The Mayor Kathy Bailey majority was sworn into office in early December of 2017. It is now mid April 2019, the Mayor and her loyal five men on the City Council have been in the majority for almost a year and a half. In that time, the Mayor’s majority has had a few big policy decisions. We have provided commentary on many of these policy decisions (The Farmer’s Market, PACE, and DORA to name a few), but the one thing we have looked at the most is the creation of a new Downtown Master Plan. As we get closer to the final downtown plan being presented, there is a new question that comes to mind. Why did the Mayor Bailey majority not focus first on Loveland’s greatest development need, Loveland-Madeira Road?
For many people who live, work, and play in the City of Loveland, Loveland-Madeira Road is the gateway into the downtown district. This is the introduction into Loveland. The Starbucks, Kroger, LaRosa’s, McDonald’s, Roller Rink, and Primary/Elementary school sit on Loveland-Madeira. Vital public institutions, such as the library and post office, reside on Loveland-Madeira. If you live in Hamilton County, then you probably drive on Loveland-Madeira multiple times a week. Spanning from 275, and ending at West Loveland Avenue, Loveland-Madeira Road is where people get a taste of our community.
And what kind of taste is left in people’s mouth if they judge our city by Loveland-Madeira Road? In addition to the destination businesses listed above, there are numerous used car lots dotting the landscape of Loveland-Madeira Road. A high concentration of convenience stores occupy the space around the turn to West Loveland. The massive parking lot in front of Shoppers Haven makes the complex look less occupied than it really is. Behind many of the occupied storefronts on the road, there are empty, and derelict buildings. In some instances, there sits (presumably) empty truck trailers among the tall grass of the empty structures. The lot next to the roller rink will soon be home to a lawn care and chemical company. Multi story residential and commercial buildings, with added pavement, has been the order of development on Loveland-Madeira in the last year.
That is wrong.
Loveland-Madeira Road should have been the first priority if the city wanted to create a new master plan. Let’s remember, the master plan is meant for the entire City of Loveland, not just a few square miles. The few miles that mean the most should be the priority. Meaningful development on Loveland-Madeira Road would make development in the rest of the city, including downtown, make so much more sense. Want more people to move to Loveland, fix Loveland-Madeira. Want people to stay longer, add needed amenities to Loveland-Madeira Road. Want to add thirty more bars to the downtown district? Great, just make sure Loveland-Madeira Road has the amenities that all residents can enjoy. What our town needs, grocery, mail, and places for the family, Loveland-Madeira already has it. Expand those things and the entire community will benefit.
When thinking about the obviousness of creating a priority plan for Loveland-Madeira Road, the entire master plan process looks more wasteful. What good is creating a downtown plan before we address the true needs of the City? The early look at the Downtown plan makes it look expensive, and complex. Will the Mayor Bailey majority once again believe in their infallibility and blindly support the downtown plan and dump all of the City’s money into more bars, roads, and Loveland Station like buildings? Does that mean the city will punt again on any real discussion of fixing and enhancing the experience of Loveland-Madeira Road. It sadly looks that way.
The truth is Loveland-Madeira Road does not need the direction of the Mayor Bailey majority in guiding it’s rebirth. So far the Mayor’s majority has added a used car lot into the redeveloped Indian Motors property and put the lawn and chemical company across from Kroger and next to the roller rink. Both of those businesses have a place in Loveland, but a proper plan would have found strategic locations for Oasis and Hertz to contribute. Being on our city’s main road is not strategic. By allowing property owners to let their lots become a blight on our community, the city has abdicated their responsibility in making Loveland-Madeira Road the gem it can be. In a time when the council majority will happily spend $128,000 on a Master Plan that prioritizes drinking, pavement, and multi story buildings in our downtown, and they want us all to wait on meaningful discussions of an area the greater community uses regularly, the Mayor Bailey majority does not seem up to the grand task of creating a revitalized Loveland-Madeira.
So what should be done?
The rebirth of Loveland-Madeira Road can be handled by us, those that live work and play in our great community. Downtown is being redeveloped for a small group of people, and that group does not include families. Loveland-Madeira can be where families go to spend the day. We can work with established businesses to compliment their clientele with new, and profitable attractions. Private developers can work together to create the housing, and surrounding amenities, for the families of Loveland’s future. And most importantly, private groups can work with property owners to clean up the overgrown grass, rotting buildings, and (presumably) empty truck trailers, that sit right off of Loveland-Madeira Road. Ask not what the city government will do for Loveland-Madeira Road, but what private enterprise can do for Loveland - Madeira Rd and our great community.
Why Loveland-Madeira Road? Because it is the most important road in our entire community. The Mayor Bailey majority will tell us all that we need to wait until the “greater” master plan is completed and then we can discuss Loveland-Madeira Road. The non-downtown part of the Master Plan is not expected to be done for another few years. We can’t wait, and we should not wait. The introduction to Loveland should match the greatness the city has to offer. Loveland-Madeira Road is that introduction. It is time to get to work.
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