A study of the economic impact of making Co. Rd. 24 the new St. Rt. 66 was the main topic at the Monday, Aug. 4, Archbold Village Council meeting.
Michael Carroll and Will Burns, of the Bowling Green State University Center for Regional Development, attended the meeting to discuss the proposed project during the regular council meeting, plus a work-study session that followed.
Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor; Dennis Howell, village administrator; council, and the two CRD officials discussed several areas of the proposed project. They ranged from methods and techniques that would be used as part of the study to other issues, and tying the study together with an overall economic development plan.
Cost estimates of the proposed study were only briefly touched upon, with the two men from CRD saying they would get back to village officials with some cost estimates by the end of the week.
The CRD officials said their study would included a look at the existing mix of businesses in both Archbold’s commercial and industrial sectors, which would include some surveys of local businesses.
CRD would also look at traffic counts, both simple numbers developed by traffic counters laid across roadways and studies of vehicle license plates moving into and out of the village.
There would also be interviews with customers leaving local businesses.
The number and type of questions that could be included on the survey could include other topics as well.
Vaughn Bentz, a councilman, reminded Carroll and Burns that the primary intent of the study was to determine how relocating St. Rt. 66 would impact the community.
A big reason for the study, Bentz said, is to put at ease existing business owners who are concerned that rerouting the highway would have a negative impact on business.
Howell said he would also like to see the study consider the economic impact that rerouting the highway would have on industries on Archbold’s west side, including ConAgra, Napoleon Lynx, Bil-Jax, and Arrow Tru-Line.
It was also noted that Archbold still has 50 acres available for business development in the Industrial Park.
Wyse told the CRD offi- cials Bil-Jax had moved five jobs in its parts department to Maryland because of the difficulties shippers have getting trucks in and out of Archbold traffic.
“It’s only five jobs, but it’s a start,” he said.
“The 5-50 rule. If trucks can’t be up to 50 miles in hour in five minutes, they want no part of it,” Carroll said.
Carroll said one option was to pick a similar site, and look at what happened when that community did something similar.
One example given was North Baltimore. St. Rt. 18 was routed around the community to accommodate a new intermodal terminal, where shipping containers are taken from railroad cars and placed on trucks– and vice versa.
Howell said it might be hard to find a similar situation, because of Archbold’s large percentage of industrial operations.
Bentz also asked about the possibility of setting up electronic billboards, advertising downtown businesses along a rerouted St. Rt. 66.
The signs, he said, could direct motorists back into the downtown.
Carroll said billboard companies should have quantifi- able information available on that question.
Wyse told the CRD officials the study should be done during the nine months of the year when school is in session, because schools play a big role in village traffic.
Carroll estimated the study would take about three months, and start around Sept. 15.
Wyse suggested since the study would stretch into the holiday season, presentations on the project could be pushed back into early 2015.