Centerville purchases property as part of Uptown initiative

Centerville is moving ahead with its Uptown development plan as city officials have purchased Main Street property as part of the initiative. The city agreed to pay $340,000 for property that was listed at $375,000.

City officials unveiled in June a plan to build a brand called Uptown that they say will help provide a strong sense of community and stimulate long-term economic growth.

Centerville will update its Architectural Preservation District, which includes about 90 business ranging from boutiques and salons to restaurants and professional services and residents.

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Making the area a destination — not a downtown but an uptown trip — offered the opportunity to freshen up the city’s business landscape, according to City Manager Wayne Davis.

The city has announced the purchase of a key piece of property that is located at 39 N. Main Street. The land sits between Town Hall and Burke Orthodontics.

As outlined in the Uptown Action Plan in accordance with the Centerville’s five-year Strategic Plan, the city has embarked on the Uptown initiative to develop and enhance the area surrounding Main and Franklin streets.

“The purchase of this central property puts the city in the driver’s seat. Building a vibrant, unique brand means we need to have some control in development,” Davis said. “This purchase is an example of the city’s commitment to the success of Uptown.”

Davis said the city will explore options for the property, which could be developed as green space or may “become home to a new business that fits within the vision of a vibrant, historic Uptown.”

The city will continue to talk with businesses and organizations that have a stake in the success of Uptown.

A 15-member stakeholder committee was assembled with a goal to develop a vision and recommended strategies for the district. The group met four times between March and May then developed a blueprint for the Uptown plan.

The city created a community survey and conducted a brainstorming session with several members of city staff.

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“We get a lot of feedback because people love this area,” Davis said.

Uptown needs a strong, supported business community, according to the committee. While Uptown is home to a diverse group of businesses, opportunities remain to welcome new businesses.

“I’m looking to attract the younger generation to come in and enjoy our city,” said Dress For A Day Bridal Boutique owner Martin Huffstutler.

The Uptown plan outlines short- and long-term strategies to bolster quality of life and stimulate economic development.

The top priority, as identified by the stakeholder committee, is to improve walkability and reduce traffic congestion. Creating more parking, greenspace and opportunities for entertainment events also made the list.

A higher-end bar with music, brewpub, art gallery, unique restaurants, and coffee shop are some of the businesses that could revitalize the area and fit in well with the Uptown vision, according to feedback received from surveys.

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