6-11-03 Cleveland Clinic eyes Avon area for new facility
6-26-03 Building Nothing is an interchange option
7-17-03 Commuter Rail Now?
9-25-03 Westlake officials want 5 lanes on Detroit Road
LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Press, 6-11-03, By George Bliss
How can we even think of an interchange east of Nagel Road or even at Nagel Road without having an east/west access into Cuyahoga County? It does not make any sense to have Detroit Road/Nagel Road as the only access to this proprosed interchange. It will also increase Westlake's Detroit Road traffic in the developing Bradley Road area.
However, making a connection from Chester Road [Just Imagine] to Clemens Road could alleviate the need for this interchange for years to come. Go over Westlake's head. NOACA? ODOT?
George O. Bliss, Avon
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 6-11-03, By JENNIFER HICKIN, Morning Journal Writer
``Cleveland Clinic eyes Avon area for new facility
AVON -- The Cleveland Clinic is interested in locating some kind of medical facility in Avon, but Clinic sources indicated it would not be a full-service hospital ...
Jack Kilroy, council at-large, said he thought the Clinic proposal was being brought up now to coincide with a proposal for a new interchange on Interstate 90.
''I think it's timed to a vote on the interchange,'' said Kilroy, adding he thinks the Clinic proposal is going to be the ''club to beat anyone down who is opposed'' to the interchange ...
Although many in the city administration, council and planning commission knew about it, the Clinic proposal has never been discussed publicly ...
In the past, property near SR 83 and Chester Road was being considered by the Clinic, according to a source.
''I would say yes,'' said [Council member JoAnne] Easterday when asked if she thought the Clinic proposal was being pushed at this time to help the interchange proposal ...
While confirming that the company owns property on Nagel and Chester roads under the name of JS Avon North LLC, a representative of The Richard E. Jacobs Group Inc. said he had ''no comment'' on whether the company had been approached by the Cleveland Clinic about selling its property. There is ''nothing we can share'' about plans for developing the Avon property, said Jim Eppele.
He said it has not been decided whether a representative of the company will be attending Monday's council meeting [6-16-03] ...
NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 6-12-03, By Adrian Burns
``AVON -- In a statement Wednesday [6-11-03], the Cleveland Clinic confirmed its interest in building a medical facility in Avon ...
"Different people within the city have said that approving the interchange would be critical to the Cleveland Clinic coming to build here," said Jack Kilroy, an At-large councilman.
Kilroy said he welcomes a medical facility in Avon, both for its provision of health care, and for the economic benefits it would bring to the city. However, Kilroy said that the facility and the interchange shouldn't rely on each other.
"I don't think the Council should be subject to blackmail, where if we don't approve the interchange then the hospital won't come," Kilroy said.
JoAnne Easterday, an At-large councilwoman, said it is important to explore the interchange's relation to the Cleveland Clinic's willingness to build.
"The question should be asked if their coming is contingent on the interchange," Easterday said.''
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 6-17-03, By JENNIFER HICKIN , Morning Journal Writer
``Clinic 'eager to come' to Avon
AVON -- The Cleveland Clinic wants to build a 125,000-square-foot health facility specializing in primary care and internal medicine on Nagel Road to replace its Westlake facility, according to Clinic representatives.
If built, the facility would be home to approximately 80 physicians and about 350 support staff, said Dr. Floyd Loop, the Clinic's chief executive officer, during a City Council work session last night [6-16-03] ...
Dr. David Bronson, chairman of regional medical practice of the Clinic, said having a new interchange on Interstate 90 was ''critical.''
Asked how council could assist the Clinic with its proposal, Loop replied, ''you can use your influence to have an interchange.''
Although he said it would take the Clinic less than two years to build a facility, when asked what timeframe the Clinic is looking at, Loop said, ''Well, it takes a while to build an interchange.''
Not having an interchange ''makes it much harder'' to go forward with the project, according to Bronson. ''It would make us look at viability.''
The Clinic has an ''agreement in principle contingent on an interchange'' with the Richard E. Jacobs Group Inc., according to Bronson.
