Stow City Council has unanimously voted to fund a study on whether to create a walkable downtown retail district.
The new downtown would be on about 12 acres in and around the city’s post office and municipal complex at the corner of Graham Rd. and Rt. 91 – adjacent to where the old Stow-Munroe Falls High School once stood.
City Council President Mike Rasor says the possibility of a downtown has been languishing since being mentioned in a comprehensive plan in 2006. Rasor says the city expects a report on whether to proceed with the downtown plan – and what should be included -- in about two months.
“It’s very possible that the market study is going to be disappointing to us and that we would probably kill the project at that point. But based on everything I’ve seen, this city is very hungry for the kind of development that we’re talking about.”
Currently, Stow has a number of scattered shopping areas, but the goal of the new plan is to create a unified retail center.
Rasor adds that he recently posed the question about creating a downtown on Facebook, and that about 90 percent of the hundreds of comments he saw were enthusiastic about the idea.
He says they hope to create something different from downtown development plans like in neighboring Hudson.
“Well the First & Main is a great blueprint. We don’t want to duplicate anything any other city’s done. We do want independent shops. We want independent restaurants and maybe a place to get a beer. Basically an entertainment district that’s walkable: you can go from place to place -- high energy -- that folks in Stow can go to and be proud of their city.”