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Residents asked to weigh in on Rocky River master plan

 

By SUE BOTOS

ROCKY RIVER – Planners again sought public input on the next phase of the city’s master plan during a meeting last Thursday. The gathering, which drew about 100 to the Don Umerley Civic Center, was the second in a series of community information sessions about the the plan.

The project group, consisting of city and county officials and a working group of business owners, school district representatives and residents, has been meeting since February under the guidance of the Cuyahoga County Planning Commission to retool the city road map, which was last updated in 2005.

The city received a $60,000 grant last year from the Cuyahoga County Department of Development, which is paying for the work. The city applied for the funding to fulfill the city charter mandate calling for review of the plan every 10 to 12 years.

“We’ve accomplished a great deal since the master plan was last updated,” Mayor Pam Bobst said. “This is a guiding document that does not sit on a shelf. This is something that is used all of the time.”

Improvements include enhancement to city parks, multi-million dollar sewer projects, the latest of which is underway on Hampton, Lakeview and Hilliard roads, and more than $50 million in infrastructure work, funded by zero interest loans, she said.

Glenn Coyne, executive director of the county commission, said that results of a resident survey, a study of current conditions and input from the April public meeting identified recurring themes that are being considered by the work group.

These subjects include the need for more public space, senior housing, park renovations and parking in Downtown River, County planner Nichole Laird said.

“We used these themes to develop some potential projects like public space in Downtown River,” she said.

These themes can be a catalyst for future development and a framework, senior planner Patrick Hewitt said. Feedback from the first meeting was narrowed down to nine core projects, some that could take 10 years to complete.

Among the core projects Hewitt highlighted were the “Westway Gateway,” which would make the Westway bridge over Interstate 90 more pedestrian friendly, and a “Wooster Road Gateway” to make the road that borders Metroparks more attractive, safe and accessible.

Other proposed upgrades include a Downtown River parking structure, improved parking and sidewalks on Linda Street and walkable development on the eastern portion of Center Ridge Road.

Noting the need for landscaping, safer sidewalks and more attractive buildings, Hewitt said that this project would take considerable time, and could result in a thinner street and more walkable development.

Some people didn’t like to focus on certain areas, but citywide, Hewitt said. Besides the nine core projects, six general goals were being considered, including a public parks master plan, infrastructure improvement, a bike trail and network, incentives to rehabilitate distressed properties, green infrastructure projects and more senior amenities.

After the presentation, residents were invited to review poster-sized maps of the nine core projects as well as the six citywide goals which were displayed around the room, and attach notes with their suggestions or mark trouble spots with stickers.

“This is not final by any stretch of the imagination,” Hewitt said. “We know not all of this will make it to the planning commission.”

Coyne said that the next step will be to gather this information, plus input from online surveys and formulate an implementation plan, which will be presented at a public meeting in October.

“We can’t tell you what project is in the lead,” said Coyne. “We want you to tell us what you want done. During the next phase, he said, more of a time table will be available.

Master plan progress can be followed at www.countyplanning.us/rockyriver. A survey from the meeting is available for additional comments at www.surveymonkey.com/r/RockyRiverPM2Survey.

 

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