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Published: Wednesday, 2/10/2010

Oregon group seeks ways to tout businesses

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A group of Oregon officials, business owners, and residents is continuing to look into adding blue business logo signs near I-280 exits for State Rt. 2 to designate services such as restaurants and hotels, as well as mulling other ways to distinguish the city's main commercial thoroughfare.

While it would be possible to have northbound I-280 signs, getting southbound signs - the more likely route for tourists - will be more difficult because of the proximity of the Veterans' Glass City Skyway bridge, said Gary Thompson, who is the executive director of the Oregon Economic Development Foundation.

Placing logo signs for Oregon's Route 2 before the bridge is one possibility the group plans to investigate.

Placing directional blue "food," "hotel," and "gas" signs on the Route 2 exit ramp was another option discussed last week during the newly formed group's monthly meeting.

"That would be better than nothing," Karen Magnone, regional manager of Comfort Inn East and Sleep Inn & Suites in Oregon, said.

Oregon City Council member Sandy Bihn said she would like to see other improvements made along Route 2, such as landscaping.

Mrs. Bihn said she is concerned about what will happen with the vacant Food Town building and would like to attract more businesses.

"I have a passion for appearance," Mrs. Bihn, who is coordinating group meetings with the help of Mr. Thompson, said. "I think it raises the community up a little bit."

Mrs. Bihn added: "I want a vibrant commercial area. I think it's healthy for the community."

Another way Route 2's appearance could be improved is extending holiday lights beyond the Wheeling Street and Navarre Avenue area, Ms. Magnone, who is part of the group, said.

"It would have been low-cost but a huge difference," she said.

The group is trying to assemble a list of Route 2 businesses and their owners or managers. The panel also hopes to increase participation in the group's improvement activities.

It is considering giving business owners suggestions on how to landscape their properties with grasses, large ropes, boulders, and timbers to follow a waterfront theme. The group has discussed seeking a grant for landscaping improvements.

Adding banners along Route 2 denoting local tourist activities such as boating, fishing, and birding is a possibility the group has discussed as well.

The group's next meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. March 3 in the Oregon branch library meeting room. For more information, contact Mrs. Bihn at sandybihn@aol.com or Mr. Thompson at gthompson@oregonohio.com.



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