The first of three public meetings to talk about 's plan to supermarket on Pearl Road is set for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 18 at St. John Neumann Church Activity Center, 16271 Pearl Rd.
Officials from Giant Eagle are expected to present information about the plan to construct a 110,000-square-foot Market District on the site of and .
It would be the first Market District -- an upscale version of Giant Eagle that features an in-store restaurant and foods from around the world -- to be built from the ground up in northeast Ohio.
But residents hold the key to whether it will be built here. The company needs to have part of the site rezoned from residential to business, which in Strongsville requires a vote of the people.
The rezoning is on the March 6 ballot. The issue would have to pass both citywide and in Ward 2.
A grassroots campaign, led by businessman , has already launched. It will include the public meetings, ads in local media and mailings.
"This is a unique product that is not anywhere else," Catan said.
The city is supporting the project, saying it will revitalize the south Pearl Road corridor.
Sticking points, though, are the store's impact on nearby residents and on Pearl Road traffic.
Bruce Haney, managing partner of Echo Realty, the project developer, said the company would address buffering and traffic concerns "as quickly and honestly and openly as we can."
Mayor Tom Perciak said his fear is that Giant Eagle, which is unhappy with its outdated store at , will leave Strongsville altogether if the Pearl Road project is not approved.
"If not there (Pearl Road), then where?" Perciak asked. "And what's going to happen if there isn't one (a Giant Eagle)?"
Other public meetings have been tentatively scheduled for mid- and late February.