BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — Pedestrian and bicycle connectivity, additional recreational resources and a downtown Monclova center are priorities. So are sustainability of services, preservation of natural areas and careful planning of future development.
For the past year, a Monclova Township steering committee and Reveille principal Glenn Grisdale gathered information to update the township’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan, including input from residents who answered a five-minute survey.
The survey garnered 754 responses from nearly equal numbers of men and women with a wide range of ages, said Cathy Shepherd, a member of the township Zoning Commission.
“People love living in Monclova, and this survey showed that,” Shepherd said.
Some common themes that came out of the survey include:
• There is a desire to see the area’s diverse ecosystems preserved, with some available for active and passive use.
• Additional recreational spaces are a priority. The township currently has Community Park and Keener Park while Metro-parks Toledo operates Cannonball Prairie Metro-park and the Fallen Timbers Monument. Metroparks Toledo is working with township landowners to connect the Cannonball Prairie Metropark to Secor Metropark via the Mosley Trail.
• Residents want to improve existing roads, pedestrian connectivity and bicycle infrastructure while providing new growth areas with a range of transportation and mobility choices.
• There is interest in the creation of an “Old Monclova Township Center” in the area of Waterville Monclova and Monclova roads. A mini-roundabout and street landscaping are already planned. A boardwalk is envisioned along Swan Creek to connect the park and the town center.
• Residents want to resolve transportation issues around problem intersections and railroad crossings. A particular focus is on pedestrian connectivity and safety. From 2009 to 2018, there were 45 pedestrian and bicycle crashes as well as three fatal crashes.
• A plan is needed for increased traffic on Maumee-Western Road (US 20A) when the I-475 interchange is completed in 2024.
“I was very excited to hear about a Monclova town center,” said Shepherd, noting that committee members included the Lucas County engineer and sanitary engineer, who are looking at possibilities for overcoming obstacles such as the lack of infrastructure in the area.
The township’s population grew by almost 20 percent in the past decade to nearly 15,000 residents. The median age is 48.7 years, and the median household income is $103,405. As more people move to the township, the need to provide balanced growth is a priority, said committee member Jim Fritz, superintendent of Anthony Wayne Local Schools.
“As the region continues to develop, Monclova Township needs to be positioned to understand that development and have a plan for it within its boundaries,” Fritz said. “I believe that as the Anthony Wayne area continues to be developed, the governmental agencies that make up this area should work together in this planning of development so all areas can prosper and represent what the residents want in their communities.”
Once adopted, the comprehensive plan will be used for the evaluation of development, land use and zone change proposals; to create and enhance community programs; and to make capital improvement decisions, Grisdale said.
Some of the other general recommendations the steering committee shared in its report include:
• The desire to form a connectivity committee to develop an active transportation plan.
• Improving gateways and signage to improve wayfinding and improve traffic congestion.
• Promoting public and private partnerships and establishing a dedicated capital improvement fund.
• Ensuring sustainability of services including police, EMS, fire, water, sewer and recreation to keep up with the rate of community growth.
• Allowing the use of floodplains for recreational opportunities and connectivity.
• The development of a Wabash Cannonball Trail overlay zone to protect the trails from encroachment.
• The creation of a future land use plan to set the township for growth in key areas, including residential, commercial, industrial, mixed use and public institutions.
The Lucas County Board of Commissioners approved the plan in December. The township’s Zoning Com-mission is set to review it on Monday, January 24 at 5:30 p.m., followed by the board of trustees in February. Public input is welcome. For more information, visit www.monclovatwp.org.