|Rossford focuses on downtown streetscape|
|Written by By DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 23 June 2009 10:05|
ROSSFORD - At least one councilman expected the discussion at the committee to the whole meeting Monday to be focused on street lights.
But two representatives from the city's engineering consultant came forward to shed light on the possible future look of downtown Rossford.
A couple dozen citizens attended the meeting where they pondered whether the city's streetscape should have a nautical theme or a historical theme spotlighting the city's heritage as a glass center.
Councilman Ken Hermes was taken aback by the long-range view being presented. He said he was expecting to come it to view several possible designs for light poles. The city has a $263,000 stimulus grant to pay for the lighting. The new lighting is scheduled to be in place in February.
Councilman Chuck Duricek said trying to decide on lighting so early in the streetscape was "putting the horse before the cart."
The idea, said Councilman Leonard Michaels, was to come up with some idea on what the downtown should look like so the new poles fit in.
Hermes, however, said he was less concerned with a "nice looking" light pole, and more concerned with "the quality of the illumination."
The city does not have money to totally redo the look of its downtown, he said. The master plans presented by Nicole Miller and Tucker Fredericksen, of The Mannik & Smith Group, did not have figures attached.
Mayor Bill Verbosky noted that last year city officials and the Rossford Business Association held public meetings and discussions about applying for a grant to revitalize downtown. Poggemeyer Design Group came up with a master plan. But that effort was halted because city officials realized to have a chance of landing the state grant, the city would have to be willing to match every grant dollar with three dollars of private or public investment.
Community surveys showed better, more attractive lighting downtown was one of two top needs for the downtown. The other was for more parking.
That was evident at the meeting.
"We can't afford to lose any parking," said Pam Konidaris, owner of the Kongo Salon downtown.
No decision was made on the streetscape theme at Monday's meeting. But those attending including city council members did make their feelings known on some elements.
Both plans included provisions for a bike trail. Neither plan was well received.
Resident Don Montague and local businessman John Rust, both of whom said they bike, said that the trail running right through downtown wouldn't work.
The downtown doesn't need a bike path, Montague said, it needs more parking.
Councilwoman Caroline Eckel also said that plans to reduce the number of trees downtown would have to be discussed with the city's tree commission.
And the historical theme's inclusion of a metal fence, similar to the one on the high school property, constructed down the middle of the boulevard also drew negative comments because it would interfere both with grass cutting and snow removal.
Those in attendance did like the idea of a "pocket park," a small green area included in both plans.
Also in the plans was a space for a community market in the former Pilkington Glass parking lot. City Administrator Ed Ciecka said this could also serve at times as additional parking.
But resident Barb Montague noted that customers and business owners want parking right in front of shops.
The two concept drawings presented will be put up on the city's Web site and will also be displayed in the Rossford Public Library for about a week. Residents will be able to comment on them on the city's Web site.
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