Wednesday, March 07, 2001

Fairfax approves gateway proposal

Plan would create 'downtown' identity

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FAIRFAX — Village council has approved a redevelopment plan for the town's main thoroughfare, Wooster Pike, hoping to create a “downtown” identity and improve traffic flow.

        The Wooster Pike Corridor District Revitalization Plan calls for the development of restaurants, a three-story office building, a mixture of novelty shops and entertainment outlets, expanding existing retail/office space, and better access onto and off Wooster Pike for businesses.

        Owners of some of the 137 businesses along Wooster Pike are supporting the plan.

        The Frisch's Mainliner at Wooster Pike and Southern Avenue would be moved closer to Wooster Pike to increase the space for Frisch's, and to add a seasonal-use farmer's market.

        “It couldn't do anything but help our business,” said Shannon Hammond, manager. “I think it would be nice to have a more business-like, friendly atmosphere in this area.”

        Doug Taylor, manager of Midas Auto Service, 6103 Wooster Pike, said the plan calls for extending Watterson Avenue across his parking lot, but he likes the idea.

        “I see lots of accidents here, and I think if that street is extended it will slow down the traffic and maybe cut down on the accidents,” Mr. Taylor said. “I like the idea of creating a downtown shopping atmosphere, maybe something like what Mariemont has done along Wooster Pike.”

        Jennifer Kaminer, village administrator, said the village is prepared to provide improvements such as streetscaping and even building new streets.

        She said officials will highlight the area with gateway signs.

        “We want people to know when they are in Fairfax,” Mrs. Kaminer said. “This is the area where 25,000 vehicles move through every day. We want them to see a Wooster Pike Corridor image with a connection of business districts on both sides of Wooster Pike.”

        She estimates that the village would spend about $150,000 for initial engineering studies and infrastructure.

        “We have no idea of cost now for the entire development,” she said.

        Mrs. Kaminer said they were interested in getting an upscale restaurant on Wooster Pike and a pharmacy.

        “The closest pharmacies are in Madisonville and Mariemont. Rite Aid had plans of building a store here last year but canceled,” she said. “We would like commercial office building and some residential development on the northside of Wooster.”

        The Village wants to attract developers to buy land and parcels in the area and redevelop it.

        There is no time frame. Mrs. Kaminer said they have met with several developers, including Neyer Construction Inc. of Fairfax; Spinnerweber Builders Inc., Mariemont, and Jeffrey Anderson Real Estate in downtown Cincinnati.

        “They have asked me to take a look at their plan, and I find it interesting,” said Jeff Anderson. “We do a lot of the lifestyle kind of development which this would be. I think they have done the right thing in coming up with a plan, but that is as far as it has gone with us.”

        The revitalization plan is the result of a yearlong study by the Village Planning Commission, the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission and the Hamilton County Office of Economic Development.

        Terry Timmers, chairman of the planning commission, said much of the plan is based on comments generated by two public meetings.

        “Our plans are to dress up Wooster Pike and encourage people to stop and shop,” Mr. Timmers said.


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