Safety features to help with crossing the street included in $1.8M cost.
The flashers signal to drivers to stop when someone wants to cross the street. Center splitter islands were also added to the crosswalks so someone can stop there if necessary to finish crossing safely.
The project has been a test of patience for downtown Urbana business owners. Carmazzi’s Delicatessen and Candy and Cafe Paradiso owners Pat and Patsy Thackery said the quadrant of the square where the candy store sits has been the staging area for construction crews’ equipment and supplies.
“We’ve had no parking, so yes our business is down (at Car-mazzi’s) but we are confident that as soon as everything’s done, it’ll be back to normal,” said Patsy Thackery.
But Pat Thackery said business at Cafe Paradiso, on the quadrant of the square east of Carmazzi’s has actually picked up. He said their best weekend in 13 years was when Cafe Paradiso’s corner was closed for construction.
Thackery, also a city councilman, said over the years he’s witnessed several accidents on the square.
City officials have previously said over a three-year study period there were 60 crashes.
Thackery said he’s hopeful that the improvements are a step in the right direction to keep people safe.
“We moved back here like 26, 27 years ago, and this is the biggest project I’ve seen,” he said. “I think all said and done — spring when the flowers are planted — everybody is gonna be proud of this circle.”
Over at Oxner’s General Store, cashier Charma Brown said the completion of the project wrapped up just in time. Downtown Urbana’s Holiday Open House is happening this weekend, where stores and restaurants will be open with extended hours for customers.
She said pedestrian safety comes first and foremost, and she’s already noticed drivers slowing down and being more aware of people crossing the streets.
“I just think if people will be patient, work together and embrace it — the roundabout is going to be a fantastic change for Urbana,” Brown said.
Funding for the project comes from an Ohio Department of Transportation Safety Grant, an ODOT Small Cities Grant, an ODOT Urban Resurfacing Grant and funds from the Ohio Public Works Commission for water main replacements.
Water mains downtown were also improved.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the roundabout will be held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Legacy Park.
Contact this reporter at Jenna.Lawson@coxinc.com
The News-Sun has walked readers through the phases of the Urbana roundabout reconstruction since the project began in May. Urbana will have a ribbon cutting on Tuesday at 4 p.m.
BY THE NUMBERS
Click here to read full article on Springfield News- Sun.
The water main replacement work is funded by a 0% interest loan and a grant through the Ohio Public Works Commission. The roundabout safety improvements and final resurfacing total approximately $1.2 million, with federal Small Cities, Safety, and Urban Resurfacing funds through the Ohio Department of Transportation paying approximately $950,000 of these costs.
The fifth phase of the project has closed Miami Street between Monument Square and Walnut Street since Sept. 23. This section of roadway is scheduled to reopen on or before Nov. 6.
The Miami Street closure was planned to be the shortest closure of the project, but a week of closure is being added to assist the contractor in the final resurfacing work on the project. This closure will be equal in duration to the previous closures for the other legs of the project. Local and state route detours will remain posted.
The sixth and final phase of the project involves the final resurfacing of the project area, including the milling of the existing pavement surface, resurfacing and striping. Weather permitting, the contractor plans to mill the existing pavement surface on two consecutive evenings during the nighttime hours beginning Sunday, Oct. 27. Due to forecasted overnight temperatures during the week of Oct. 27, the paving work has been scheduled to occur during daytime hours versus the overnight paving schedule originally planned.
On-street parking restrictions will be posted within work areas during the milling and resurfacing work, and vehicles parked in violation will be towed. During some phases of paving work, thru-traffic may be restricted. In addition, flaggers will be used by the contractor to maintain traffic.
Businesses will remain open during this final construction phase, and city officials ask that residents and visitors patronize downtown businesses. On-street parking within the project area will be affected during the paving work, but nearby parking lots and on-street parking outside the project area will remain available.
For timely updates due to weather delays during the pavement resurfacing portion of the project, check the city’s website (urbanaohio. com) and Facebook page.
$40K will be spent to look at challenges facing Urbana, county’s 3 villages
“We want development to occur where there is available or nearby infrastructure. We are an agricultural community and we want to be able to preserve agricultural land as well,” she added.
The study will cost $40,000, and it will be paid for with funds set aside by Champaign County commissioners to be used for economic development, Bailey said. The study aims to compare municipalities in the county to others in the state that are tackling similar problems such as aging housing stock, a fair number of blighted properties and limited land for new housing developments.
Bailey said the study will be similar to the one recently conducted in Springfield that looked at what the city could do to attract new housing opportunities.
The Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis for Springfield was released in August and made six major recommendations to city officials.
Those recommendations included playing into preexisting assets, continued focus on downtown revitalization and rehabbing existing housing stock.
Bailey said her organization is looking to do the same in Champaign County and wants to use the findings of their study to make the area more marketable to developers. She said that includes looking at what new housing options would work best in the county, whether that would be smaller single family homes or loft apartments in recently renovated buildings.
“One of the big things that we are looking at right now is what type of housing is in demand,” she said. “We are seeing more loft apartments in downtown Urbana for example. We want to continue that trend.”
