Cuyahoga Falls -- During the March 20 meeting on proposed plans to open up Front Street, 13 members of the audience and several members of Council spoke in favor of the project.
Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce CEO Laura Petrella said the members of the Chamber are "pro-business and we want this. There is so much excitement." Petrella said she and her staff are contacted at least once a day from someone wondering what is happening downtown and whether there is space available.
Brent VanFossen, owner of Metropolis Popcorn and Desserts at 2164 Front St., shared his positive feelings about the project, as well. VanFossen admitted last year he had reservations and was going to relocate his business, but has since changed his mind and plans to stay.
"We're excited," said VanFossen, "In a relatively quick period it's going to happen -- not rushed, but [the] accelerated project time frame convinced us to stay and be part of this transformation."
At-Large Councilman Jeff Iula (R), committee chairman, said he is behind everything being proposed on Front Street, from its opening up, to the new hotel and from the renovation of the theater to a new candy store being planned in the old Whistle Stop.
"The time has come to open the current Front Street pedestrian mall. The area is full of potential, and the current use of that prime real estate simply does not meet market demand," said Chamber of Commerce Board President Kathy Romito in a press release issued after the meeting. "We have all the ingredients to make it an amazing public space, one that can equally cater to retail, service and professional offices as well as providing for a safe and inviting public use and leisure area for residents and visitors."
No one on Council or in the audience spoke out against the Front Street plans during the Council meeting, which lasted more than three hours.