Oregon city officials used a meeting Wednesday with local businesses to update them on a major planned upgrade of Navarre Avenue, including right-of-way acquisition off Wheeling Street for an access road designed to relieve traffic congestion along the Wheeling/Navarre intersection.
Paul Roman, the city’s service director, told those attending the informal meeting the city is being awarded a grant through the Ohio Department of Transportation of up to $2.4 million for the project, which has an estimated cost of $2.7 million.
City officials plan to meet with businesses located at the northeast corner of the intersection to discuss the proposed access road, which would be located north of the intersection and proceed east from Wheeling to the Freeway Plaza.
Roman said motorists trying to get to an apartment complex, two fast-food restaurants, and businesses at the plaza from Wheeling or from Navarre west of the intersection would have better access by using the proposed road. A left-hand turn from a congested Navarre – the daily average traffic count is 30,000 vehicles - to the businesses is a rare feat, he said.
What’s more there were 369 accidents, including 131 serious enough to cause injuries, during a recent three-year stretch on Navarre.
“I think a service road is warranted now,” Roman said, adding ODOT planners agreed when the city made its application for the grant. “I think it is needed and is justified.”
One option would be for the city to acquire an existing private drive off Wheeling and extend it to the plaza parking lot, he said.
Mayor Mike Seferian said the access road is a “top priority” of the upgrade, which would also include installing more marked U-turn areas on Navarre and other improvements.
The city administration is encouraging businesses along Navarre to offer input on the project, the mayor said.
Mike Beazley, city administrator, said the project will be a “real step up in making Navarre thrive.”
“We’re going to do this together, not adversarially,” he said.
Dunham’s Sports interested in property
Property owned by Chris Joseph and Richard Joseph, Jr. at 3010 Navarre where a Foodtown store had been located may become the site of a sporting goods store.
The Josephs confirmed they’ve been in negotiations with Dunham’s Sports on a lease for the vacated building.
Improvements to the façade and an adjacent complex will be completed whether or not Dunham’s moves into the building, they said.
Mayor Seferian said a drug store chain is also looking at several sites along Navarre.
The city is also inviting businesses to comment on possible changes to its zoning code. The mayor said changes may be made to the code to reflect advances in building materials and the city’s regulations on building sizes.
Businesses are also being asked for their input on banners across Navarre to announce special events and on beautification projects.
Wednesday’s meeting in the city council chambers was the third such meeting held with the business community.