Cedar Street gets a community-minded upgrade
It is no secret that in the absence of urban planning, infrastructure inevitably mutates into a Frankensteinian hodge podge to the detriment of local economies nationwide. Without a requisite timeout to evaluate and reorganize consumer corridors, local shopping sectors can turn into a tangled mess for the pedestrians who keep them healthy.
Officials in Delhi Township recently took it upon themselves to recalibrate their growing community with the intent of molding their downtown sector into the ideal central hub for the surrounding area. The Cedar Street corridor was ripe for intuitive improvements, and in 2015 the Realize Cedar Project got the ball rolling on a four-year initiative that anticipated exciting changes for the area.
The Realize Cedar Project is a Delhi Downtown Development Authority redevelopment project that focuses on Holt’s central stretch of Cedar Street, specifically from the town’s namesake road to Aurelius Road. Per the project’s manager, Todd Sneathen, the effort has made several key renovations to the corridor, including condensing the four-lane roadway to a three-lane roadway, adding bike lanes and a center left-turn lane, new roadside curbs and gutters, new sidewalks and new general pedestrian areas. In addition to cosmetic changes, the sequence of signals at the new and original junctions were tweaked to accommodate the tighter flow of traffic.
Realize Cedar came about as the necessity for a more foot traffic-friendly downtown became apparent to Delhi’s Community Development Team. Delhi Director of Community Development Tracy Miller recalled the project’s infancy, in which township officials toiled to gather public input through both traditional and innovative means before opening up the project for a hands-on community approach.
“Public involvement began in 2015, with the formation of a steering committee made up of residents and business owners who helped create the framework for a downtown area that welcomes new businesses and families,” said Miller. “The input of local residents, business owners and other stakeholders played a critical role in shaping Realize Cedar to create a more livable, walkable and safer Cedar Street corridor.”
At that point the project was fully realized in its potential to give the community the boost it deserved.
“The top priority of Realize Cedar was to create a more livable, walkable and safer community that appeals to all age groups, including millennials, families and seniors,” Miller said. “Realize Cedar will lay the foundation for private investment that will create jobs, spur economic activity and create a focal point for the community.”
The full breadth of Realize Cedar’s effects on the community have yet to come to a definitive close, but the area has already begun to feel the change. Miller stated that the project is quickly turning Cedar Street into Delhi’s “front door” – making it an increasingly attractive environment for small businesses, shoppers and general pedestrians. Private developers, pop-up shops and special events are already flocking to the corridor.
“The new infrastructure will help facilitate Holt Fest, which is a new music and food festival that will take place this summer,” said Miller. “Other community events, such as expanded Food Truck Frenzy events and 5Ks are being planned by others to take advantage of the new Cedar Street.”
The completion of Realize Cedar’s reconstruction has no doubt marked the beginning of a new era for Cedar Street’s local economy by priming the area for further development in years to come. The local Quality Dairy has begun reconstruction after its electrical fire in October 2017, with plans to add a patio and drive-thru window to complement its newly upgraded surroundings.
Holt residents are also looking forward to the completion of Esker Landing Park, located directly off of the Cedar Street roundabout. Cedar Street frequenters and Holt as a whole have a lot to look forward to moving into what is sure to be a busy summer 2019.