The pros and cons of retail development in Grafton

Coming soon to 573 N Main St Grafton, by most accounts:

  • Vacant 10+ years. No recent record of full-time employment of one or more. That’s 10+ years of little to likely no income tax.
  • Property exterior in decline 14+ years. Current exterior visibly failing. Visibly a structural blight on N Main St. Property. Owner has not given the village building department permission to access the interior for inspection.
  • County auditor has lowered Market Total Value to $147,830.00, property tax value had declined. Properties such as these lower surrounding property values.
  • Property has listed for sale off and on over the past 10-years, no buyers.
  • Property interests since summer of 2015 include a single retailer (2016) and less than 4 individuals looking to consider a low-dollar rehab of the existing structure. Current building codes and the St Rt 57 Overlay District obligations were too costly making low-dollar investment unlikely (Grafton holding for better).
  • A derelict motorboat placed on stilts remained parked there since 2003, finally removed December 2019 after a tree and vegetation had grown around the vessel.

Benefits by most accounts this project will;

  • Remove a Main St blighted structure.
  • Create a reinvestment opportunity and when finished increase taxable real estate value 500 to 600%.
  • Create traceable employee income tax.
  • Increase traffic to Grafton benefiting all local restaurants including a choice of 2-Pizza restaurants, 2-gas and convenient retailers, 3 salons, 2 dentist offices, 4 local parks plus Lorain County Metro Parks.

Critic’s may say Grafton can do better, Grafton should hold out for more, Grafton doesn’t need a second dollar store. In reality, this is a blighted property wedged between Main St and railroad tracks. While Grafton has held out for better by enforcing its overlay district qualifications, the property owner has an investment and the right to sell. The buyer who meets all qualifying elements of the conditional use of the overlay district, has a right to develop. Grafton like all communities throughout Ohio has conformity and compliance. Grafton may have some control on what and how to develop, property owners have the right to contest standards as overbearing and burdensome obstacles for their right to develop.

Critics have the right to complain while the courts could ask where were the critics when the property was for sale? Why did not any one of the critics purchase the property to develop as they believe best? Why does any critic believe government can limit retail or how many hair salons can establish a business presence in Grafton, limit pizza restaurant’s or any other restaurant, limit gas stations, financial advisers, insurance agents… they can even ask why Grafton needs 4 community parks? The answer is, anyone with a business plan, the financial ability to invest and the willingness to take risk, can do so when they meet the same standards that apply to all business’ in Grafton.

For those who are not pleased to hear a Dollar General is coming to Grafton, I hear you and respect your opinion. For those who have lived patiently with the deteriorating blight of 573 N Main St over the past 2 decades, Grafton is now addressing your concern and we’re confident this project meets the greater betterment of the community verses allowing the continued deterioration of this site. This project was approved without and consideration or offer of tax abatement and represents a significant monetary site improvement. Looking at 573 N Main St today, I for one, am excited about no longer having to drive past this blight and look forward to something far more beneficial for Grafton and its future. Grafton and its taxpayers have no monetary risk in this project. As always, Grafton’s Village Administrator is available at Grafton Village Hall to answer any question regarding this project.

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