Town Center work to enter Phase II

COLUMBIANA — The Town Center development is continuing to grow, and the Marketplace at Firestone Farms is nearly ready for development as work progresses on the major projects along state Routes 7 and 14.

Plans for Phase II of the Town Center at Firestone Farms were unveiled last week during the city planning commission meeting by Firestone Homestead President Tom Mackall.

The plans include a second building that will house another restaurant, retail businesses, a rooftop bar, potential offices and even possibly Air BnB or apartments.

Unlike the existing building, which has tenants on the first floor only, the second building will have a working second floor, which is where the Air BnB, apartments or offices will be located.

Mackall said the second building is only in the design phase at this point and construction won’t get under way until sometime in the distant future.

He also said work is progressing on the Harvey S. Firestone homestead replica located between the existing building and planned second building.

The homestead’s front porch will serve as part of a stage for live performances and two large TV screens will be located on each side of the house for movie showings or sports broadcasts.

“It will always be first and foremost a family thing,” Mackall said.

The homestead building is expected to be completed within a month for use this summer.

As for the Marketplace side, Mackall said all underground utilities have been installed, and the roads are almost completed.

“It’s all done except the limestone and asphalt,” he said.

Future plans for the property include several buildings that can feature retail business, including a potential grocery store.

“We are hoping to try to sell some of the frontage and we are going to continue to work on finding a grocery store,” he added.

The property already houses the historical 1880 Firestone barn. Another historical Firestone barn will serve as a museum.

Mackall said work on the barns will commence over the next two years.

He added he is hoping to get involved in a re-enactment of the Transcontinental Motor Convoy, which stopped in Columbiana in 1919 and included Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was at that time a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Tank Corps.

The convoy was en route from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco and dedicated the new brick road in Columbiana, which is now known as state Route 14, Mackall said.

The re-enactment will consist of antique Army vehicles, and Mackall said he hopes to have a brick road completed in order to replicate the dedication ceremony.

He added that Firestone was in charge of a program to develop truck traffic and had initiated the ship-to-truck campaign prior to the convoy.

Yet another plan unveiled by Mackall during the meeting was the park at Firestone Farms, which he said will be owned by the Firestone Farms Homeowner’s Association and located next to the existing community center.

The park will consist of a tennis court, half basketball court, playground, two covered bocce courts and a pickle ball court.

“I think you are changing the face of our community,” Commission member and Mayor Bryan Blakeman said to Mackall. “It is amazing what you have done.”