The Jacobs Group owns property on Nagel and Chester roads under the name of JS Avon North LLC.
Before council is a plan that puts an I-90 interchange somewhere at least 600 feet and no more than 900 feet east of Nagel Road. If built, the interchange would be connected on the south to Avon Road and then eventually to a street yet to be built and to the north it would connect to Just Imagine Drive.
A joint meeting of council and the planning commission with representatives of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and the Ohio Department of Transportation is planned for June 25  to address concerns and questions about the interchange.
If the proposal moves forward, the Clinic would not be requesting a tax abatement because it is a non-profit organization, according to Loop, and instead would request not to have to pay property taxes ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 11-4-05, by Joan Mazzolini, Plain Dealer Reporter
[Cleveland Clinic must pay real estate taxes]
``Beachwood facility is not a charity, commissioner says
BEACHWOOD -- The Cleveland Clinic's medical office building in Beachwood treats few poor people, if any at all, meaning it isn't a charitable facility and must pay property taxes, the state tax commissioner says.
The decision could cost the Clinic $2.7 million in taxes, penalties and interest. Beachwood schools would get $1.8 million, with the rest going to the city and Cuyahoga County.
If the decision stands up to appeals, it could cost the Clinic millions of dollars more. Other suburban school districts, including Willoughby-Eastlake, Westlake, Solon and Independence, also have challenged the Clinic's attempts to get -- or keep -- property classified as tax-exempt.
"I would hope they would just pay their taxes and call it a day," said Michele Mills, treasurer of Beachwood schools. "It would be nice for the children of our state. I don't know what happened to corporate citizenship and responsibility."
The Clinic said in a written statement that it would appeal the commissioner's decision on its expansive Cedar Road medical complex ...
The Clinic's position is that the medical office building is exempt from property taxes because it is owned by the nonprofit hospital and that medical education and research is conducted there.
But the tax commissioner didn't buy that argument.
"Property used as physicians' offices is not a charitable use of property and such property is not entitled to exemption," says the ruling, released this week.
Beachwood schools took the lead in challenging the Clinic's request for its medical offices to be exempted from property taxes and alerted other school districts to join the fight ...
Mills wishes the other districts success. She said she never wavered in her belief that the medical office building in her district was not providing charity care.
She said she was grateful Ohio Tax Commissioner William Wilkins agreed with the district's position, stating in his decision, "There is minimal, if any, charitable care at the Beachwood facility."
"The patient population at the facility is comprised of persons from the surrounding affluent area who pay their medical billings in full, either personally or via insurance," Wilkins wrote ...
The Clinic has until early January  to appeal the tax commissioner's decision to the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals.''
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 6-17-03, By Meghan Moravcik
``New I-90 interchange key to Cleveland Clinic's proposal
AVON -- Representatives from The Cleveland Clinic told Council on Monday they want to build a primary care facility in Avon as long as a recently proposed Interstate 90 interchange is built.
The Clinic wants to relocate its Westlake operations to Avon, said David Bronson, clinic chairman of regional medical practice.
The facility in Westlake, which was built in 1995, is becoming increasingly cramped and would be sold, Bronson said ...
At-large Councilman Jack Kilroy ... has said previously that the Cleveland Clinic's plan for a new facility in Avon should not be reliant on the proposed interchange.
"I don't think the Council should be subject to blackmail, where if we don't approve the interchange then the (facility) won't come," Kilroy said.
Bronson said further plans on the purchase of the land for the facility will not go forward until the interchange plans have been solidified ...''
[Is the proposed Clinic office a 'loss leader'? By Avon ordinance and market reality, big box stores must have access within 1/2 mile of an I-90 interchange. Industrial land near I-90 is selling for $25,000 to $50,000 per acre. Big box store land is selling for $100,000 to $200,000 per acre.]
NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer. 6-17-03, By James F. McCarty, Plain Dealer Reporter
``Court allows St. John West Shore to ban Clinic doctors
The rivalry between the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals intensified yesterday with a judge's decision that allows St. John West Shore Hospital to bar 10 Clinic-affiliated doctors from its staff.
