PORT CLINTON -- An estimated $3.5 million revamp of Madison Street, Port Clinton’s major downtown thoroughfare, will receive a big boost from an Ohio Department of Transportation grant announced today.
The state awarded the Ottawa County project about $2.35 million in federal funds to reconstruct two blocks of Madison Street, from Third Street to Perry Street.
The project’s full scope includes widening the sidewalks on both sides of the street by 3 to 5 feet to encourage outdoor dining and gathering spaces and add other pedestrian friendly upgrades, including brickwork details at several intersections. On-street parking will remain, but the narrower width will slow traffic, officials said.
Port Clinton Mayor Vince Leone praised the project, which he said will enhance a downtown area that can be overshadowed by the city’s waterfront stretch.
“As you… stand on Perry Street and look north, it’s a beautiful lake and a beautiful river. It draws you there. As we turn around it’s a little disappointing,” he said.
The street improvements are meant to encourage economic development as well as create more vitality downtown.
“With what’s proposed, we’re hoping it will slow the traffic down and get people to turn the corner and come and stop,” said Laura Schlachter, Main Street Port Clinton program manager and president of the Port Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce.
The funds come from ODOT’s Small City Program, which awards $8 million annually for road, safety, and signal projects in cities with populations between 5,000 and 24,999.
Port Clinton is one of five Ohio communities to receive the money this year. The Madison Street work will be done in 2016.
Another downtown Port Clinton project, to refurbish a couple blocks of Second Street, received prior Small City funding and work there will start in May.
Clyde was awarded $391,600 for a culvert replacement project on U.S. 20 as part of this year‘s grant awards.