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Downtown RevitalizationFINDLAY, OHIO – (Toledo News Now) Findlay City Council has taken the next step in improving safety in the city’s downtown.

In a unanimous vote, council members gave Service and Safety Director Paul Schmelzer permission to apply for the ODOT transportation alternatives program grant.

The grant would go towards the city’s downtown revitalization plan which includes bumpouts to improve pedestrian safety, mid-block crossings, a bike path on Cory Street and other aspects.

“We want to drive more people downtown, we want more business downtown and we think this is one step towards getting that done,” said Schmelzer.

If the city is awarded the grant, ODOT would cover 80 percent of funding for the qualifying aspects – about $3 million. The other 20 percent would be locally funded. That doesn’t necessarily mean it would be with taxpayer dollars.

“The city of Findlay is fortunate to have marathon behind this project and hopefully with their contribution to the downtown revitalization plan through the CRA dollars from their new campus, the Captial Improvement Plan locally, won’t be impacted,” said Schmelzer.

Reversed angle parking has been taken out of the project, as well as reducing the traffic lanes from 4 to 2 to better benefit the main goal and original purpose of the revitalization plan – pedestrian safety.

“Unfortunately we have two crossing areas downtown that are high for pedestrian accidents, some of the highest in northwest Ohio. So that’s really why we started looking at this project to start with,” said Councilwoman Ann Spence.

“Safety plays a factor. When you have good connectivity and pedestrians feel safe and it feels like a close environment, you tend to feel more like you’re in a destination and that’s what we hope will bring more people downtown,” said Schmelzer.

If approved, construction could start in 2016.

Written by Nick Bade

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