Traffic barricades will go up for two months in three downtown Delta locations beginning in September to help gauge whether proposed aesthetic and practical improvements to the area are feasible.
But the plan isn’t sitting well with at least one of the village’s businesses.
During the week of Sept. 14, barriers will be placed at the intersection of Main and Monroe streets to determine whether it’s an ideal setting for Town Center, a proposed oasis for downtown visitors. The barricades will make Monroe Street one-way southbound between Palmwood Avenue and a connecting alley that travels between Monroe and Adrian streets. Barriers will also be placed north of Main Street, giving the alley one-way access.
Additionally, angle parking will be created on the west side of Monroe Street between Palmwood Avenue and the alley.
Barricades will also block the south side of the Wilson Street alley, closing it to through traffic in a spot where motorists are often blind to eastbound traffic.
“To this point, it’s never created a major issue,” Village Administrator Brad Peebles said. “It’s always been a recognized concern. We’re trying to remedy a safety concern that’s been identified in the past.”
The Wilson Street alley and the 100 feet of roadway between Main Street and the Monroe Street alley will remain barricaded for 60 days. Signage will be placed to indicate the changes.
Peebles said the barricades were approved Aug. 17 by the village council. The village Planning Commission held three informational sessions between June and July for business owners and residents along Monroe Street.
After the 60-day period, the Planning Commission will review data to determine the impact the barricades had on traffic and on Monroe Street businesses, and whether the barricades should remain or be taken down.
Talks about the feasibility of the estimated year-long Town Center project began last year. A preliminary design created by Oak Park Landscape and Water Garden Center in Swanton includes a fountain surrounded by benches and concrete. The approximately $53,000 project would be funded by a local industry’s $14,000 donation and by private foundation donations that could involve naming rights.
Peebles said the Main/Monroe intersection was chosen for the project due to its long reputation as a safety concern. He said the dearth of traffic lights downtown makes it difficult for motorists at all downtown intersections to turn onto Main Street.
Cutting off Monroe Street for Town Center may increase traffic flow enough at an intersection further down Main Street that a traffic signal would be warranted.
“With a signal we could create a break in the traffic where people will be able to get out onto Main Street safely,” Peebles said.
There are concerns about the project.
Some business owners on both Main and Monroe streets are reportedly worried about the potential impact on their livelihoods. Lindsay Robinson, owner of Shear Perfection, a salon at 105 Monroe St., said the barricades are going to be a detriment.
“It’s going to be a future headache for clients to go around the business. I just see a lot of major confusion and headache just getting to the salon,” she said.
Robinson said she advertises on social media. “If I had a lot of future clientele…it’s going to be harder for people to exactly know how to get to my location. It’s a little frustrating,” she said.
She was made aware of the barricades only a month ago, when Peebles visited the salon to tell her. Robinson said she investigated and discovered she received no formal notice because she wasn’t on the village’s mailing list.
Monroe Street residents also fear the barricades, saying their property values will be affected and that the blockade will lengthen response times for emergency medical services.
Because access on other streets is available, “We truly don’t believe the time response for any of the emergency services…would be negatively impacted,” Peebles said. The subject has not yet been broached with EMS personnel.
Peebles said the Town Center would aid downtown Delta safety measures and become a focal point. And it could be the catalyst for a broader village plan to request a $500,000 state grant to upgrade the entire downtown area. That would include additional parking spaces, sidewalk replacement, and improved building facades.
“By investing in the Town Center, it sells well to the State of Ohio,” Peebles said.
Mayor Dan Miller said the Town Center would make the village appealing for potential new businesses and residents.
“(Downtown) needs a major face-lift, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “It’s been a long-term goal of mine, even when I was on council. Everybody seems to understand that we need to do something…to spruce it up. We have taken measures to improve the outlook for the downtown area, so this is a measuring stick on what we can do for revitalizing and upgrading the downtown district.”
David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.