The past 10 years have seen North Ridgeville evolve from a predominantly rural community to what some call a boomtown, with nearly 4,000 new homes constructed and a population surge of about 6,000. This exclusive, four-part series will examine that growth and what’s behind it through the eyes of city officials, business people and residents. It will also address the impact of the economy on the area, as well as take a look at the future.
Part 1 deals with the city quadrant located west of
SR 83 and north of Center Ridge Road.
“Business follows rooftops,” Mayor David Gillock said in a recent interview, adding in order to build the rooftops, an adequate sewer system is essential. “Over the last 10 years, as development moved from Cleveland, we were kind of next in line. The key thing residentially is that 10 years ago, we had no sewers west of (SR) 83.”
He, along with Ward 1 City Councilwoman Nancy Buescher, credited the Westerly Sewer project for jump starting the city’s western growth.
“It is always the aim of city officials to supply sanitary sewer service to every residence and business whenever possible and whenever financially feasible,” Buescher said via e-mail. “These sewer lines have made it possible to bring business to this side of the city.”
The sewer line, Gillock explained, which runs from the northwest corner of the city to the Shady Drive baseball complex, forms a backbone for the western portion of the city. He acknowledged the work of developers Forest City, Frank Detorre and John Beckett for funding most of the project.
“Basically, they paid for about 80 percent of the sewer, or agreed to be assessed for it,” he said.
The developers were not to be assessed taxes until five years after the project was completed. During those years, Gillock said Detorre and Forest City were able to build up their properties, and then the assessment was passed on to the homebuyers.
“When the assessment kicked in, the homeowner pays. We (then) used (the fees) to pay for the debt service on the line,” the mayor recalled. “That resulted in a lot of open land, ready for development.”
He said 21 subdivisions were under construction at one time.
Buescher called her area “the largest and fastest growing of all the wards.”
“I look back with amazement at the amount of residential growth which has taken place,” the nine-year ward representative said.
Although this quadrant of the city has the bulk of new development, with nine subdivisions offering 3,500 units, a drive along Case Road or Stoney Ridge Road offers rural scenery dotted with subdivisions. As part of negotiations with developers, Gillock stated Planned Community Development (PCD) legislation was enacted by City Council. That ordinance, which included the 1,900-unit Meadow Lakes subdivision, allowed for builders to construct communities at a higher density (3.24 homes per acre) than the usual 2.3 homes per acre. They also had to maintain 20 percent open space within the community.
“We still have some nice, open areas,” Gillock said.
The ability to live in a “country-like” setting with plenty of room, while having access to major transportation routes such as the Ohio Turnpike and I-480, are a popular draw among those moving to the city – and to those who have grown up here and started successful businesses.
“I think North Ridgeville with the things it offers, the ability to have land, and Cleveland just 20 minutes away (is outstanding,),” Dr. Robert Hutchinson, owner of Animal Clinic Northview, said.
His clinic has brought the city widespread attention, with clients coming from all over the world to have their animals treated.
“I grew up on Stoney Ridge and live on Case, so it’s neat to have the clinic on the corner of the street where I grew up,” he shared. “It’s easy to get here from Toronto, Erie and Pittsburgh. North Ridgeville has been good to me.”
His thoughts echo those of Steve Ali, owner of XTreme Performance on Center Ridge, who said he chose the area for his business due to demographics.
“There was no other (auto) repair shop in the area,” he recalled. “We started in uncharted waters with no customer base. Every day, we see more business. I built to last 100 years. I’m not going anywhere.”
According to North Ridgeville Chamber of Commerce CEO Dayle Noll, other newer businesses on Center Ridge Road include Cats Meow, Feathered Nest, Enger Tire and Expert Automotive. Center Ridge Health Campus recently added an assisted living facility this year, and All American Sports Center offers a variety of family activities. A new commercial development has also been constructed at SR 83 and Mills Road, featuring GreenQuest Group and Café 83. Sandy Ridge Reservation of the Lorain County Metro Parks is also located in this quadrant.
While growth boosts the city tax base, it also puts some strain on police and fire services. Gillock said long-range plans include the construction of a fire station at Barres and Stoney Ridge roads. For the first time in 30 years, three firefighters have been added to the force, he said, and joining the Westshore Dispatch freed up an additional three.
Next in this series: The southwest quadrant, featuring the proposed North Ridgeville Town Center