Councilman-elect Sandy Bihn is hoping to get some ideas on improving Navarre Avenue to maintain and attract more businesses to the area.
A meeting will be held on Dec. 1 at 3 p.m. in the Oregon Public Library to discuss the matter.
“The public is invited,” said Bihn, “but it’s targeted to the people who have businesses in the State Route 2 area.”
“The purpose of the meeting is to discuss ways to make the Route 2 area more attractive to existing and potential businesses visually and to start networking to try and improve the overall image and ability to retain and attract businesses,” she said.
A retail analysis of State Route 2 conducted in 2007 by Pitney Bowes/MapInfo, of Ann Arbor, notes that one of the impediments to attracting and keeping retail is a “hodge podge” appearance on Navarre Avenue.
“This retail corridor is very similar to other retail corridors across the country and within the Toledo market,” states the report. “This multi-lane highway has sidewalks for pedestrian traffic, roadway lighting, and curb cuts for each retail/shopping center…There is very little landscaping along the highway; and monument signs, pylon signs, street lighting, and utility poles line its edges. These factors contribute to the fact that Navarre Avenue has no sense of identity and looks like a multitude of other highway retail corridors around the country, providing little special incentives to attract shoppers.”
MapInfo, which the city paid over $19,000 to conduct the analysis, specializes in public sector, retail, restaurant, financial and shopping center research. It conducts a variety of custom research, such as market strategies/analyses, site forecasts, optimization systems, strategic solutions and market analyses for economic development. Its retail client list comprises the top retail chains in the country.
Bihn wants to see coordinated landscaping, perhaps with a waterfront theme, along the route.
“A lot of people travel through Oregon to get to the islands, to fish, and to go to Cedar Point,” she said.
“Maybe the city could have some landscaping at particular locations, such as the islands on Dustin Road.
“Also, the banners on the street corners need to be updated. They are outdated and have been around for a long time,” she said.
Bihn hopes to form a committee that will meet regularly to brainstorm the strengths and weaknesses of the corridor.
“We’ll see what we can do to get cooperation between the businesses and hopefully, the city, and see what we can do together to make things better,” she said.