Dreaded work at Taylor-Fairfield intersection in Bellevue turns out to be not so dreadful
Businesses, traffic not as disrupted as expected
Hannah Purnell | WCPO contributor
12:00 PM, Aug 17, 2017
BELLEVUE, Ky. -- In June, Bellevue officials announced they would be forced to close the intersection at Fairfield and Taylor avenues, a heavily traveled area that helps connect the city to Interstate 471 and downtown Cincinnati.
Despite public outcry, leaders took a lemonade-from-lemons approach to the distressing news, promising to use the closure as an opportunity to host unique events and draw increased attention to the establishments along Bellevue’s main Fairfield Avenue business district.
“We suddenly have space to activate in an interesting way -- a ‘living room,’ a park, a place to bring people together,” said assistant city administrator Jody Robinson in a public statement prior to the anticipated block closures. “We can do something really unique here that shows that we as a community are resilient in the face of setbacks.”
But as luck would have it, the busy intersection never completely closed -- not during peak hours, anyway. With the exception of nighttime one-lane closures, Fairfield remained open throughout the repair project, thanks to strategic detours and closures of side streets that allowed crews from Sanitation District One to get to the source of the issue -- a crumbling and outdated sewer pipe below street level -- without completely disrupting the flow of traffic for any period of time.
“We are thankful SD1 and their contractors acknowledged the impact the construction would have on our Fairfield Avenue businesses, our community and Dayton,” said Robinson. “They worked with us to minimize the road closures to a few nights and keep the majority of the parking in place.”
Despite escaping any need for full closure or long delays, Robinson said the ongoing construction took its toll on Fairfield Avenue's dozens of small businesses.
“Unfortunately, we experienced a number of customers avoiding Fairfield Avenue due to the construction,” she said. “We’re looking forward to welcoming them back with open arms. We appreciate everyone’s patience who had to pass through the restrictions and detours. We are grateful for every customer that came to Fairfield Avenue during the construction.”
A handful of Fairfield businesses were ready and willing to make the most of the proposed closure.
“We had a really great plan in place,” said Ron Sanders, owner of Darkness Brewing at 224 Fairfield Ave. “We were almost disappointed when the closure fell through, because what we had planned was going to be a lot of fun. But with all said and done, things turned out a lot better than I think anyone expected. We still have a plan in our back pocket in case the need ever arises again.”
Sanders said that go-with-the-flow attitude is typical of what he has experienced as a Bellevue business owner since opening his brewery last year.
“We absolutely love it here in Bellevue,” Sanders said. “We just celebrated our one-year anniversary and had a turnout that was more than double what we expected. We chose this place because of the main-drag location, and we love being the place where people come to kick back on the weekends after a long day of shopping and socializing on the avenue.”
Prior to the anticipated intersection closure, many Bellevue residents expressed frustration via a Bellevue Alliance Facebook page. But those sentiments quickly turned to gratitude once residents saw evidence that city leadership was working on their behalf to minimize hassle.