CAMDEN — Council discussed the impact to local businesses of planned improvements to the intersection of U.S. 127 and SR-725 during its second bi-monthly meeting Thursday, June 17.
Sherri Koons, president of Powerhouse Pizza, Inc., presented a letter to the council protesting plans to close portions of W. Central Ave during the planned construction, saying this would negatively impact her business.
Street closures could restrict access to the drive-through window on the west side of the Powerhouse property, according to Koons, while plans to add turning lanes to the north and southbound lanes of U.S. 127 could reduce the size of the restaurant’s parking area.
“We already have too little parking as it is,” Koons said. “And if I can’t use my drive-through, that’s 80 percent of my income.”
Doug Kramer, of Eaton-based civil engineering firm Kramer & Associates, updated the council on plans for construction near the SR-725 intersection on May 20. The project, paid for by a traffic safety grant of approximately $2 million from the State of Ohio, will also include new sidewalks, curbs and storm drainage on the south side of W. Central Ave.
Village Administrator Rusty Wilson and council member Debbie Hickman assured Koons that, while the final say on the project will come from the Ohio Dept. of Transportation (ODOT), current plans only constitute a “first draft,” with a second draft due in the fall and work expected to begin in 2023.
“It’s not a done deal,” Hickman said. “We don’t have a lot of businesses in town, and we want to treat the ones we have fairly.”
Council member Jeff Steele agreed.
“We’re in your corner on this, 100 percent,” Steele said.
Hickman stressed that improvements to the intersection are necessary, however, with a traffic study by Loveland, Ohio-based Choice One Engineering, commissioned by the village in 2018, reporting that crashes are above statewide averages for such an intersection.
“People are getting killed out there,” Hickman said. 25 crashes occurred at the intersection between 2014 and 2018, according to the Choice One report.
Councilman Kelly Doran expressed similar sentiments.
“It’s the most dangerous intersection for miles around,” Doran said.
Camden Car Show
Local business owner Darrel Cottle addressed the council about plans for a car show to take place the first Thursday of each month, beginning July 1.
“We want to open it up to cars, motorcycles, collector tractors – anything that’s worth looking at and being seen,” Cottle said.
Cottle stated he’d been working with Camden Comeback representative Ashley Brandenburg Myers, who previously addressed the council about plans for a farmer’s market to be held Thursday afternoons in Veterans Park during the summer and fall.
“So once a week we’ll have the farmer’s market, and once a month we’ll have cars as well,” Cottle said.
Cottle said he’d like to see the event take place at “the center of town,” near the intersection of Central Ave. and Main St.
“We want to get things going and get people seeing some old cars, even if it’s just a small handful at first,” Cottle said.
In other business
Village Administrator Rusty Wilson informed the council that new security cameras to be installed in local playgrounds and parks had arrived.
“We should be able to get those together shortly,” Wilson said.
Wilson raised the issue of “continuous vandalism” taking place in Camden’s playgrounds and parks during the council’s May 20 meeting. Steele made a motion to purchase cameras and other equipment at a cost of up to $5,000 on June 3, which was approved by unanimous vote.
Also during the meeting, council member Kelly Doran made a motion to proceed with plans for a splash pad to be located in WaterWorks Park at a cost not to exceed $45,000-60,000 for the splash pad itself and an additional $10,000-15,000 for additional concrete work, including a path to make the attraction accessible to older residents and residents in wheelchairs. The motion was approved by unanimous vote.
Village Council meetings take place the first and third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in Camden Town Hall.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish