When a Rotarian on Monday questioned whether a traffic and parking plan might steer people away from downtown, a city official said the plan can be changed.
Neither Rotarian Bill Ruse nor City Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer were at the lectern in the Rotary Club meeting. That was the station of economic development and downtown officials speaking about the traffic and parking plan.
But Schmelzer has been a spokesman for the plan, and is hoping to get up to a $2 million state grant for traffic improvements. So when Ruse questioned the logic of reducing Main Street downtown to one lane each north and south, Schmelzer said there is plenty of time to change the plan.
“This is a starting point of a conversation … It does not mean that that is the way it is going to end up,” Schmelzer said.
City administrators hope to win council approval to apply by May 4 for state money. But at that time, the downtown plan need only be a general idea, Schmelzer said. The state would notify Findlay in August whether it would get money. But it would not be until 2016 when money would be spent and traffic changes made, Schmelzer said. The plan can change between now and 2016.
“If we decide to pursue funding, 2015 is when the design will be developed with a lot of input from the public,” Schmelzer said. “2014 is when we apply for (state) money to be used in 2016. So there is a lot of time in there for us to develop this plan fully.”
“There is a lot of design work that needs to be done and a lot of input that will have to be garnered,” Schmelzer said. “This is not, ‘We have to make up our mind by May 1 on whether we are going to do this or not.’”