Filling empty storefronts part of plan to improve City of Girard

Girard's full comprehensive plan will be released Friday on the Trumbull County Planning Commission's website

Daffin's Candies, Girard

GIRARD, Ohio (WKBN) – The City of Girard is planning for the future and invited the community Tuesday night to talk about what the city’s doing right and where it needs to improve.

Karma Korn Poppery turns a year old on Wednesday.

“It’s been great. Girard citizens have really supported the local business,” owner Melanie Ritchie said.

Business is good and the store is getting ready for a big move just a few blocks away.

“We’re going to be right across the street from Jib Jab Hot Dog Shoppe at 300 State Street,” Ritchie said.

She chose downtown Girard because she liked the small town feel.

“I would really like to see more businesses come back into town,” she said.

Filling vacant storefronts is one part of the city’s proposed comprehensive plan.

“Right now, they currently have a downtown revitalization grant that’s helping with that,” said Nic Coggins, with the Trumbull County Planning Commission. “We’re looking at some other tools to utilize, bringing in more businesses, and upgrade those storefronts so it’s more of an attractive appeal to bring people into the downtown area.”

The commission has been working on a comprehensive plan for the city since 2015. It said Girard has done a good job getting rid of vacant homes.

“We have torn down probably 75 structures, 100 structures since the last comprehensive plan. That has proved to have been a benefit to us but there is more to do,” Mayor Jim Melfi said.

Coggins said the focus is now filling the remaining vacant homes and moving people in before the houses become so dilapidated that they need to be torn down.

Commercial property is another asset.

“When we’re talking about assets, we’re really talking about the schools, the police, the fire — services that are provided from the city for the people,” Coggins said.

Dan Moadus wants to see his community thrive.

“I’d probably like to see the return of talking about a canoe launch down at the river. I’d like to see the river utilized more as recreation because it’s all cleaned up now, it’s a pretty nice place,” he said.

Other recommendations include a special improvement district downtown, upgrading the website, and zoning changes.

The entire plan is almost 200 pages. Moadus wants to see more of it.

“I liked that the effort is being put forward, just in general. There’s a lot of aspects to it and it looks like they’re touching on everything that’s important to me, so I think it looks like a thorough job. I just want to see the particulars,” he said.

The full comprehensive plan will be released Friday on the Trumbull County Planning Commission’s website. It also hopes to have hard copies of the plan throughout Girard at places like the library and city hall.

Residents will be able to submit feedback until June 2.


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