Northwood seeks to declare Great Eastern Shopping Center a nuisance

Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 11:09 PM EDT
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NORTHWOOD, Ohio (WTVG) - Some business owners in Wood County may soon have to look for new locations as the city of Northwood looks to have the Great Eastern Shopping Center declared a nuisance.

That possible closing is an especially big problem for small business owners who were thrown out of the Woodville Mall just a few years ago.

Monday afternoon, a Wood County judge denied a temporary restraining order sought by the city of Northwood to get that nuisance declared and order the property cleaned up. It was a victory for the complex owners and the small business owners operating there, meaning operations will stay as normal for now. Another hearing will happen later in June to decide if a permanent injunction will happen, leaving more questions for the business owners.

It feels like deja vu for Debbie Reynolds. She relocated her store to the Great Eastern Shopping Center after being kicked out of the now-leveled Woodville Mall, but now a court case may kick her out of here as well.

“We’ve been working hard trying to get other businesses to come in and fixing up our stores,” said Reynolds.

The city of Northwood has filed suit to declare the property a nuisance, citing numerous police and fire calls and some of the crumbling infrastructure, stuff you wouldn’t notice looking inside the stores.

“We’ve been remolding extensively, putting thousands of dollars into our unit, so it’s really concerning for me,” said Evelyn Robinson, who owns School Matters.

Robinson, too, came from the Woodville Mall. She’s invested in her shop and products and now faces a potential disruption again.

“It feels like all of the sudden we don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Robinson.

The lawsuit says the New York State owners have been given plenty of notice to fix things like sprinklers, clean up vacant spots, even repair holes in roofs. The city is calling this complex a “dangerous and imminent safety risk to patrons and tenants.”

These tenants says they’re just that and can’t make the changes the owners should be making.

“If it were up to us we’d have new sidewalks, new parking lots, new lights in the parking lot ... everything, but we’re just tenants. We just try to keep the inside of the stores up as best we can,” said Reynolds.

The next hearing will be on June 28.

13abc reach out to the shopping center’s owners Monday but their lawyer declined to comment, saying she’d prefer the court records speak for themselves.

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