The doctors last year sued St. John in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court after they were denied staff credentials to see patients at the Westlake hospital.
Half of St. John is owned by University Hospitals Health System. All the doctors who filed the lawsuit are primary-care physicians at the Clinic's Westlake Family Health Center - a UHHS competitor.
In the fierce competition between the mega-health care com panies, St. John was authorized to deny staff credentials to the 10 doctors, "whose business interests conflict with those of St. John," Judge Daniel Gaul wrote in a 32-page opinion.
Nor did St. John discriminate against the doctors solely because they work for the Clinic, Gaul wrote. He cited examples where the Cleveland Clinic failed to provide reciprocal privileges to non-Clinic doctors, and called the decision to oust the doctors "a reasonable means of protecting St. John's continued viability on Cleveland's West Side."
Mary Morrison, head of the partnership that runs St. John West Shore, said the company obviously was pleased with Gaul's ruling ...
A phone call to attorney Frederick Nance, who represented the 10 doctors and the Cleveland Clinic, was not returned ...
Also, Gaul said, of the 200,000 patient visits a year to the Clinic's Westlake Family Health Center, more than 84 percent of the doctors' referrals went to specialists at Cleveland Clinic hospitals. Only 1 percent were made to doctors at St. John West Shore Hospital, despite its proximity ...''
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer. 6-29-03, By Diane Solov, Plain Dealer Reporter
``Clinic-UH skirmish moves to west side
When top officials of the Cleveland Clinic demanded to know how often its west suburban doctors used a competing hospital in Westlake, managers produced numbers to prove their loyalty.
Clinic doctors at the Westlake Family Health Center use St. John West Shore Hospital "only when the ambulances bring the patients there," said one memo to Dr. Floyd Loop, chief of the Cleveland Clinic, and other officials. "I hope this data will put this issue to rest."
Even ambulance patients were not readily surrendered to St. John. For a brief period, Clinic doctors posted signs in their office waiting rooms urging patients to ask ambulance drivers to whisk them in an emergency to Fairview or Lakewood hospitals, both controlled by the Clinic ...
Records document the Clinic's success in using its Westlake health center to gain a steel grip on referrals to Clinic specialists and hospitals.
Clinic-employed doctors sign one-year contracts obligating them to follow Clinic policies, including using Clinic hospitals for all referrals when possible. Internal documents show the Clinic tracks Westlake physicians' referrals to Clinic hospitals and to west-side subspecialists, using monthly scorecards to tally them.
"We averaged more than 300 referrals" per month for a total of 4,281 referrals in 2000, Dr. David Bronson, chairman of the Clinic's regional medical practice, told Loop in one memo ...
The Cleveland health care market is highly concentrated, according to the federal government's yardstick for measuring competition. With few choices for physicians, hospitals gain the upper hand in business relations with doctors, yet the hospitals need doctors to put patients in their beds.
As competition and financial pressures heat up, hospitals across the country are asserting their leverage over physicians. Besides yielding referrals, the tight alliances pay dividends when hospital systems bundle physician and hospital services to negotiate better prices from health plans, said Devers, who tracks trends in hospital-physician relations.
In Cleveland, competition has reached the boiling point. With little population growth in Northeast Ohio, hospitals vie for the same patients. Both hospital systems face financial pressure to fill the medical facilities they built in the expansionary late 1990s. And both have lost the cushion of bloated stock market profits to see them through operating shortfalls ...
In 1999, the Clinic stepped up efforts to improve communications with specialists, support Lakewood and Fairview hospitals and blunt the impact of a new outpatient center that UH opened in Westlake, according to an initiative cited in court papers.
The Clinic captured 94 percent of its Westlake doctors' charges for medical services at Fairview and Lakewood hospitals and 96 percent of surgeries, a May 2001 memo from Bronson to Loop shows.
A March 2001 memo tallies the fees its Westlake doctors charged patients in west-side hospitals during 2000: $2.4 million at Lakewood Hospital, $2.2 million at Fairview and $405,388 at St. John. Hospital charges, which are on top of the doctors' fees, are up to five times as much, court records show.
