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Huron in 2012: Poised for the Future

By Lisa Yako

Huron is on the cusp of some exciting restructuring and revitalization projects.  The year began with the implosion of the buildings at the ConAgra site and will continue with other capital improvements and the creation of plans for yet even more improvements.  Huron is truly ripe for development.  Our City Manager and City Council have directed Huron on a financially responsible and conservative course.

The infrastructure of the city is strong, and residents are provided with superior services, especially our Police and Fire departments.  Our Parks and Recreation Department provides us with a high quality of life, and our position on the shores of the Huron River and Lake Erie offer us an aesthetically-pleasing environment.  All of this is provided to you as a resident for mere pennies a day.  So, what are we to expect from our city officials in 2012, and what does the future hold for a city with so much potential?

 

 

According to City Manager, Andy White, Huron is unique in that we are dealing with the repercussions of the downtown being destroyed and the city being segmented by Urban Renewal.  Huron’s leaders are faced with the arduous task of trying to put the pieces back together and recreate a downtown.  In an effort to guide decisions for Huron’s future, the city developed a strategic plan which they entitled “City of Huron: Vision 2020”.  The plan is available on the city’s website, www.cityofhuron.org.  This year marks the second full year of implementation of the strategic plan.  “The implosion ushered in a new year and ushered in another plan of action for the future.” stated Andy White.  The next plan of action involves indentifying components of the city as a whole that need improvement.  To move towards this goal, the city has hired the Cleveland-based architectural firm, City Architecture, to provide a detailed plan of where improvements should be made and where development is appropriate.  Also, tactics for better utilizing our waterfront and making the city more pedestrian and bike friendly will be included in the architect’s plan.  A steering committee, which is composed of approximately 25 Huron residents and business owners, is working with City Architecture to guide the plans.  Before a course of action is adopted, Huron residents will have the opportunity to comment on the proposal.

 

 

Plans for the future will focus on five core areas of the city including development of Main Street, both north and south, and the ConAgra site.  The city has already applied for a $2.5 million grant to fund the reconnection of Main Street.  This would involve cutting the road through the current parking lots of both the Boat Basin and the River’s Edge Hotel.  Businesses would be encouraged to locate along this corridor, and public access to the water would be improved.  Other plans include improving access to the pier and creating hiking trails through the spoil pile area.

 

 

In 2012, residents will see the re-decking of the Cleveland Road Bridge across the Huron River.  This project, which will begin sometime this summer, will be funded and completed by the State of Ohio.  Further, the demolition at the ConAgra site will be completed by the end of April.  The overall project was under budget, so the City hopes to get approval to use the remaining grant money to stabilize the shoreline along the perimeter of the ConAgra parcel and then create a walkway around the perimeter.  Once this is complete, the city will work to entice developers to invest in the ConAgra site.  The next few years will truly define Huron’s course well into the future.  It will be interesting to see how all of the plans unfold.