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Sylvania seeks 'SOMO' ideas at Jan. 25 meeting for study

Redevelopment of 5.5 city-owned acres on the southeast side of downtown Sylvania will be the subject of a public-input meeting this month.

The so-called "SOMO" property is bounded roughly by Monroe Street, Ten Mile Creek and its north branch, the Wingate Hotel, Joe's Tire Store, and 6489 Monroe and includes the former sites of several houses and other buildings the city bought to clear and redevelop.

The city has hired Boulevard Strategies, of Columbus, for a site marketing study. Information gathered during the meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25 in City Council Chambers, will be included in that study.

"This is an opportunity for any citizen to voice what they would like to see in this project," said Bill Sanford, the city's economic development and administrative services coordinator.

Sylvania bought the property from several owners over the past three years for about $1 million combined.

Its redevelopment is part of a broader city campaign to beautify and improve Monroe Street between downtown and U.S. 23, a corridor that is Sylvania's main gateway.

The land borders part of the route of the proposed Sylvania River Trail, a recreational path along Ten Mile Creek for which the first construction phase, between Harroun Road and Main Street, is scheduled to begin this year.

When completed, the trail is to run about 1.1 miles along Ten Mile and the Ottawa River between Monroe Street just east of U.S. 23 and Silica Drive near Northview High School.

City consultants also have drafted plans for a streetscape on Monroe between U.S. 23 and Harroun that would include a partially landscaped median, decorative lighting, and sidewalks set back from the curb instead of at the roadway's edge.

Landscaping at the U.S. 23 end is likely to start this year, Mr. Sanford said, and officials also plan to review traffic signs in the area to identify unnecessary ones.

Last year, the city put up "wayfinding" signs directing motorists to government offices, schools, and other community destinations.

The signs have a unified, decorative appearance and replaced a hodgepodge that had been put up over the years.

The sign project included a new programmable electronic sign at Monroe and Main streets that features messages about community events.

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