Bill Bean, the mayor of Urbana, said his city is landlocked and there is not much land available to develop new single family homes. He said, instead, some property owners in downtown Urbana are turning the second and third stories of their buildings into loft apartments.
“Instead of growing out, we are growing up,” he said.
Bailey said in the city’s Monument Square, she estimates 10 loft apartments and says more are currently being developed.
However, the city’s last major housing development was completed in the early 2000s. The subdivision known as Parmore Estates, on the eastern edge of the city, consisted of 90 single family lots as well as two condo sections of 20 lots each, according to its developer Bill Parker, who is the president of Par-Mee Development Corp.
He is currently working on a subdivision called Park Place of Urbana. The first phase of that project will consist of 13 small, patio/single family homes along Powell Avenue, which is expected to be completed in the next two years, Parker said.
Bean said, however, land for new housing developments can be hard to find in the city. He said it depends on whether property owners are interested in selling their property or are working with a developer.
“In order for us to grow, we need to get developers to look at us. We need to let them know what we have to offer,” he said.
Bean said he believes the housing study will be a good tool for future development not only in Urbana but also in the county as a whole.
Greg Kimball, the mayor of Mechanicsburg, said his village has similar housing problems such as the lack of available land for new developments and a limited number of developers operating in the area. He said there is also a fair number of nuisance properties in the village.
Kimball said he hopes the study will help them work around those issues as the village hopes to reassess its housing stock while working to increase property values.
Contact this reporter at 937- 328-0355 or email Hasan.Abdul-Karim@cmg.com.
BY THE NUMBERS
Estimated population of Champaign County in 2018, according to U.S. Census Bureau
Number of cities and villages in Champaign County that will be examined as part of the housing study
The cost of the housing study, which is expected to be completed in January
The Springfield News-Sun has provided extensive coverage of housing and employment issues in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent stories on wages, job opportunities and a recent housing study conducted in Springfield.
The Cobblestone Hotel is starting to take shape. Concrete was poured early Friday morning, and on Sunday, the framing crew started. Floor joists are coming this Thursday. The goal is to have this totally framed by Thanksgiving.
The three-story, 54-room hotel is being built at intersection of 68 & 55 on the south end of Urbana. The project is expected to be completed by May of 2020.
Click here to learn more about the project and what it will mean for Champaign County!
Longtime Springfield business expanding, as it has large customer base in Champaign County city
“Wallace and Turner has always had a large customer base in Urbana and it continues to grow, so it was a natural decision to open a second location there,” said Patrick Field, a partner with the insurance agency. “We want to make the insurance process as simple as possible for clients and having a physical presence will make it even more convenient for them to stop in and ask questions or update their policy.”
Wallace and Turner has operated locally in Springfield since 1870 and provides personal and commercial coverage, according to a news release sent this week.
The agency is also a long-standing member of Associated Risk Managers International, Keystone Insurers Group, Trusted Choice, Ohio Insurance Agents Association and Independent Insurance Agents Association, both in Ohio and nationally, the release said.
“The office addition demonstrates Wallace & Turner’s continued commitment to providing the best services we can to our surrounding communities,” said P.J. Miller , a partner with Wallace and Turner. “Our agency is deeply invested in supporting our clients, their families and businesses, and we look forward to expanding our relationships throughout Urbana.”
Contact this reporter at 937-328-0355 or email Hasan.Abdul-Karim@cmg.com.
“(The developer) has indicated to us if they’re able to secure that grant, then they can move forward toward a closing to this project,” said Doug Crabill, Urbana’s community development manager.
Crabill, as well as Marcia Bailey, director of Champaign County Economic Development, have been working with Flaherty & Collins Properties, a developer based in Indianapolis that has expressed interest in the project, to secure the funding for “Legacy Place.”
The project would convert the Douglas Hotel, as well as the former North and South Elementary Schools in Urbana, into affordable senior apartments.
Click here to read full article on SpringfieldNewsSun.com.
This closure of Miami Street is anticipated to last about five weeks.
During construction on Miami Street, access to the Miami Street public parking lot and the adjacent alleyway will be maintained from West Court Street. Local and U.S. route detours will be posted.
After the fifth phase, the entire project area will be resurfaced and re-striped. The entire roundabout project is expected to be completed by Nov. 6.
Project updates continue to be posted to the city’s website at urbanaohio.com and on the city’s Facebook page. A project bulletin board with project information and updates is at Legacy Park in Monument Square and on the north side of Monument Square.
Businesses remain open throughout the construction. Parking is affected, but there is plenty of parking in the downtown area a short walk from any destination.
The city’s contractor for the Monument Square Roundabout /U.S. routes 68 and 36 upgrade is R.B. Jergens Contractors Inc. The project includes safety improvements to the existing roundabout, additional lighting, and water line replacement work. The project is funded with federal Small Cities, Safety, and Urban Resurfacing funds through the Ohio Department of Transportation. The water main replacement work is funded by a loan and a grant through the Ohio Public Works Commission. The balance of project funding is being provided by the city of Urbana Capital Improvement funds, including the Stormwater and Water funds.
Info from the city of Urbana.