BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — For longtime residents, the changes in Monclova Township over the past few decades have been significant – new housing developments, businesses and park improvements, to name a few.
With construction of a new I-475/US 20A interchange, a possible sewer line through downtown Monclova and several new developments in various stages of planning, more changes are in the works for 2023 and the years to come.
Here is a breakdown of what’s wrapping up and projects in the works:
Keener Park, 4630 Keener Rd., had six new pickleball courts and a walking trail added this year. As the Lucas County Engineer’s Office oversaw the restoration of the Van Fleet Ditch, soil dredged from the creek was used to construct a sledding hill similar to one at Side Cut Metropark. The hill is off-limits until the grass takes root next year. At that point, an access bridge will be constructed over the ditch. In the meantime, crews planted several trees in the park, and more were added along the ditch next to Roth Cemetery.
Recreation is one of the top priorities listed by the 800 residents who participated in a survey in late 2021. Residents shared a similar vision of a community that’s connected and sustainable, with a downtown that provides opportunities for social interaction. The information from that survey was used as a committee completed an update of its Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
That plan included a vision for a downtown area with mixed-use development, green space, access to Swan Creek and a mini roundabout at Monclova Road and Waterville Monclova Road. To facilitate any development in downtown, a sanitary sewer line will be needed, and Lucas County sanitary engineer Jim Shaw is working with the township on a plan to make that happen. Trustees agreed to dedicate $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the project. The Monclova Township-Village of Whitehouse Joint Economic Development District 1 is also earmarking up to $250,000 for the project. Other grants and low-interest loans are in the works.
The addition of a sanitary sewer line will benefit current property owners as well, such as the Monclova Community Center, which offers business space, banquet and meeting rooms for rent. With expanded sewer capacity, the center would have an opportunity to renovate and utilize its lower level.
Farther east on Monclova Road, expect to see the construction of a FriendShip Store – a convenience store, gas station and kitchen operated by Beck Suppliers of Ohio – on the southeast corner of Jerome and Monclova roads. The area is cleared and ready for construction. Nearby, a self-storage unit facility is under construction on 3.8 acres at 4351 N. Jerome Rd., and other developers are showing an interest in land around the future I-475 and US 20A interchange.
Construction for the $102 million diverging diamond interchange – which includes the widening of I-475 to three lanes between US 24 and Airport Highway – is expected to be complete at the end of 2024. After it is finished, a roundabout is planned for US 20A and Strayer Road. Other roundabouts in the works include one at Garden and Albon and one for the Salisbury and Holloway intersection in 2024; and the Monclova Road intersections with Wilkins, Albon and Waterville Monclova in 2026.
Other projects in various stages of approval and development include:
• A mixed-use commercial building and multifamily homes on 9.7 acres on the southwest corner of Albon Road and US 20A. The township’s zoning commission will meet to discuss an application on Tuesday, December 20.
• The Lucas County Planning Commission will hear this month about a proposal for the Church on Strayer to build a 60,000-square-foot nursing facility to provide memory care and assisted living. The county will make a recommendation to the township’s zoning commission and the board of trustees, and public hearings will be held.
• St. George Coptic Orthodox Church, 4860 Waterville Monclova Rd., is looking into adding a fellowship hall with classrooms and administrative offices.
• The township approved a zoning change for 3455 Strayer Rd. to be developed for a commercial use such as professional offices.