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LISBON — When is Discount Drug Mart coming to Center Township?
Local residents and township officials alike are wondering, because nothing has been done with the site since demolition of the former Taste of Country restaurant was completed in early June to make way for the Ohio-based drug chain’s latest store.
Located just north of Lisbon along state Route 45, the former restaurant was sold to DDM Lisbon LLC late last year, and DDM then applied for a liquor permit, which remains pending. An Ohio Department of Commerce official said they will not consider a liquor permit application until construction begins or issue a permit until after the business opens.
A phone call and email to DDM’s media relations person were not returned, and Center Township Trustee Greg Shive said he has been unable to find out who the contact is for DDM Lisbon. The trustees want someone to mow the high grass and weeds that have overtaken the property over the past four months.
The trustees could mow the property and then seek reimbursement by attaching the costs to DDM Lisbon’s property tax bill, but Shive said they are hoping to avoid that. “They don’t have to mow all three and a half acres. We just want them to mow the part along (Route) 45,” he said.
Shive said the last contact they had with anyone from DDM occurred earlier in the year when they met with DDM officials and the county’s development director, Tad Herold. He said DDM requested a 100 percent property tax abatement for the project, saying they needed a tax break to offset development costs.
“We told them we typically don’t give tax abatements and we really weren’t interested” in doing so this time, Shive said. He believes trustees last gave a 15-year property tax break of about 50 percent for the Miller Place elderly housing project off Hunters Camp Road and it has since expired.
Shive said DDM officials “did not say they would cancel the project if they did not receive the abatement.”
Herold agreed there was no indication from DDM that it would pull the plug on the project if a tax abatement was not granted. “No decisions were made and no line was drawn in the sand,” he said.
Shive said he has since spoken to some local people somewhat familiar with the project and was told DDM is building several other new stores in Ohio, and Lisbon will have to wait its turn, “and I guess we’re third on the list.”
In June 2016, a development company representing DDM announced preliminary plans for DDM to build a store at the former Lake Front Golf Course property in Columbiana but nothing has happened since.
In contrast, Akron Children’s Hospital announced in June it was building a pediatric doctor’s office on North Market Street in Lisbon. Ground was broken in late July and construction is expected to be completed soon.