GREENVILLE – Outdoor dining and new stamped concrete sidewalks in downtown Greenville will have to wait and may not get done this summer. Cassie Campbell, managing partner with The Merchant House, presented a proposal to Greenville City Council on Tuesday asking to lease the city’s right-of-way and establish an outdoor dining area. Council President John Burkett delayed a decision by turning the matter over to the safety committee and asking for a report by the second meeting in August.
Burkett originally asked for the report at the first meeting in September, but because the city is planning to remove the brick pavers and replace them with stamped concrete along South Broadway in the downtown district, he moved up the deadline by two weeks. However, Safety Service Director Curt Garrison told council he was ready to bring legislation to council at their next to put the project out for bid. Because both projects work in conjunction with each other, the sidewalk project will also be delayed until the safety committee presents its report.
Campbell wants to follow the lead of the restaurant 600 Downtown in Bellefontaine in building an attractive outdoor dining area in front of The Merchant House. In order to accomplish this goal, the restaurant would need to eliminate three to four parking spots on South Broadway. The dining area would partially jet out into the current parking area and pedestrians would have a sidewalk around the dining area. According to Campbell and Garrison, there would be an additional two to three feet of space from the curb to the lane of travel.
Campbell believes outdoor dining would allow the business to increase its staff by 25 percent and would increase sales by 20 percent.
The Merchant House is also asking the city to assess the cost of the sidewalk.
The city previously transferred CIP (Capital Improvements Program) funds for the paver replacement project. The estimated cost to replace the pavers with stamped concrete is $338,000. The city will also repair sections of the sidewalk on the side streets with an approximate cost of $275,000. Garrison said the city is prepared to advertise for bids, but agreed council would need to make a decision on The Merchant House proposal before the paver replacement project could begin.
The Safety Committee will meet on Monday, July 8, 6 p.m., in the City Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, Greenville, to review right-of-way improvements to the Merchant House in conjunction with the South Broadway sidewalk project.
Garrison also gave council a proposal to run conduit along the side streets while this project is being done in the event the city would decide to install acorn-style street lights in the future. The cost to run the conduit only, no electric, is estimated at $135,000. Although funds have already been approved for the paver replacement and sidewalk repair project in the downtown area, council would need to approve the additional funds to run the conduit.
In other business, council gave preliminary approval to proceed with obtaining an Ohio Public Works Grant in the amount of $800,000 to rebuild Ohio Street from Martin to the bridge. The work would include new infrastructure, the addition of a bicycle lane and the expansion of the sidewalks on the bridge. The city is working towards completing rebuilding the length of Ohio Street from Martin to Fourth Street, but the total cost would be approximately $5 million. Garrison suggested completing the project in phases. This first phase would cost $1.6 million with half being paid through the $800,000 grant. According to Garrison, completion of the project would be contingent upon receiving the grant.
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