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A workshop was designed to make Harmar more inviting

Photo by Michele Newbanks Marietta Main Street West leader Jackson Patterson gestures to a map of Harmar, where dangerous traffic areas are marked for follow-up discussions with city officials.

Marietta city officials and Harmar residents came together Thursday morning in a pop-up workshop to discuss how to better the community.

Sherry Ellem, Creating Healthy Communities program manager for the Washington County Health Department, said the Ohio Department of Health, Washington County Creating Healthy Communities, Marietta/Belpre Health Department, Washington County Health Department, Main Street West, City of Marietta and Toole Design joined forces to create the workshop.

The event, “reThink Franklin Street,” had people brainstorming for ideas such as plants and flowers in bump-outs and repaved sidewalks.

Main Street West leader Jackson Patterson said Franklin Street hasn’t been redone in decades and there is more bicycling and vehicle traffic now.

“All of this started a couple of years ago with (Fourth Ward Councilman) Geoff (Schenkel) and Jackson,” Ellem said. “We want to work together to make this a better place.”

Sally Sharrow, project planner with Toole Design in Columbus, said the workshop wasn’t about making commitments, it was about being in the space together, brainstorming ideas and talking with each other.

“Like, what about a little park in a parking lot?” she said.

Milo Ritton, land developer with the proposed Marietta Riverside project, said he wanted to help, as the project, which will include a convenience store and office space, will be built at the corner of Franklin Street and Putnam Avenue.

“They’re going to request we do a traffic study, which includes Franklin Street,” Ritton said. “We want to help … let’s not have a gravel parking lot with some shrubs, let’s do this up right. Make it beautiful, not what it is today. I think this would be a much better place.”

Tricia and Scott Morris live on the corner of Franklin and Market streets. She is worried about the people who speed through their neighborhood.

“All the way up and down Franklin, it’s unbelievable people flying through,” she said.

Morris said another major problem is people cutting corners.

“It’s not worth Scott getting hit trying to get them to push over and stay in the lane they need to be in,” she said.

Patterson said it was important to have the mayor, city council, city engineer and Marietta police at the meeting.

David and Marcia Beardmore spoke at length with Mayor Josh Schlicher about a problem they’ve had with low hanging branches on trees. He made note of it and assured them it would be quickly taken care of.

Schenkel listened to a resident who had unsuccessfully tried to get in touch with him, while City Engineer Joe Tucker heard about parking and speed limit signs.

Patterson said that was the point of the workshop … putting residents and city officials together to make a change in the community.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

At a glance:

¯ A pop-up demonstration and workshop was held Thursday.

¯ The workshop was designed to gather new ideas to make Harmar more inviting.

¯ A traffic study will be done as part of the Marietta Riverside Project.

Source: Main Street West.

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