UPDATE: City Council will not introduce legislation on Butler Street closure

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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) -- UPDATE 3/5/19

Legislation on the proposal to vacate a portion of Butler Street to Marietta College will not be introduced to city council for a vote, according to councilwoman and streets committee chair Kathy Downer.

After Mayor Joe Matthew's decision two weeks ago to not authorize a temporary closure of the street for a second traffic study, Downer said the lack of support for the proposal led to its demise.

Now, Marietta College still plans to move forward with capital enhancement plans for its campus, which include a new student center.

"Um still somewhat disappointing just because it would've been nice to have completed the traffic study," said Tom Perry, vice president for communication at Marietta College, "and had an opportunity to see what a temporary closure would've meant, where the traffic would've went, so it would've been beneficial to look at it but we understand."

"You know we want to continue to work with the mayor, continue to work with city council to figure out the best ways for us to move forward and hopefully come up with a solution that will allow us to do what's best for all parties."

Downer said city council is still open to plans or ideas Marietta College may have to improve Butler Street in the future.

UPDATE: 2/21/2019 9:00 PM

The initial study was completed and discussed, and now the Mayor of Marietta has made a decision on whether or not to close a portion of Butler Street off to the public temporarily.

Mayor Joe Matthews tells us he decided that he will not temporarily close off Butler Street from 4th to 7th Streets. He says the decision to close it permanently or not now lies with city council. That would require a majority vote to take effect.

If the closure is put in place, Marietta College is hoping to enhance their campus. With the section of the street closed the college will build a new student recreation center, renovate college entrances, and enhance building identification and campus visibility.

There is no set date for the vote at this time.

UPDATE 2/13/19

Dozens attended a public meeting Wednesday to hear the results of the traffic impact study conducted for the proposal to close part of Butler Street in Marietta to Marietta College.

The study was conducted late last year. It found 2,937 cars use Butler Street daily from Fourth to Seventh street. A representative from TEC Engineering, which conducted the study, said that amount of traffic is relatively low and that a closure of Butler Street would not have a substantial impact on nearby intersections.

"With the closure of Butler street, traffic on Butler Street is minimal," TEC rep Ed Williams said, "and the impact to adjacent intersections, there would be impact but it would be minimal."

But some residents that use Butler Street disagreed.

"I believe that Butler has been used more than what they’re saying," resident Randy Nolan said, "and I believe if we close Butler St. My opinion is what’s next, 4th street."

The study identified necessary fixes to certain problem areas on Butler Street and adjacent intersections whether the closure is approved or not. It also recommended a temporary closure to see what the real-effects would be of a closure and that is something Mayor Joe Matthews would have to authorize.

Marietta College paid for the initial study and has offered to pay for the next study if the temporary closure is authorized.

A permanent closure would require a majority vote by the City Council. No closure, however, would occur until the recommended fixes from the study are addressed and implemented.

UPDATE: 02/08/2019

Marietta's Streets and Transportation Committee will hold a public meeting on Feb. 13 to discuss results and recommendations of the Butler Street Traffic Impact Study.

The public meeting will be held at 4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 in Meeting Room #10 at The Armory, at 241 Front Street in Marietta.

Ed WIlliams, Vice President of TEC Engineering, will give a presentation of the Butler Street Traffic Impact Study and what it recommends, regarding a potential closure of part of Butler Street.

In a public meeting in December, 2018, Marietta College president Bill Ruud outlined the Campus Enhancement Plan, which includes building a new student recreation center, renovating college entrances, and enhancing building identification and campus visibility.

Ruud says the location of the proposed student recreation center is dependent upon whether Butler Street is vacated to become a commons.

ORIGINAL STORY: 12/12/2018

The possible closure of Butler Street is just one of the many topics discussed at a joint public forum Wednesday night in Marietta.

More than 80 people attended the presentations at "The Gathering Place" on the Marietta campus.

Marietta College president Bill Ruud outlined the Campus Enhancement Plan for renovation of entrances, building identification and increased visibility.

He says the location of a proposed student center is dependent upon whether Butler Street is vacated to become a commons.

Ed Williams of TEC Engineering presented some findings from a traffic study, and then took public questions.

Marietta Councilwoman Kathy Downer says this was the second of two well-attended public sessions.

" I think it's time to start with the dialog about this," states Councilwoman Kathy Downer. "We will be updating people as we get more information, and the council will probably not be voting on this until the beginning of April."

Additional input will be welcomed during the first quarter of next year.

The full traffic study and Marietta's plans, and architectural presentation will all be available on the city's website for public review.

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