$440k first-phase of Clifton Heights streetscaping project nears completion

Significant progress has been made on the first-phase of streetscaping improvements throughout the Clifton Heights business district. Over the past two months work has been taking place along W. McMillan Street to rebuild sidewalks, crosswalks, curbs, replant street trees, and install new street lamps. The roughly half-million dollar project will also include new parking meters, trash cans, and decorative brick pavers.

This stretch of W. McMillan Street had long been plagued by buckled sidewalks due to root invasion from the street trees and water that subsequently collected. The rebuilt sidewalks not only feature safe and pleasant surfaces for pedestrians, but they also feature uniquely designed brick work at cross walk locations.

The improvement work has been championed by area businesses and the Clifton Heights Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHCURC) whose director, Matt Bourgeois, said that "the business community is very excited about the progress being made."  While the work has posed a minor inconvenience for businesses, the consensus seems to be that it is worth the trouble.

"The business district fought long and hard to get the city funds for the project so we're very excited about the improvements and we think it's a great thing," said McNeil Ryan, owner of the popular Mac's Pizza Pub.  "It's a very short-term pain for a very long-term gain, and we were very fortunate they were able to schedule the majority of the work during the summer."

Some of the business district's progress that has been prior to the streetscaping work has been quite noticeable and includes several facade improvement projects; business expansions and renovations by DuBois Bookstore, Plaza Artist Materials, and Mac's Pizza Pub; and the addition of several new businesses to the district.

The first phase of streetscaping improvements, nearing their expected completion in October 2010, were funded through the Cincinnati Neighborhood Business Districts United (CNBDU) and the City of Cincinnati. The later two phases will continue the streetscaping work throughout the district over the next two years depending on funding.

Writer: Randy A. Simes
Photography by Jake Mecklenborg
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