"As you can see, the vast majority of our clinical activity is at (Cleveland Clinic Health System) hospitals," Bronson's memo said ...
Court records show UH tracked patient transfers by Clinic-employed doctors at St. John to non-UH facilities. When UH stripped the Clinic doctors' privileges, the hospital system denied them the ability to snare patients by saying they are on the staff at St. John, and then referring them to Clinic facilities for further treatment.
What's less clear is why the Clinic sued to preserve privileges at a hospital it told its physicians to avoid.
When the doctors filed the suit, Bronson told The Plain Dealer that the Clinic had a lot of doctors who use St. John because patients prefer it ...''
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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 7-23-03, By Julie A. Short
[Building Nothing is an interchange option]
``AVON -- At the recommendation of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency (NOACA) and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), council members voted to forge ahead with a feasibility study to determine where or if an interchange is warranted at I-90.
"What I heard is there needs to be two studies," Councilman Jack Kilroy said. "Who is going to pay for it?"
According to Mayor Jim Smith, there are two studies -- a justification and feasibility -- that will be wrapped up into one study.
"That's why the cost is where it's at," Smith said. "It is many studies within a study. The next step would be to go the finance committee to see how we are going to pay for it. My suggestion is private funding."
Cost estimates for a study are $50,000-$150,000.
Before the unanimous vote was cast on the feasibility study issue, council members first had to take care of old business regarding the interchange ... Legislation was up for a vote designating an interchange location. Smith suggested to council members that they amend the ordinance regarding the location of the interchange. "You could amend it to read 83 to the county line, not listing a specific spot," he said.
The suggestion did not sit well with Councilman Gerald Gentz.
"If the city is going to do a feasibility study, I don't understand the need for this ordinance," he said.
Council President Tom Wearsch explained that the intent of the ordinance is to protect the area. "I feel very strongly that we should be protecting the corridor," Wearsch said. "We need to show intent. I support both."
Gentz fired back noting that the fact the city is proceeding with a feasibility study shows its intent ...
"I can only go back to the original conversation," Councilman Mark Julius said. "If we show any bias, it could skew the process. We shouldn't bring the cart before the horse."
A suggestion was made during the meeting to table the proposed location ordinance, so as not to show prejudice over any one location. Then came the suggestion to amend the ordinance. Both motions failed, as did the original ordinance.
Last month, Ken Wright representing ODOT presented to council members and those in attendance, that a feasibility study looks at all possible locations, options and impacts of building an interchange within the city. An interchange justification study shows how an interchange would impact I-90 and how the interstate would accept it.
"A number of things have to be done before you can receive approval from ODOT and the federal highway department," Wright said. "You need to look at all feasible alternatives. Do you want it east of Nagel Road, on Nagel Road, on Jaycox Road or not built at all? There may be other alternatives."
Wright continued to explain that the purpose of an interstate is to move people through town, not to get on and off the highway.
"You also need to make sure that you have looked at every means to move traffic throughout town," Wright said. "I'm sure there are things that have not been done to improve the flow of traffic without building an interstate."
Additional items to be considered include the cultural resources, historical sites, waste and environmental issues.
"The studies will tell you if there are wetlands in the area that need to be protected," Wright said. "Or if there is property of historic value. Before you can locate a site, you have to make sure all of these items have been addressed."
Once the studies are completed, a preferred alternative or a desired location is suggested. The interchange will have to be approved by NOACA's governing board and sent to its transportation board. The role of NOACA is to look at these federal investments (interchanges) from a planning standpoint and also their impact on the region.''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 6-26-03. By JENNIFER HICKIN , Morning Journal Writer
``AVON -- Now that everyone is on the same page regarding the process to bring an Interstate 90 interchange to Avon, legislation is being amended to allow the necessary studies to begin -- but without pinpointing a location.
Studying the feasibility of an interchange first and then passing legislation for an exact location was recommended by representatives of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency and the Ohio Department of Transportation [at a Planning Commission meeting on 6-25-03].
