FAIRLAWN: The gate is in place.
But Fairlawn officials plan to wait until next year to fully activate the gate on Rothrock Road and Rosemont Boulevard that is geared to deter traffic from a proposed Walmart and Sam’s Club in Copley Township.
“We have tested it internally and it works,” said Mayor Bill Roth. “The lever lifts straight up and is activated by a click of a button. It is totally silent and very fast and really amazing, but in fairness we need to set up training for all the government entities involved before we start using it.”
He said the holidays have made it difficult to set up the training with first responders from neighboring communities.
The mayor said a pending lawsuit over his city’s attempt to thwart a planned move by Walmart and Sam’s Club from the Rosemont Commons Shopping Center in Fairlawn west to land along Rothrock Road in Copley Township has nothing to do with the decision to hold off on activating the gate.
“Rosemont wasn’t part of the final litigation,” Roth said. “The Copley Township suit brought against Fairlawn was only for the closing of a portion of Rothrock Road so any ruling made by the judge will have no effect on the gate system.
“The vast majority of the residents in the Rosemont [Ridge] development wanted the gate there.”
Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty has not ruled on whether Fairlawn has the right to close Rothrock Road just west of Sawgrass Road. Copley Township has challenged whether Fairlawn has the right to close off the thoroughfare.
Fairlawn has already set up a temporary roadblock at the intersection, but wants to construct something more permanent to deny access to the proposed retail development. Fairlawn wants to block the road by using water-filled plastic barricades rather than concrete barriers.
Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten said the concrete barriers now at Rosemont and Rothrock in front of the new gate system will be removed once the gate is activated.
Gate lifts in seconds
He said the city has been testing the barrier for two weeks and its “vertical pivot gate” is impressive and lifts up in a matter of seconds.
“From the moment that you click the button it’s about five seconds. According to the city ordinance only emergency vehicles and school buses will be allowed to go through the gate using a button that will send a signal to lift the gate.
Staten said the electric gate has a 72-hour battery backup.
“The gate can be lifted 1,500 times on the battery system,” Staten said. “If there is an extended power failure that lasts for weeks, the very last amount of power that is in the battery will open the gate and permanently keep it open, rather than letting the battery die with the gate down, that won’t happen. The electronics in the system will know when the battery is down to low voltage and will use the remaining power to lift the gate and hold it in an open position. That’s a huge benefit for emergency services.”
The gate can be manually lifted when a code is entered.
The original plan to set up a gate system at the southern portion of Rothrock Road was estimated to cost $300,000. It would have included a bigger gate system and the cost of asphalt needed to extend the road for a turnaround area. The cost of the gate at the end of Rosemont Boulevard was less than $50,000.
The fight over access to Rothrock Road dates back to November 2010 when plans were revealed for Walmart and Sam’s Club to move west from Fairlawn into Copley Township. Walmart purchased the property from developer Larry Levey on Sept. 20.
Across the street from the proposed development lies Fairlawn’s Rosemont Ridge housing development, the Enclave condominium development and Fairway Park Apartments.
Many of the residents say they don’t want the traffic in their neighborhood and have been active in attending City Hall and township meetings to voice their disapproval.
Marilyn Miller can be reached at 330-996-3098 or firstname.lastname@example.org.