By Amanda Ensinger
The Prairie Township trustees approved the findings of the Prairie Township West Broad Street Redevelopment Study.
The study, which cost $58,000, looked at improvements the township can make to bring businesses and investments into the community.
“This study looked at the eastern portion of the township in the urbanized portion,” said Tracy Hatmaker, Prairie Township administrator at a recent board meeting. “The study examined ways the township can build upon the investments the township has made with the streetscape to continue to improve the area.”
The township recently invested approximately $400,000 on the West Broad Street Streetscape project. This project aimed to improve the West Broad Street corridor that runs in Prairie Township from Interstate 270 to Hillard Rome Road.
Costing a total of $1.5 million, the township was responsible for paying 20 percent of the project cost. According to the township, the streetscape is a partnership between the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the township. It is part of larger $9 million project ODOT is working on.
The new streetscape will be complete by the end of the month and will feature sidewalks, landscaping, street trees, benches, street lights, road resurfacing, storm sewer, bike lanes and improvements to the bus stops.
“This will really spruce up the area, improve our community and make the area safer,” Hatmaker said.
The township worked with the Prairie Township Community Improvement Corporation to conduct the redevelopment study. Besides looking at how they can expand on the streetscape, the study also looked at increasing law enforcement in the region, improving neighborhoods around West Broad Street and redeveloping specific sites on West Broad Street.
The study found that focus areas for improvement should be Lincoln Village, the West Broad Street commercial frontage, Hilton Avenue and the mix addition area.
For Lincoln Village, the study advised the township to create incentives and strategies to motivate residents to upgrade their 1950s homes. The study said by doing this, the township would ensure long-term stability and viability of this neighborhood.
For the West Broad Street commercial frontage, the study focused on the Westland Square Shopping Center, Lincoln Village Plaza and freestanding retail buildings. The study recommended identifying opportunities to create activity nodes that would improve the walkability of the corridor.
For Hilton Avenue, the study looked at a multi-family housing development with aged infrastructure and buildings. The study recommended developing strategies to improve the property’s condition and enhance the character of the entire Hilton Avenue corridor.
The mix addition identified in the study consists of single-family properties and vacant lots. This also includes freeway frontage along I-270, and is in close proximity to the I-270 and West Broad Street interchange. The study recommends economic development in this area.
In other news, the township trustees approved a proposal to refinance bonds the township issued in 2013 for the community center. The township could save about $560,000 as a result of the refinancing. The trustees plan to discuss the issue again later in October.