NOACA approves $1.5 million grant for Vine Street project

By  | | The News-Herald

The Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, or NOACA, recently approved a $1.5 million grant for Willowick, Eastlake and Willoughby for the Vine Street Corridor project.

The grant will go toward enhancing multimodal connectivity between the three cities and enhancing the streetscape along the corridor.

To make the corridor friendlier for pedestrians and businesses, NOACA funded a $120,000 study to explore improvements that could include new streetscape, lighting, transportation and housing, as well as look at traffic flow. In addition, Laketran has partnered with Willowick, Eastlake and Willoughby on a revitalization plan along the corridor from Willowick’s lakefront to downtown Willoughby.

In October, the public had a third and final opportunity to provide input and share ideas on how to improve the connectivity and streetscape along the corridor.

“People want this corridor to be better,” Michelle Johnson, director of community planning and design with Environmental Design Group, previously told The News-Herald.

This year, the Lake County Department of Utilities plans to tear up Vine Street in order to install new water lines, according to Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley. The state has until 2024 to put in a new road.

“We’re trying to keep up with potholes and different things,” Morley said. “People keep asking me, ‘Why aren’t you doing that?’ You can’t put a road in before the water lines are torn out and then the following year, the new road. We’re going to keep the road updated as much as we can.”

Several themes have been discussed for Vine Street, which includes traditional, modern and industrial. At the first stakeholder meeting, everyone voted on the industrial theme, Johnson said. At the public meeting, the votes were tied between the traditional and industrial look.

“When you combine it, theme three barely went above and beyond,” Johnson said. “At stakeholder meeting two, we brought this up. The conversations were dynamic. I’m glad we had it because it was decided that we don’t want Vine Street to look like downtown Willoughby.”

Having the public come together is not only meaningful for the corridor, but it shows their support and that they’re wanting to make Vine Street a better place, Johnson said.