Will Costco come to Perrsyburg? I think so, and I hope so.
But I hope to in the right spot.
Residents of the town seem to overwhelmingly want this enlightened big-box company to come there. Costco is, by all accounts, well run, it pays well, and it is even “green” — environmentally aware.
So what’s the problem?
Location, location, location.
The proposed site at State Rt. 25 and Eckel Junction Road.
It’s a dumb site; a bad site.
I spent some time in Perrysburg last week and again Monday — driving up and down Route 25 and Eckel Junction, and trying to understand the much discussed, so-called alternative sites. To me, the proposed site looks like the worst of all possible options, at least from the standpoint of the residents.
At a hearing last week, resident after resident rose to say: Costco, yes; this location, no.
There are four compelling reasons to say no:
● A traffic congestion problem that is already acute and likely will get worse if Costco goes to Eckel Junction, possibly backing up the interstate and making access to the only local emergency room more difficult.
Big-box impingement on residential areas — nice homes at Callander Corner and Meadow Creek — which a plain reading of the city charter seems to explicitly prohibit. Why should these property owners get the shaft if there are alternatives?
● A major gas line must be moved. (Google “gas line explosions” if you want an eye-opener.)
● The Ohio Department of Transportation and Columbia Gas have not yet signed off on the project. There is also potential federal involvement regarding the gas line.
And here’s the kicker: There are several other acceptable, indeed preferable sites — the most prominent being one to the north just past the auto dealers on Route 25 and two to the south at Roachton Road, going to Bowling Green. There are more options. There is abundant open space that does not involve neighborhoods or gas lines. Granted, they are not visible from the highway. But neither is the Costco in West Toledo.
How about a sign by the highway? Wouldn’t that be better than messing up a whole town?
People are going to go to Costco, even if it is a half-mile from the exit.
Costco may prefer this site. But it could live with another. It will likely not take its marbles and go home. Why not back off and pick a better site? Changing sites seems to have little downside. Sticking to this site, is nuts.
Putting Costco at Eckel Road, with its cheap gas and out lots (fast food), will likely make things unmanageable — and dangerous. But not as dangerous as moving a gas line.
My hope is that Costco itself will do what city fathers and mothers have failed to do: the reasonable thing. If it picks an alternative site, it wins public good will, avoids moving a gas line, and spares itself and its customers an unmanageable traffic snarl. That’s a win-win.
Keith C. Burris is a columnist for The Blade.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6266.