Perrysburg plans stir strong objections

PERRYSBURG – Debate raged over a roundabout and some pushed for preservation during a public meeting on
proposed renovations to Louisiana Avenue Thursday.
What was planned as an open house turned into a group discussion during which some residents found it
hard to hold back their feelings on the project.
"We are taking a unique downtown … and we are turning it into a replica of a failed entity like
Levis Commons," said Jon Orser. "This whole thing is a waste of taxpayers’ money, for no
Mayor Mike Olmstead engaged with residents on their questions and comments, though several became heated
and combative.
"It’s going with the times, so to speak, without losing its unique charm that makes Perrysburg,
Perrysburg," Olmstead said of the renovations.
"This highlights the historic base, the historic buildings that exist going up and down that road.
It adds an aesthetic component that is far more attractive (and) far more functional for both
pedestrians and automobiles than what we have now."
That explanation wasn’t enough for some to cast aside their concerns about heritage, but it was far from
the only part of the project which received scrutiny.
A proposed traffic circle at Louisiana and Front Street, which showcases the Commodore Perry monument and
is a crown jewel of the proposal, drew the ire of some who don’t want it in Perrysburg.
A few argued against its effectiveness and said they doubted it would accommodate large trucks, and
others expressed concerns for pedestrian safety.
Gill Lutz, who has impaired vision, said he was particularly worried about how people with disabilities
would navigate the roundabout on foot. While lighted pavement and signs will signal pedestrian presence
to drivers, that doesn’t help those with vision problems, he said.
Administrator Bridgette Kabat said engineers have looked at audible solutions as well for those walking
in downtown, which pleased Lutz.
"Those are conversations we’re having right now," she said.
Pat Trzaskowski said adding public restrooms somewhere downtown "should have been the first thing on
the list."
Olmstead said officials are looking at adding restrooms, but he didn’t say whether it would be included
in the first or second phase.
As impassioned responses poured out about the traffic circle, Andrew Langenderfer tried to quell some of
the inaccuracies stated about how they work, such as being confusing for drivers and increasing crashes.

Langenderfer, a senior project manager with Tetra Tech in Toledo and a Perrysburg resident, said he’s
worked on more than 20 traffic circle projects in the last five years.
"They increase safety astronomically," he said of the feature, adding that traffic injuries
overall fall by 35 percent where roundabouts are installed.
"This is exactly how a community approaches their first roundabout. Statistics show 4-to-1 are
against. After it’s installed, 4-to-1 are in favor, or more. … So in addition to the enhancements,
safety is off the charts."