Residents weigh in on Streetscape improvements

The Meadville Tribune
By Ryan Smith
Thursday, October 6, 2011

CONNEAUT LAKE — One resident said he’d like to see informative signs noting the Conneaut Lake area’s historical significance.

Another said she’d like to see more public plantings when she looks out the window of her home near Conneaut Lake’s downtown district.

Some said they wish there were more restaurants, coffee shops and things like artisan spots and antique shops, and more improvements to Fireman’s Beach.

And many said there should—no, must—be more parking made available for both businesses that exist and any that may be coming in the future.

That’s a glimpse of the input Conneaut Lake-area residents gave to hired consultants E.G. & G., Inc. about plans to develop a borough streetscape improvement project during a public meeting hosted Wednesday by borough officials and the Conneaut Lake Community Development Committee.

Approximately 50 local residents and officials attended the meeting, one of what’s expected to be continuing series of public forums to gather input as plans for the project are put into place.

One Conneaut Lake resident, Chad Waldschmidt, said he’s long had a “vision” for the community and its commercial area, “like so many other small towns”:  buildings occupied by businesses on both sides of bustling streets, with pedestrians crossing back and forth as they check out what the town has to offer.

And when it comes to efforts like the streetscape plan and its related community involvement, he said, “I think this is moving in the right direction. … (The suggestions being presented) are all tied together.”

“This work of improvement is very possible,” E.G. & G. representative John Grossman said to the crowd gathered at Conneaut Lake Volunteer Fire Department’s Station 3 near Ice House Park.  But “it’s a big undertaking.”

Grossman said in total, the consulting firm is anticipating the project will be a three-year process from conceptualization to possible completion, with more meetings to develop a master plan consisting of projects the community considers most worthy and feasible; a funding plan using local, state and federal sources; implementing the plan’s phases and writing related grant proposals; and, finally, constructing the improvements.