An architect said trustees should develop an identity or a theme.
By VIRGINIA ROSS
NORTH LIMA -- Several photographs on the Beaver Township Administration Office wall show what North Lima used to look like.
At a special meeting Monday, township officials and a handful of residents met with a representative from a Youngstown architectural firm to discuss what the North Lima area could become with some neighborhood planning.
"We're looking at defining the area of North Lima, studying that area and looking at how we can make it better," said Walter Van Scoter of Strollo Architects.
Van Scoter said the township should establish an identity or theme and define its desired character or image for North Lima. He said the area would be limited to about a 1-mile radius from the center of North Lima, which is marked by the Market Street and South Avenue intersection.
He said establishing an identity can be done, for example, by installing streetlighting and lampposts, planting trees and creating inviting walkways and sidewalks to encourage people to walk more and drive less.
"There's a lot to consider and it won't happen overnight," he said. "This isn't something to replace the township's comprehensive plan, but a guide to supplement it."
Reviving the 'village feel'
Michele L. Swope, township zoning inspector, said the township has been looking at the possibility of developing a neighborhood plan for its North Lima area for the past few years.
She said that the purpose of a neighborhood plan is to take a specific area of a community rather than the community at large, and focus on ways to improve that area.
"But the township has had other priorities over the past few years," she said. "We had to work on our zoning and finish our comprehensive [land use] plan. Now that we've accomplished that, this seems to be the next logical step."
Swope said area residents have said they miss the "village feel" North Lima used to have.
"I think many people would like to have that back," she said. "I think it's a good idea to look at the possibility of that."
Township officials said they would like more input from area businesspeople.
They said they also had hoped more residents and business owners would have attended Monday's meeting. About a half-dozen people were present.
Van Scoter said several meetings would need to be scheduled over the next year or so to consider developing a neighborhood plan. He suggested looking at North Lima as the township capital.
"It should be the center, a place where people want to come to gather, to buy their groceries, to visit with each other," he said.
He said he could not yet put a price tag on the proposed project, but said services provided by his firm could range from $10,000 to $20,000.
Swope said it would be up to the township to secure funding for those services.
"But at this point we're just gathering information," she said. "This is something we're looking at to see what we can do to better this area. I think anything we can explore to make the area better is worth looking at."