Businesses prep for ODOT project to begin Monday in Boardman
By Josh Stipanovich
When a $5.4 million project begins Monday on U.S. Route 224 and Interstate 680, Hometown Urgent Care will lose its sign and 5 feet of its parking lot.
“This parking lot is tight as it is,” said Tonya Lucente, patient-care coordinator at Hometown Urgent Care. “We’re not thrilled, but we don’t have a choice, do we?”
Lucente said the one sign the business has must come down because it “impinges” on the two-year project that the Ohio Department of Transportation has planned. Room is supposed to be made for Hometown Urgent Care on the current sign that houses each business in the plaza on the corner of South Tiffany Boulevard and 224.
A few weeks ago, she recalled, pipe was being moved in and out of the area to prep the site, which left no available parking.
“Nobody could park or pull in here at all,” Lucente said. “We’re getting phone calls, ‘When are you going to be open?,’ and I’m like, ‘We’re here. Unfortunately you just have to park over there.’”
To prepare for the future business and traffic challenges, the company purchased a large banner with red, all-caps lettering on a bright-yellow background that says “Open During Construction.” It can be seen hanging above the main entrance to the business.
“We just put that up a week or two ago just to prepare people,” Lucente said. “People have said, ‘That yellow catches my eye.’”
Despite the unexpected changes and future turmoil, Lucente admitted something needed to be done to the area. From where she sits at the front desk, she said, she has seen several accidents over time.
ODOT plans to widen the 224 bridge over I-680, replace a culvert on 224 east of I-680 and make changes to the 224 and I-680 interchange. ODOT is planning several nightly lane restrictions between 224 and Tiffany Boulevard from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the first phase of the project. As work continues, 224 will be reduced to one lane in each direction and some ramps will be closed at times, according to the department.
ODOT District 4 staff members plan to pass informational brochures to businesses near the targeted project area.
A few doors down from Hometown Urgent Care — in the same plaza — Kristin Mccurdy manages the Subway shop. She said she doesn’t have a plan to prepare for the project, but she doesn’t expect it to hurt business because 80 percent of its customers are regulars who go out of their way to get food from their location.
“I don’t think it should hurt us too bad,” Mccurdy said. “I hope it doesn’t.”