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Published: Wednesday, 5/19/2010

Oregon sowing landscaping plans along State Rt. 2

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

In an effort to improve Oregon's main commercial corridor along State Rt. 2, an application is being assembled to seek an up to $20,000 state grant to pay for landscaping materials at the I-280 exit.

The proposed landscaping, which features a "Welcome to Oregon" sign made from 8-foot granite boulders in a bed of red stones, could be installed this fall if the city receives the Ohio Department of Transportation grant, Oregon City Council member Sandy Bihn said.

"This would really clean it up, make a nice gateway to the community," said Mrs. Bihn, who is helping to lead a group of city officials, business owners, and residents working on improving Route 2's appearance.

At last week's meeting the group also discussed putting a blue business logo sign near the I-280 exit for Route 2 to designate services for travelers, such as restaurants, hotels, and fuel.

ODOT will allow a special sign on I-280 that would withstand high winds because of its proximity to the Veterans' Glass City Skyway bridge, but it will cost interested businesses $15,000 to $20,000 to install plus regular fees, Mrs. Bihn said. Interested businesses, ODOT, and the logo-sign firm will meet, she said.

For the landscaping grant, businesses and civic organizations will have to commit to doing maintenance for five years, Mrs. Bihn said. The proposed design uses low maintenance yet colorful plants, including weigela shrubs, which will not require irrigation, she said.

Among the other topics discussed included a plan to send letters to Route 2 businesses to encourage them to use a nautical landscaping theme with waterfront plants or grasses, and the possibility of the city putting up U.S. flags for holidays.

Karen Magnone, regional manager of Comfort Inn East and Sleep Inn & Suites in Oregon, asked about erecting a sign that would indicate Route 2 as a scenic drive to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky.

Group members also discussed the status of the vacant Food Town building. A couple of discount retailers have considered the building, as well as a church and some people who would turn it into a banquet facility, Gary Thompson, executive director of the Oregon Economic Development Foundation, said.



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