Opportunity Knocks Residents Attend Public Meetings About Proposed Corridor By Lila Mills, NV Publisher
FAIRFAX-A third round of public meetings about the Opportunity Corridor project kicked off last Tuesday. More than 100 residents attended two sessions at Calvary Hill Baptist Church on Cedar Avenue near East 105th Street. Two more meetings were scheduled for later in the week at other locations.
Joyce Hairston would lose her home on Butler Avenue if the corridor is built, but she has attended the public meetings and supports the project. "It's not that I like it," she said. "I've accepted it."
At Calvary Hill, officials gave an hour-long presentation about the corridor, its purpose and planned route.
“Our vision is one that uses this (corridor) as a catalyst for opportunity and development” in the surrounding neighborhoods, said the project’s director Terri Hamilton Brown.
The corridor – a 35mph boulevard with a treelined median – would run from where Interstate 490 ends at East 55th Street to University Circle. It would pass through the Slavic Village, Buckeye, Kinsman and Fairfax neighborhoods.
Officials hope that by making access to University Circle easier businesses will relocate to the area and spur an economic rebirth in the surrounding neighborhoods. But to build the road, dozens of people would have to sell their homes and move.
Residents asked how much they could expect to be offered for their homes, and what kinds of jobs might be attracted to the area after the boulevard is built.
Brown said officials hope to attract a wide variety of businesses offering permanent jobs. Homeowners can expect to be offered enough money to buy safe, clean homes that are the same size as the ones they live in now, ODOT consultant Matt Wahl said.
“The ideas sound pretty good,” said Buckeye resident Brenda Davis, 57. “I just hope it will be for the people so people will have a decent area to live in. It’ll be like they’re living up in Shaker somewhere.”
After the meeting, Davis got tears in her eyes as she added: “It’s scary because you really don’t know how it will turn out. You got to have faith.” Brown, who lives nearby on the border of Glenville and University Circle, stayed after the meeting to talk with residents and pass out her phone number.
“It’s very important that we hear from you,” she told residents.
The project has been in the planning stage since 2009. Officials have studied several possible routes, met with a steering committee of residents, community development corporations and business leaders, and held several public meetings to get resident feedback.
The project, estimated to cost $300 million, remains a long way from being realized. If funding is secured and officials decide to build the road, construction would not start until 2016. Another round of public meetings is expected next year.