Retail development, road upgrade coming

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – A Columbiana native wants to bring big development to his hometown, including retail stores, a hotel and restaurants.

Tom Mackall’s family bought the original Harvey Firestone Homestead and wants to give it a commercial makeover that will include 84,000-square feet of shops, offices and places to eat at Town Center.

“An entertainment type district. We will be able to have concerts in the center of our little town that we are going to make there,” Mackall said.

Mackall, who is the president of Firestone Homestead LLC, said the intersection of state Routes 7 and 14 is ideal for commercial and real estate development.

“I grew up in Columbiana. I really want to see something great for the citizens of Columbiana,” Mackall said.

Right now, traffic at the intersection can be a nightmare, especially if motorists need to make a left turn. But that will change soon because ODOT is going to widen the road and add four turn lanes.

It is something Columbiana has been trying to do for years. In 2006, the intersection was marked as a high-accident area. It is not anymore, but it’s still congested.

“All four legs of this intersection will get turn lanes, left turn lanes at the traffic light, new signals at the lights, widen the intersections and the one going south here also will get a right-turn drop lane, so it’s a widening of the intersection,” Lloyd MacAdam of ODOT District 11 said.

ODOT officials said the widening project is slated to begin in April 2018 and wrap up that fall. The agency said they have to acquire some right-of-ways and conduct an environmental clearance.

“Every Friday, this intersection is very busy, so we really need this,” Amanda Robb of New Waterford said.

The city was awarded $1.2 million for the project through ODOT’s Small City Program Grant Fund, with an additional $500,000 available immediately for the project.

ODOT is going to keep a close eye on the Town Center project.

“When we set the turn lanes for all the turn lanes here, it will all take into account the traffic that is expected to be coming from this development,” MacAdam said.

Construction on the Town Center will start next spring and businesses will open in 2016.

Mackall said the development will be similar to Easton Town Center in Columbus.

“Whatever brings some business into Columbiana County is always good. So long as it is good for the county, I like it,” Robb said.

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