Leave Feedback

Huron tackles vacant lots

Andy Ouriel • Feb 1, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Economic development at a popular intersection seems a bit awry, officials contend.

Fast-food titans McDonald’s and Subway, along with gas-giant Shell, line the area of Cleveland Road West (U.S. 6) and Rye Beach Road.

It works for some — about 4 million people each year pass through the corridor when going to and from Cedar Point.

But for some reason it hasn’t worked for all the businesses that have tried before, evident by multiple vacant buildings at or near this intersection.

City and township officials are developing a plan to spur business along the corridor.

Rye Beach Road splits Huron and Huron Township. The western portion of Cleveland Road West falls on township territory and the eastern side on city property.

“In 2014, we will all be looking at what potential concepts can be put into place and what definable tasks can happen to improve this area,” Huron city manager Andy White said.

Many positive factors recently occurring near the intersection should entice investment, White said, referring to a planned $16 million renovation and expansion at the BGSU Firelands College campus.

The funds aim to also improve the college’s facilities for training in high-demand degrees in the health care field.

Other signs of economic growth include International Automotive Components contributing funds to widen Rye Beach Road south of the Ohio 2 bridge, near the railroad crossing by Wendy’s. The $518,000 project occurred this past summer to accommodate more truck traffic at its entryway and an increased work force.

Several other businesses made substantial improvements in the nearby Huron Corporate Park, including n2y, through tax-financing agreements.

The improvements, including expansion, are occurring right now.

Dollar General recently debuted a new store. Crews, during the past few months, demolished the old KFC building and erected a new one for the discount store.

“Businesses can succeed in this area,” Huron Township trustee Ed Enderle said. “I’m sure the neighbors in this area would like something better there than vacant buildings”

Developing this area circles back to Huron’s $9 million master plan. The decade-long blueprint aims to lure businesses and persuade people to stay and move into Huron.

The plan also calls for linking several city landmarks, parks and neighborhoods, with an emphasis on highlighting waterfront features.

It’s not known when officials could devise a plan for the area or how much it would cost — but it’s necessary.

“There are opportunities to rejuvenate this corridor,” White said. “Nine out of 10 communities in America would take their right arm off to have this type of intersection. We need to upgrade the aesthetic and commercial appeal to give people a reason to stop in our community”

Recommended for You