New Franklin City Council approved two resolutions May 18, both aimed at spurring economic development and improving the city for its residents.

One resolution establishes and describes the boundaries of a community reinvestment area in the city, designating a housing officer to administer the program, creating a community reinvestment housing council and a tax incentive review council.

The resolution reads that all commercial and industrial properties in the area being designated as the New Franklin Community Reinvestment Area are eligible for tax abatement, but would only apply to remodeling or new construction. 

Jennifer Syx, a representative of InSite, the consulting firm hired by the city, explained to council in an earlier meeting, and again at the May 18 meeting, that a business would have to apply for tax abatement and then must be approved by vote of city council. Council Vice President Harry Gehm stressed that the tax abatement would not apply to existing taxes paid by a business.

City council also identified certain areas of the city that could be designed and altered to facilitate the connection of schools and athletic facilities and residential communities to the business communities.

It took the first step by passing a resolution to apply for an Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study Connecting Communities planning grant for up to $50,000. The project would use the grant funds to study and develop planning for areas in New Franklin that could benefit from sidewalks in the State Route 619 business area, near the Upper Deck and the nearby plazas; sidewalks from Manchester High School and Nolley to Sisler Field and down Nimisila Road to State Route 93; and sidewalks on Renninger Road to State Route 93.

Mayor Al Bollas said it would benefit the city to have these improvements.

Syx explained that if the grant to fund planning of the project is approved, it will help the city to seek funding for construction of the project because a design plan would be in place. Syx will turn in the application for the AMATS grant on behalf of the city this month, and she said the announcement of communities who will receive the grants will be made July 21.