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Debate rages over downtown Perrysburg project

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    Perrysburg has proposed spending over $2 million on a downtown beautification project.

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    People listen in Perrysburg City Council chambers to a debate on the proposed $2.3 million downtown beautification project.

    THE BLADE/MATT THOMPSON
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Perrysburg has proposed spending over $2 million on a downtown beautification project.

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As hundreds of families swarmed downtown Perrysburg Thursday for the weekly farmer’‍s market and live music, more than 60 people crammed in the Perrysburg city council chambers to debate a proposed $2.3 million downtown beautification project. 

The project includes constructoin of a roundabout at Front Street and Louisiana Avenue, which would involve moving the statue of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry at the intersection to the middle of the roundabout. Residents at Thursday’‍s open house were divided about the project.

“I’‍m very much in support,” said Sabrina Weaver, Downtown Perrysburg Inc. president. “I think it is an update with taste with keeps the downtown Perrysburg appeal with a twist.”

The mayor, city administrator, planning and zoning administrator, and a few engineers were on hand to answer questions and share a slide show and print outs about the project.

Most people opposed to the project said they were concerned with the roundabout. Residents are concerned the traffic structure will be unsafe or difficult for large trucks to navigate, among other issues. Others were unhappy that the proposal will dismantle the original design for Perrysburg.

“We already have a unique downtown,” said former Perrysburg mayor Jon Orser. “This is a replica of the failed Levis Commons, and we are not investing in our common core and wasting money.”

Mayor Mike Olmstead said he disagreed with Mr. Orser’s assessment of the plan. The economic development committee will consider the plan on Aug. 20. City Council could vote on it as soon as Sept. 20. 

beautification-debate

People listen in Perrysburg City Council chambers to a debate on the proposed $2.3 million downtown beautification project.

THE BLADE/MATT THOMPSON
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Plans call for landscaping to be installed along the middle of Louisiana Avenue, replacing a median lane. That would allow pedestrians to cross just one lane at a time on Louisiana Avenue. Other accents include lighting on trees and on the statue, which will have small fountains and a waterfall below it.

Andrew Langenderfer, a project manager at Tetra Tech engineering and Perrysburg resident, defended the plan when residents were concerned about the roundabout.

“When residents first hear about roundabouts they are four-to-one against it, after they have been in they are four to one in favor,” he said. 

Mr. Langenderfer has helped design many roundabouts in the area and said they reduce fatalities.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

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