Centerville announces concept plans to revitalize uptown area

Local News

CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – The city of Centerville wants to revitalize its uptown area and has devised a multi-million dollar concept plan that would take a couple of years to complete.

Its plans focus on six key areas that city leaders said will make the area more upscale.

Mary Ellen Lee owns Pieces of Style, a women’s boutique that has been on West Franklin Street in Centerville for 13 years. During that time, she’s seen neighboring businesses come and go.

“We would like more bars and restaurants and that kind of thing to come in here, and I’ve said often, if there are people walking around in the streets, I’ll stay open in the evening but right now that’s not happening,” said Lee.

Centerville’s Development Director Mike Norton-Smith said a committee was tasked with the comprehensive visioning process for Uptown in 2019 with a focus group of more than a dozen stakeholders representing businesses, residents, government partners and community groups.

Their action plan was approved by Centerville City Council in August 2019, and Norton-Smith said they have spent the past several months working with a design firm on the action plans that were announced on Tuesday.

“Uptown is a great asset for our community but this plan really makes some enhancements that will make it more attractive for businesses, for our residents, and for our visitors, really make it a destination for our community,” said Norton-Smith.

He said their plans focus on six strategies: improving walkability and reducing traffic congestion, improving parking, scheduling and organizing new events, focusing on business development, developing branding and increasing greenspace.

“I think walkability is the main thing I’m looking for because that translates to traffic into my business,” said Lee. “And greenspace will help make the overall area look nicer,” said Lee.

The plans are broken down into three phases and three quadrants. Norton-Smith estimates the total price tag will be about $10 million.

“We really anticipate that some of the first signs of the plans being implemented will be things like lighting, street furniture, benches, then some signage around wayfinding, and that should happen in 2021,” said Norton-Smith.

He said the bulk of the work will likely happen in 2022.

The City is planning a public opportunity to share more details about development in Uptown and answer questions. An open house will be Wednesday, Sept. 16 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Centerville Police Department Training Room. In line with the guidelines for social distancing, masks will be required at all meetings. Attendance will be monitored and limited if necessary to comply with social distancing guidelines.

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