Road closures approved for Mt. Sterling special events

(Posted Feb. 15, 2024)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

On Feb. 12, Mount Sterling village council members unanimously approved temporary road closures for several Mount Sterling Chamber of Commerce events slated for 2024, along with American Legion Post 417’s Veterans Day ceremony.

Council member Becky Martin, also a Chamber member, originally requested the road closures at the Jan. 22 meeting. Council deferred a vote on the request at that time, instead sending the matter to the street committee which met later that week. At issue were concerns about traffic control and safety.

Representatives from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Madison County Sheriff’s Office provided input at the committee meeting. This year, there will be more traffic pattern signage, better placement of the signage, and improved bracing so the signage doesn’t blow over. During the events, the village will close off an alleyway that has caused issues with traffic flow in the past. The Sheriff’s Office will have more deputies on duty to enforce the traffic flow changes, and ODOT is working on Google map designations with the goal of diverting traffic around the village during special events.

Josh Narwald, a High Street resident, attended the Feb. 12 council meeting. He said his children often play on the sidewalk outside their home. He worries for their safety when traffic increases during special events.

After hearing the traffic safety measures planned for this year’s events, Narwald said, “That doesn’t completely allay my concerns, but I appreciate the effort.”

Gerald Spradlin, another High Street resident, said the Chamber does a great job of providing entertaining events for the community. However, he said he took exception to Martin’s comments from the Jan. 22 meeting in which she referred to residents with safety concerns as “complainers.”

“Just try to envision yourself living there with the tsunami of traffic and big semi trucks, parking issues, and all that,” he said. “People have their own concerns, and they should be able to express those concerns without being referred to as ‘complainers.’”

Martin apologized for her choice of words, saying she uttered them in a heated moment. She assured Spradlin that she takes all complaints seriously.

Martin thanked council for approving the road closures. She also thanked the community members and business owners who expressed frustration to her over council’s lack of a vote on the matter at the previous meeting. She noted that the Chamber has met with ODOT and the Sheriff’s Office in previous years to work out traffic issues.

“No one at any time was flying by the seat of their pants in the Chamber of Commerce, I’ll tell you that. We’ve done this for years,” she said, regarding consultation with authorities and village representatives regarding traffic safety.

The Chamber events planned for 2024 include: Summer Jam, June 13-15; Independence Day parade, July 4; Downtown Street Market and Car Show, Sept. 21; and Christmas in the Village, Dec. 7. The Legion Post’s Veterans Day ceremony is set for Nov. 11.

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