WILMINGTON — The proposed cement medians get a “no” vote from concerned business owners.
While many of the owners of Rombach Avenue businesses voiced their support about aspects of the 2020 project at Thursday’s Wilmington City Council meeting, there was one thing they all spoke out against — the center cement medians.
Brian Smith of Smith-Feike-Minton Inc. on Rombach Avenue thanked council for allowing them to speak and express their concerns with the Rombach Avenue project.
Smith reiterated a previously made criticism, in that there were only 12 non-intersection accidents out of the accidents reported in a recent study, so the center medians that would prevent left turns would be pointless.
“We’re living in a world in dealing with customers who are concerned with convenience,” said Smith. “Look at Amazon, look at Door Dash. People don’t want to walk into retail, they don’t want to walk into a building to eat; they want it brought to them if they can.
“We deal with that every day and by putting these barriers, you’re making it just a little more inconvenient for our customers,,” he said.
Smith added that while it may only take an extra two minutes for customers to get to the businesses, he believes they won’t take those extra minutes.
“I spoke to ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) in regards to the project and they brought a few things to light. They said the center medians are not required for this project. It does not stop the project at all,” said Smith.
Keith Chambers, owner of Dairy Queen on Rombach Avenue, expressed his support for parts of the project but said the center medians could cause massive damage to his business flow — losing around 40% of it.
Mayor John Stanforth told the News Journal in August that the $6 million project will stretch from around First Financial Bank — where the roadway splits in front of Wilmington College — all the way to the Wilson Road intersection, past Walmart.
Among the construction to be done includes new pavement being placed, a new sidewalk allowing locals to walk to Walmart, constructing center lane medians, and installing state-of-the-art traffic lights — controlled by radar.
There will also be a strobe light on the bottom of each traffic light to let other drivers know that emergency service vehicles are on their way.
Stanforth addressed the concerns saying improving the traffic flow and safety of the corridor is the main objective of the project. He also said they’ve received feedback on all the elements and “made adjustments where the public benefited.”
Councilmember Kristi Fickert expressed gratitude for the speakers coming out and having a healthy discussion with them.
Councilmember Matt Purkey and some of the business owners believe there should be another discussion about the project where they invite others involved with the project to meet with locals, such as the engineers.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574