CORTLAND Mayor: Road is path to project

Mayor Melissa Long is asking commissioners for assurance that the road could be built should need arise.
WARREN -- Cortland Mayor Melissa Long wants her road.
In October, Trumbull County will break ground on a $1 million agricultural center in Cortland. Plans for the 17-acre campus include wetlands, walking trails and gardens, as well as an office building for five agriculture-related agencies, including the Ohio State University Extension Service and the Trumbull County Soil and Water Conservation District.
One thing that the plans do not include, however, is a road back from West Main Street through the 2,000-foot-deep property.
The road, labeled "future road" on initial drawings submitted to the Cortland zoning office, would provide access not only to the new agricultural center, but also to a city service building and 150 acres of Ohio Department of Natural Resources land beyond.
"You promised me an actual road," Long told the Trumbull County commissioners at a meeting Tuesday. "Otherwise, I would not have put the deed [for the agricultural center property] in the county's name."
Donation: Delphi Automotive Systems donated 17 acres west of its Cortland facility for the agricultural center after discussions with both city and county officials, she said. The company made the donation to repay the city for a tax abatement on $41 million in new machinery when it re-opened the Cortland facility two years ago, she said.
Long said the road is necessary if the ODNR property is ever to be turned into a park. Plans to create a park there have been stalled by the city's parks department, but Long said she expects the process to be restarted within a few years.
"The city still needs a park," she said.
Cost: Engineers for the county say the "future road" was only a projection. Building it would tack an additional $100,000 onto the project cost, said K. Anthony Hayek, director of architecture for MS Consultants Inc., which worked on the project.
"It was never part of the plan," Hayek said.
Where the road would be, plans now show a curved driveway which goes directly to the building. Wetlands and a water retaining pond block the path the "future road" would take.
Long said she was seeking assurances from the commissioners that the county would build a road if it becomes needed for the park project.
Building the driveway so that it could be continued into a road would be a step in that direction. It would also nearly double the driveway's cost, Hayek said. The project is set to be advertised for bids next week.
County Commissioner Joseph J. Angelo promised a written decision from the board soon.
Commissioner Michael O'Brien said he thought the commissioners would spend the extra few thousand dollars to bring the driveway up to road specifications. As far as actually building the road, they will wait until there is more movement towards creating the park, when grants might become available.
"We will have a road such that it will be able to eventually accommodate any future development," he said.

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