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Picturing the Possibilities: An Architectural Vision for Main Street Main Street Revival: A Sense of Place Through Shared Space

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Garrettsville – Proverbs tells us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Architectural grad student Kiley Maas agrees with that premise. That is why she is eager to share her vision of what the future of Main Street could be. Since the Great Garrettsville Fire last March, the view on Main Street has been charred devastation-turned-emptiness. But Maas sees exciting possibilities.

Maas is a graduate student at Kent State University, concluding coursework toward a dual-master degree in Architecture (MArch) and Business Administration (MBA). She is also a graduate assistant as an intellectual property analyst, vice president of Net Impact, and a CAED Graduate Student Senator.

This past summer, as a result of the fire’s devastation of the Buckeye Block, her graduate architecture studio with Professor Adil Sharg-Eldin made a project of envisioning what downtown Garrettsville could become through its future rebuilding efforts. Her class presented their projects to the village in July.

What started as a class project has evolved into a personal passion for Maas. Naming her particular concept “Main Street Revival: A Sense of Place Through Shared Space,” Maas integrates walkways, bicycle lanes, roundels, gardens, green space, plus mixed-use municipal, retail and residential buildings to transform Main Street into a vibrant community center.

“I want to bring a sense of place back to Main Street and restore the lifeblood of the town,” she says. “I was the only student from the class who was familiar with Garrettsville (I grew up in Newton Falls), and my undergraduate minor was in urban design, so I took this project personally. I was careful to maintain a comprehensive approach, integrating economic, social and sustainable priorities into the plan.”

Her mixed-use concept reinvests in downtown Garrettsville with wide, aesthetic sidewalks sans curbs for outdoor dining; an enhanced boardwalk with waterfall views; 13 new retail spaces on Main Street with 26 second-floor apartments; a dozen new town homes along Center Street; restaurants featuring glass garage-door fronts that could be rolled back for open-air dining in good weather; and redesigned common-use intersections (roundels — similar to roundabouts — at the intersection of Elm Street and State Routes 88 and 82; and at the crossroads of Main, Center and Water streets). These would take dominance away from street traffic so people would feel safer to enjoy social interaction, open air dining and strolling around town. Maas also envisions a small hotel at the corner lot in front of the VFW hall.

Maas would maintain parallel parking along Main Street but would add a small parking garage with 85 spaces next to the police department, where the Clock Tower now stands. To further enhance the sense of community, Maas would move the historic Clock Tower, time capsule and new Village Hall to Main Street, set on a grassy Garrettsville Green on the north side of Main Street, where the Buckeye Block anticipates its future.

Maas’ stated mission is “To revive and create a comprehensive approach for downtown Main Street that empowers economic development by making the downtown a place to live, work, shop, dine, and entertain; a village center with a sense of place through shared space.”

By sharing her drawings through this article and other public venues, Maas wants to give people a concrete picture of the possibilities, to gain morale by visualizing what an idealized Garrettsville could offer. This may help residents believe — yes! — it could happen here if we all got on the same page in terms of a common vision and goal.

Just remember, this is a concept with elements for consideration and discussion. No design or plan has been approved by village officials… and funding must lead the way before any plan can be realistically considered. Just think of this graduate architecture student’s dream as a way to exercise the possibilities and generate more great ideas as GarrettsvilleStrong fundraising efforts continue.

If you would like to provide feedback to this design concept, send an email to e.brown@weeklyvillager.com or mail a letter to Estelle Brown, Weekly Villager,

8088 Main St, Garrettsville, OH 44231.