Painesville achieving success with economic, community development

If you happen to see Painesville City Manager Doug Lewis and ask him what’s going on in the city he helps to lead, be ready to stay and listen for a while.

We offer that bit of advice for curious individuals, based on everything Lewis had to say to an audience during his 2023 State of the City address.

He delivered that speech to community members, business partners, city staff and others during a March 9 breakfast at the Steele Mansion.

Lewis declared that “it’s happening in Painesville” and discussed the highlights from 2022 and looking ahead to new retail options, development projects and amenities that residents can expect in the coming years.

“We’re off to a good start and hope to keep the ball rolling this year,” Lewis said.

Lewis highlighted the various businesses and community organizations that invested in Painesville in 2022, including the decision by Avery Dennison’s Performance Tapes division to add 35,000 square feet to its Painesville plant.

“As one of the largest employers in the area, the expansion shows the company’s commitment to doing business right here at home,” Lewis said.

Clover Group opened its Heisley Park Senior Apartments, with the city manager explaining that it offers 119 apartments for seniors who want to stay in Painesville “with the conveniences of downsized living.”

Federico Tire Pros opened a “beautiful new showroom” at its 71 S. State St. location, Lewis added, while Adam Craig of CLE Real Estate completed renovations at the former 113 Main St. Dollar Bank building.

“Both were incredible transformations in our downtown area,” he said, noting that Craig and city officials plan to turn the Dollar Bank building into “office and commercial space.”

The city is also preparing for a new public restaurant on Painesville Square, Lewis said. It will come as part of the incoming Lake Erie College student housing, while streetscape improvements will add “new lighting, concrete, bike racks and landscaping.”

“The goal is to create a welcoming environment for students and visitors that coincides with our downtown master plan,” he said.

Lewis also noted that work continues on the planned Grand River Walk mixed-use development overlooking the Grand River and Kiwanis Recreation Park. Lewis announced that council approved the transfer of the 237 E. Main St. property to the developers on March 6.

He added that the developers are looking to present final plans at the April 13 Planning Commission meeting, with work expected to be complete by December 2024.

Lewis noted that the development is part of the $75 million that has been invested in Downtown Painesville in recent years, with the city planning to create an entertainment district.

In regard to infrastructure, the city completed $2.4 million of road and waterline work last year, Lewis said. Projects last year included Chestnut Street and Newell Avenue, as well as the Chester Street repaving and waterline replacement that is set to end in August.

Meanwhile, the city has set aside $1.9 million for its 2023 road plan.

Other notable items mentioned by Lewis in his speech included:

• Summer concerts and community gatherings in 2022 saw “record crowds,” while Painesville Square hosted its first Lake County NAACP Juneteenth celebration.

• The city also used federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to help 12 “low- to median-income homeowners” that were in violation of the city’s code improve roofs and siding.

“The results are dramatic, and the program helped to improve property values in our community,” Lewis said.

• In 2023, the city plans to work on a new splash pad at Kiwanis Recreation Park. He noted that the project is currently in the design phase, and the city estimates that it will be completed in November.

Clearly, it’s an exciting and eventful time right now for the city of Painesville. The News-Herald commends the city’s government leaders, business owners, investors and residents who have played key roles in this town’s many recent success stories.


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