PORTSMOUTH — During Thursday’s Scioto County Commissioners meeting, Jeff Bauer, President of Shawnee State University (SSU) spoke on plans to reopen 3rd and Gay Street.
“The project is to extend the campus into the downtown area, especially in the Chillicothe Street area as well as two blocks north of campus,” said Bauer.
Bauer said he wants to create a gateway into the university and beautify the area.
“The gateway would be positioned at the campus entry on 3rd Street,” said Bauer. “3rd Street as you know has been closed from Gay all the way to Waller for a number of years and our intention is to reopen it to local traffic and obviously university traffic.”
Bauer said he feels a welcoming entry to campus is what has been missing during his 35 years on campus.
“We often have visitors coming to the campus from outside and they use their GPS but there really isn’t a place that tells them that they’re there,” said Bauer.
Bauer said he hopes to see growth in Portsmouth in the future.
“We have the Vern Riffe Center for the fine and performing arts that forms the southeast corner of the arts and innovation district, we have the Kricker Innovation Hub opening in the summer that will be the southwest corner, and then what we really intend to spur is growth and development in those two blocks and beyond to the north,” said Bauer.
The area will be connected to the Southern Ohio Museum and the Esplanade.
“We hope it will make it an attractive venue where there are events and other activities that will not only be important to us at Shawnee State but will be important in bringing people in from the outside,” said Bauer.
Bauer also hopes the reopening of the road will slow traffic down near campus.
“In order to do this we will have to place an island, so we will have through traffic moving to the left and people coming into the university moving to the right,” said Bauer. “The most important part of this is through crosswalks to not just slow traffic down but to create a much safer and easier pedestrian pathway.”
The crosswalks would connect the residential area and campus into the downtown area.
Bauer wants to make 4th and Gallia street part of the arts and innovation district.
“We want to start by doing things that will beautify the area by creating well defined walkways,” said Bauer. “We would like to demolish two building to create an attractive park like green space that would be kitty corner to our Kricker Innovation Hub but would provide at least a place for people to come and not just drive through but spend time.”
Bauer’s goal is to connect campus to downtown Portsmouth.
“In the past, students haven’t spent much time on the weekends or on campus other than to come to class,” said Bauer. “We would like to create that structure that keeps them here and we think it’s imperative for us to be able to attract new students into the area.”
Bauer said he would like to see students stay in the area.
“In the end, instead of those students after graduation going off into other places that we can continue to hold onto some of that brain power and that creative power in Portsmouth to help develop and further create growth in the area and to create that safe and attractive area for everyone, the community, our students, our faculty, as well as those on the outside we hope to bring in,” said Bauer.
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved