her committee but right now needs someone to replace Margaret Peak. If anyone is interested in helping out please see Pat after the meeting.

Next reporting as program chairman, Jean Fischer stated that if anyone has any suggestions for the year 2004, she would appreciate your imput. As of right now we have all of our programs set through December's Christmas Party. Carla Wible volunteered to assist Jean on this committee.

The president then stated that we were pleased to have 2 guests with us this evening from the Lorain County Preservation Society who have an interest on the current situation we are dealing with in our town.

George Bliss then took the floor and reported on his ongoing quest to correct the spelling of Nagel Road and that he finally succeeded in getting the tax maps corrected - but he is still working on others.

The president then began a discussion on the main purpose of tonight's meeting - a discussion on the upcoming November election and the Proposed Avon Charter Amendments. He lead a discussion and review of exactly what the Charter Review Commission is presenting to the voters of Avon. Everyone at the meeting received a printed copy of two of the proposed Charter Amendments to follow along.

He stressed that the Landmarks Preservation Commission's main purpose will be to try to preserve our historical homes, churches and other structures throughout the city. For instance if anyone wants to tear down a historical home, etc., they will have to get a demolition permit from the Landmarks Preservation Commission. This will be applied for through the Building Department, and then the permit has to come to the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

All the Commission can do is hold up the demolition for 6 months. It cannot itself stop the demolition. What is the purpose in this? Several reasons: we can advise the owners of alternatives to the demolition such as

1) another use for the building;

2) ways to fix it up - continue to use it as a home;

3) find low interest loans for them to assist them in preserving the structure.

A major purpose of the Landmarks Preservation Commission is to actively assist owners in maintaining their century homes.

Most important of the Proposed Charter Amendments is the preservation of Detroit Road. On June 12, 2002 the URS engineers presented their study and recommended that Detroit Road be enlarged to 5 lanes. The City of Avon accepted this recommendation. That would mean 60 feet of pavement. We think that this recommendation of 5 lanes along Detroit Road is an abomination.

Be reminded that Colorado Avenue is also proposed to have 5 lanes. With the incredible projected housing estimates of 600 new homes in Stonebridge going through the to Moon Road, 195 new homes approved for the corner of Case and Detroit with other projects already approved would bring 1,000 new homes to the west end of Avon. With these new homes approved or about to be approved will bring at least 3,000 people and 2,000 cars into Avon.

We all know that Avon's original country road system cannot handle this kind of traffic. There are approximately 15,000 people in Avon now. At build-out the projected population with the new housing could bring us to from 45,000 to 65,000 people.

Detroit Road's widening to 5 lanes will destroy the setting for many of our century homes, churches and other buildings. Particularly the atmosphere of our town will be lost. That is why we need to have something in the charter stating that any such action of widening Detroit Road to 5 lanes must go to a vote of the people. This must be in the charter.

A question was raised by John Bender as to what we should say to people when they want to hear an alternative to the traffic problem. The president responded that we have no objection to widening Detroit Road to 3 lanes only.

Also, Avon should construct a vehicle access street grid. A vehicle access street would be designed to move cars, with no private driveways, no curbs, no sidewalks, no waterline, gas line, or sanitary sewer line. This kind of street is sometimes called a service road in other communiites.

The bottom line is that, because of the Ohio Supreme Court decision in the case of the City of Beaver Creek, developers can be required to pay their fair share of the cost of building new vehicle access streets. Developers pay nothing if lanes of pavement are added to existing roads.

Dr. Fischer then discussed the paper that was passed out to everyone asking for assistance in contacting people and educating them about these important issues.

As a last note Ron Larson stated that his next project would be to dismantle the George Clifton barn presently on Greg Romes' property. He could certainly use any help in moving this barn to the Old Avon Village.

There being no further business to conduct, upon a motion by Dr. Fischer and seconded by Dan McGhee, the meeting was adjourned.

At our next meeting, Monday, 10-6-83, Herb Rolland will discuss coins and history. Bring your special coins for Herb to evaluate. Also, bring your Avon ghost stories.

Respectfully submitted, Nancy McGhee, Secretary

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