''Something specific doesn't mean much once the study starts,'' said Ken Wright of ODOT.
Study cost estimates range from $50,000 to $150,000 ...
''What you need to do is look at all feasible options,'' said Wright, who pointed out at least four possibilities -- Nagel Road, east of Nagel Road, Jaycox Road and building nothing.
First a feasibility and interchange justification study need to be completed before a location for an interchange can be determined, according to Wright ...
The interchange justification study shows how an interchange would impact I-90. An interchange can't negatively impact I-90, Wright said.
Once these studies are completed, a preferred alternative or the desired location is chosen and it goes to ODOT and NOACA for approval.
With NOACA approval, the project is put on a transportation plan and funding is considered, according to Howard Maher of NOACA. A project can't proceed until it is on the transportation plan regardless of who is funding the project ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 7-3-03, By CAROLYN STEIGMAN, Staff Writer
``AVON - Getting a a new interchange built on Interstate 90 is a more involved process than most of those on City Council had realized.
Ken Wright, planning administrator for District 3 of the Ohio Department of Transportation, and Howard Maher from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency set council straight on what needs to happen before an interchange can even be considered.
Ward 1 Councilman Mark Julius expressed dismay that council had been spinning its wheels for so long because of a lack of this information. Many had thought they just needed to approve a the spot and tell ODOT what they wanted.
The first step is for the city to undertake a feasibility study that examines at least three possible locations for an interchange without prejudice.
Wright suggested that three locations might be Nagel Road, Jaycox Road and somewhere east of Nagel Road. He also said the study should examine the fourth alternative of not building an interchange ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 7-15-02, By JENNIFER HICKIN, Morning Journal Writer
``AVON -- City Council passed a resolution last night [7-14-03] in support of a feasibility study that would look at the idea of a new Interstate 90 interchange.
The vote was 7-0 in favor of the study that will look at whether an interchange is needed, possible locations and its impact on the community.
With the resolution in hand, the request for the feasibility study will probably be sent to the finance committee for discussion of funding, according to Mayor Jim Smith. From there, it would go back to council for approval of the funding.
Along with the feasibility study on last night's agenda was an ordinance suggesting the interchange be placed somewhere east of Nagel Road and west of the county line.
The ordinance had been placed on council's agenda prior to a meeting with the Ohio Department of Transportation and Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency ...
The ordinance was defeated 4-3. Voting against the ordinance were council members Gerald Gentz, Ward 4; Carol Hartwig, Ward 2; Jack Kilroy, at-large; and Mark Julius, Ward 1.
Passing an ordinance with a location before a feasibility study is comparable to ''putting the cart before the horse,'' according to Gentz.
If the city does go forward with an interchange, the process -- including time for studies, design and acquiring property -- takes about four or five years.
During a public hearing last night, three residents expressed concerns and asked questions regarding an interchange.
Also approved last night was final legislation establishing a full-time fire department and hiring employees.
The full-time department will consist of one fire chief, an assistant fire chief, captain/paramedic, three lieutenants/paramedics and 13 firefighters/paramedics, all employed full time.
The hiring ordinances go into effect July 20,  at the start of the next pay period ...''
EDITORIAL from The Morning Journal, 7-17-03
``It's time to get aboard commuter rail project
A story in our newspaper on Sunday [7-13-03] told how the Norfolk Southern railroad may abandon the train tracks running along the shore of Lake Erie from Cleveland to Lorain.
If that happens, it could be a huge boost to hopes for a commuter rail line from Lorain to Cleveland. It's crucial for proponents of commuter rail to declare their interest to the railroad now, so the track isn't torn up if Norfolk Southern abandons it. A track maintenance agreement also could be worked out.
The dream of commuter rail has been stalled by political problems. But a train station already is built into the Black River Landing transportation hub and festival area in downtown Lorain.
Norfolk and Southern officials contend that, for now, they have no plans to abandon the track line, and transportation officials say they haven't received any plans for such a move. Still, there are a number of indications that it will happen.
If the railroad gives up that route, all freight and Amtrak traffic would instead travel along roughly parallel tracks to the south that pass through Elyria and go westward. Spurs off this route could still serve Lorain area industry, such as Ford.
Giving up the largely redundant northern tracks would save the railroad big money, it's expected.
Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband says the railroad hasn't been approached by anyone about a commuter rail line. But Husband said the railroad would be interested in working with any interested community.
Lorain County Commissioner Betty Blair, U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown, Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin, Lorain Port Authority Director Rick Novak and other commuter rail advocates should promptly get in touch with the railroad and make their interest known.
Blair also is president of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which did a study showing the Lorain-Cleveland commuter line the most feasible of various alternatives. But opposition to additional train traffic from West Shore communities in Cuyahoga County has their Rep. Dennis Kucinich opposing commuter rail, making federal funding virtually impossible.
But if freight trains no longer use that route, and commuter rail is the sole traffic, perhaps that could turn around the opponents so that the commuter rail line could happen.
Commuter rail could be a big boost to Lorain and Lorain County, making local attractions and homes more accessible to those who now work and ''play'' in Cleveland.
If commuter rail is ever to become a reality, this is a crucial moment to work with Norfolk Southern to plan for it and to preserve the tracks so that land isn't lost.
It's literally time for commuter rail supporters to call ''all aboard'' and make commuter service a train that can't be stopped.''
More on commuter rail
NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 9-25-03, By KEN PRENDERGAST, Staff Writer
[Westlake officials want 5 lanes on Detroit Road]
``City seeking $26 million from ODOT to expand street to five lanes in Westlake
WESTLAKE -- About 2½ miles of Detroit Road would be widened to five lanes if the project is approved by a review board at the Ohio Department of Transportation.
Today [9-25-03] in Akron, ODOT's Transportation Review Advisory Council [TRAC] will hear requests for state funding for road, bike path and transit projects from cities and other local governments throughout Northeast Ohio. Westlake officials will be among those making their case for ODOT dollars. However, it could be months before they learn whether the state money is forthcoming.
About $26 million [$26M/2.5 miles = $10.4 million per mile] is being requested from ODOT to widen Detroit Road, between Crocker and Columbia roads. Currently there are two through lanes with a center turn lane. Detroit Road would be widened with two eastbound lanes, two westbound lanes and a center turn lane, according to city Engineer Bob Kelly.
Building additional lanes along Detroit Road won support earlier this month from the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency. Officials from the metropolitan planning organization will join Kelly and an independent traffic consultant in making the case today to the TRAC.
"Based on the traffic counts, the improvement is necessary," said Mayor Dennis Clough. "Whether we're successful in convincing the TRAC, nobody knows." ...''
NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 9-20-03, By JENNIFER HICKIN, Morning Journal Writer
``Mayor: Intersection move won't happen soon
AVON -- Moving the Chester Road intersection west down SR 611 probably won't happen for at least another couple of years, according to Mayor Jim Smith.
Limited funds require the city to do projects at different times, and right now there isn't funding for the Chester Road project, according to Smith.
The project would probably cost between $500,000 and $700,000, Smith said, adding he will try to get grants to pay for moving the road.
The road project was approved by the Avon Planning Commission and has been discussed for three years, said Councilman at large Jack Kilroy.
The city had tried to get the Fairfield Inn, which was recently constructed on SR 611, to pay for moving the road on a voluntary basis but that didn't come together, said Kilroy.
Once started, the project would involve moving the intersection of Chester Road and SR 611 to west of the McDonald's on SR 611 to improve traffic flow in the area.
Anyone turning east from Chester Road onto SR 611 now finds that if there is a red light farther up at the I-90 exit only two trucks can make the turn and fit on SR 611 before hitting the light, according to Smith. By moving the road, more vehicles will be able to turn onto SR 611 before reaching the light, allowing traffic to move along better, he said ...''
More Documents Relating to the June 8, 1998, Decision Against Avon
Newspaper Record of XXXXX/Jacobs in Avon