MARIETTA, Oh. (WTAP) - Marietta College is looking at some big capital improvements to the campus over the next five to ten years. That includes a proposal for the city to vacate Butler Street from Fourth to Seventh streets to the college.
College president Bill Ruud presented the college's campus enhancement plan at a city council streets and transportation committee hearing Wednesday at the Armory.
The college has proposed this in the past but has been unsuccessful. Ruud says the city has vacated a significant amount of land to the college over the past century for good reason.
"Fifth street, sixth street, alleys between sixth and seventh street as Marietta College grew," he said, "and developed and the city realized that we’re a pretty good economic engine.”
But several parties have concerns about this move.
"A 20-foot fire lane has to be maintained in those areas, access points too," Marietta Fire Chief C.W. Durham said.
"Citizens of Norwood neighborhood, which is the first ward, use butler street to get to the downtown instead of using Pike and Greene or using Putnam street," City Councilwoman Kathy Downer said. "You know Putnam Street is a nice brick street but you don’t want to be going fast in there and it already has a lot of traffic and so does Pike and Greene Street."
Rudd says he wants to make sure that everyone that needs access to the college, whether it be ADA needs or emergency services, will have it under this move.
“We need to let people know that we are thinking about putting in a facility that will have a multi-million dollar impact on the community of Marietta for today, for the next 50 years," Rudd added. "I think it’s a very mutually important kind of project. So it’s not like, we’re taking something away. We’re adding too."
A traffic study, paid for by the college, will take six to eight weeks to study what affect it will have on the surrounding intersections. City council says it will have several public hearings once the study is complete.