CHEVIOT, Ohio — Business owners and leaders in the city of Cheviot want to revive its commercial district amid an economic downturn and the coronavirus pandemic.
The plan for Cheviot, currently in the middle of a rebuild, centers on Harrison Avenue, where Bill and Maria Westrich have owned and operated two separate businesses for decades.
Bill has repaired Harley Davidson motorcycles for the last 26 years, and Maria has owned the hair salon on Harrison and Lovell, open for 39 years.
“You’ve got to have something unique to bring people in,” Bill explained.
Before the onset of the pandemic, the city commissioned a case study for its business district after years of stalled growth.
“I’ve seen the changes of Cheviot along the way,” Maria said. “I feel like it could possibly make a comeback.”
Cheviot Mayor Samuel Keller, “encouraged” by the dialogue between leaders and local stakeholders at a meeting Monday night, explained that the city is trying to figure out how the pandemic plays into those comeback plans.
“It’s hard, especially when across the nation we’re talking about a recession or possible recession to get people to invest in things like that,” Keller said.
Cheviot will focus on attracting families and young professionals to the area, while making its main strip more pedestrian friendly, improving existing facades, utilizing green space and finding the right combination of businesses to fill its storefronts.
“We can show people that we’re serious about this revitalization project and hopefully they’ll be willing to invest,” Keller said.
The Harrison Avenue plan costs between $3.2 million and $5.4 million. Keller said the plan will be finalized by the end of the year to be implemented early next year, an investment business owners like the Westriches hope will pay off.
“I think it would be very good for Cheviot to have that comeback, but there has to be a lot of changes made also,” Maria said.