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After a year of planning, Toledo city officials and neighborhood representatives finally have agreed on a way to keep Bancroft Street growing and developing.
At an open house Thursday night, officials revealed their plans for the Bancroft Reconstruction Project.
David Dysard, planning administrator with the city’s division of engineering services, presided over the open house at the Collingwood Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Dysard said the city has worked closely with neighborhood volunteers serving on a design review team to figure out the right balance between the design of the street and the cost of the project.
About 80 percent of the $2.6 million project will be paid for with federal transportation grant money. Local matching funds and money from the Ohio Public Works Commission will pay for the rest of the work. Crews are expected to begin work on the project shortly after the 2015 Old West End Festival next summer.
One issue of particular importance to the design team involves the trees along Bancroft. City officials are eager to avoid the same kind of controversy that surrounded plans to cut down more than 70 trees along Collingwood Boulevard during a project last year.
Plans for Bancroft do call for tree removal, but the city will replace the trees they cut down, authorities said.
“We brought in a state forester and she reviewed all of the trees,” Mr. Dysard said. “She determined that only 10 to 11 of the existing trees were healthy enough to be worth trying to save.”
The project group then gathered a list of recommended tree species for the area as well as specific locations where the trees would best thrive.
“The city has a strong commitment to replace the trees and develop a healthy canopy along the street. They may take a while to grow, but we are investing in the future and stability of the neighborhood,” Mr. Dysard said.
The project also has been extended beyond the originally planned area between Ashland Avenue and Maplewood Avenue. The project now extends further westward to Monroe Street.
Lisa Kerrigan, a member of the design review team, said, “A big goal of ours was to slow traffic down. We wanted to narrow the road and the visual feel of it.” She said the current street has no transition point to signal that it is a residential area.
The lanes on Bancroft between Ashland Street and Monroe Street will be narrowed to 11 feet in each direction. After considering requests from public meetings, designers also added 5-foot bike lanes.
The project will remove two traffic signals at Scottwood and Parkwood avenues. All other stoplights will be replaced with newer, more updated equipment.
One design team member, Mary Weil, particularly is excited about the gateway piers that will be built on either side of Bancroft between Maplewood Street and Glenwood Avenue, which will read, “Historic Old West End.”
“The approach to Old West End now is a plain city street,” Ms. Weil said. “This will keep the neighborhood growing and redeveloping.”