Lakemore Plaza gets name back, owners look to future

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent
Lakemore Mayor Rich Cole (center) celebrates with property owner Bill Brink after cutting the ribbon to dedicate Lakemore Plaza going back to its original name.

LAKEMORE – It was cold and rainy on May 8, but a group of diehard village residents still showed up to Lakemore Plaza for a ribbon cutting to commemorate it returning to its original name.

On had were community members, plaza businesses representatives, plaza leasing agent Cori Voltz, Property Manager Bill Brink, Mayor Rich Cole, Village Administrator Tracy Fast, council members and members of the Chamber of Commerce.

Before cutting the ribbon at the entrance of the plaza, Cole said they are all so happy to have the name changed back to what people in the village remember as they grew up. The plaza, which was built on the Snyder's Farm property, has been a staple of the community since the 1950s. The name changed from Lakemore Plaza to Tri-County Plaza in the mid-1980s.

Cole said the plaza's owner has a lot of good ideas and plans for the area and thanked everyone for believing in them.

Brink said the center is tired and has been neglected, but there are plans to renovation the plaza. He said he when he originally came to Lakemore from Cleveland, he spoke with the mayor, the chief of police and the tenants and said have a strong passion for the plaza and the history of it. Brink said the goal is to bring it back as best as possible.

Lakemore Mayor Rich Cole cuts the ribbon at Lakemore Plaza with the help of property owner Bill Brink.

“The community is so supportive of it.” Brink said.

There is a new sign with the Lakemore Plaza name and the property owners are opening a self-storage company in the former JC Penny store.

The plaza includes longtime tenants Lewalts Laundry and Knudson’s Jewelry. Knudson’s has been in the plaza for more than 40 years.

Cole said the owner, who purchased the property in February, has some good ideas of “returning the plaza to its former hub status as it was when I was a young boy."

"We would line up to see Santa Claus come into town and when we would have window decorating parties and Halloween parades and more,” Cole said, adding that it is both exiting and a blessing to bring it back to its original roots.

Cole said he believes the former owners changed the name to capitalize on the proxmity to Summit, Stark and Portage counties, but it was local residents who would patronize businesses such as Cost Cutters barbershop, Tractor Supply Co. and JoAnn Fabrics.

“People are very loyal and the tenants that have stayed are doing well compared to other strip malls,” Cole said.

Cole said there are plans to convert the concrete "monstrosity in the center of the parking lot" into green space with food trucks for people to enjoy.

He added that not only will green space be a plus for the community members, but it will help with the runoff into Springfield Lake as the runoff will be slowed and will slowly sink into the ground.

“So, all the contaminants like the oil, gas and dirt that would flow unimpeded will be slowed down and halted. It is a win win,” Cole said.

Prizes, donated by the stores in the plaza, were raffled off to those in attendance. Jimmy’s Smokin Stack food truck was on hand for those that wanted lunch or a carry out dinner.