Chamber board formally endorses change of 2nd Street to two-way

With Chillicothe City Council expected to see legislation soon to change Second Street in Chillicothe to two ways, the Chamber’s board voted unanimously last week to back the proposal.

The board’s chair, Jeff Wills, signed the letter after the vote to ask Council to back the proposal to “create a more welcoming and walkable downtown, as well as a safer and better environment for the continued growth of the First Capital District.”

The letter also emphasizes the proposal “will not benefit just a few, but one that will help all businesses attract visitors” and create sales and payroll taxes for the city. The plan would be to put a four-way stop at the intersection of Paint and 2nd streets.

**Read the Chamber’s letter here**

The move formalizes the Chamber’s support of the project, which would see Second Street move from one-way to two ways from Mulberry to Walnut streets. The Chamber joins the Chillicothe Downtown Development Commission, Downtown Chillicothe, and many downtown property owners in support of the project.

DDC Chair Mike Throne, who also is president and CEO of the Chamber, told council earlier this year that studies done in New Albany, Ind., which converted four miles of city streets to two-way in 2017, show accidents involving pedestrians are down, speeding was reduced, and motor vehicle crashes – especially injury crashes – were down to previous years. Other reasons cited in favor of the change are improved wayfinding for visitors, increased economic impact for 2nd Street businesses, and creating a more walkable downtown.

Councilman At-Large Devon Shoemaker conducted a committee meeting earlier in August and said the proposal should move to legislation in September. The project was discussed at length in a March engineering committee meeting and has been discussed since the DDC recommended the change in 2016.

Once Council gets the legislation, it would be read at three consecutive meetings before it is voted upon. The project comes with a price tag of nearly $150,000, but $72,000 of the cost is related to the milling and repaving of the street, which was already scheduled to be completed.