Creating an unmatched area

BY HALLE SHAEFFER

Recent additions to Wadsworth’s downtown area have inspired a more active and friendly environment for citizens of our community.
Dolce at the Strand recently opened with the hopes of attracting more members of Wadsworth to their historical location. Dolce at the Strand was established by the owners of Valley Cafe, Nicole and BJ Mikoda, where they serve gelato, baked goods, wine and cheese.

With the addition of Dolce, our downtown area now serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner at multiple restaurants and more in the near future.

“We were really looking for a way to entice more people to come downtown,” said Nicole Mikoda. “When we opened Valley Cafe, we really wanted to be a part of the revitalization of downtown.”

The recent renovations of the downtown have already attracted many people to the area. The addition of Wadsworth Brewing Company and the extension of Valley Cafe’s hours have created much more nightlife surrounding the downtown space.

Wadsworth Brewing Company had similar interests as Dolce at the Strand upon opening three years ago.

“The success of the downtown has been ebb and flow,” said owner of the brewery, Ericha Fryfogle-Joy. “There would be times when there were lots of empty storefronts and retail spaces but my husband was very adamant about opening our business downtown.”
The addition of these new local businesses have spiked the interest of community members with our downtown area.

The city of Wadsworth has started the Downtown Infrastructure Program to benefit the future of our downtown. Adranne Krauss, Executive Director of the project #ADowntownUnmatched, has been focused on creating the best area she can while reclaiming the charm of the town.

“The goal is to create a vibrant and charming gathering place for our community to come together and shop, dine, work, and have fun,” said Krauss.

While the city is currently in the process of gathering community feedback for the cityscape and utility replacement project, they are also focused on the addition of nine new businesses for our downtown in 2020, including Downtown Deli, Unwined and Blue Tip BBQ.

“The increase in food establishments will contribute to a growing nightlife that started when Wadsworth Brewing Company opened three years ago,” said Krauss.

Allie Merhar, 12, enjoys her first time trying Dolce at the Strand. They offer two flavors per cup ranging from mocha to strawberry, as well as baked goods like cupcakes. Photo by Axel Mueller

Enhancing our downtown is the main goal of the Infrastructure Project. Working on the replacement of many water lines and communication lines is the first step in the process.

Accommodations for pedestrians are being made as well. They will be fixing sidewalks in hopes of making downtown a more desirable location.

They began renovations in 2017 and are continuing construction through fall of 2020. The work will entail the replacement of aged waterlines, sewer drains, and storm drains. They also hope to complete updating the sidewalks, streets, and alleyways to make the area more livable and vibrant.

The group had originally started by creating First Fridays, stirring up attractions to local business and awareness for the area.

“First Fridays have brought a new energy downtown, with the businesses getting increased foot traffic,” said Krauss. “It is a very exciting time for our downtown and community. I hope to see a downtown that is vibrant 365 days a year.”

Their mission is to create a downtown unmatched with the addition of new restaurants and retail spaces that will bring our community together.

“The community seems very supportive of the small businesses downtown,” said Krauss.”It’s a community effort to come together to support our local small business.”

As new businesses open, hopefully more community members will find themselves shopping and eating locally. Peaking the interest for others of what our downtown is capable of becoming, with the support of Wadsworth.

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