By Linda Collins
For the Herald
ENON — Plans are in motion to rebuild and expand the Speedway gas station and convenience store at 62 E. Main St. in and construction is projected to begin June 6.
The project is expected to take about four months to complete and calls for the demolition of the existing structure and fuel pumps and the construction of a larger convenience store and more fueling stations.
“We want to start as soon as possible because it would be in the best interest of everybody to have the construction project completed before the Enon Apple Butter Festival in October,” said Speedway representative Jonathan Wocher, LEED Green Associate and Principal at McBride Dale Clarion Architecture and Planning in Cincinnati.
According to documents presented to council members during the Tuesday, March 22 village council meeting, building plans call for the vacation of North Pleasant Street by the Village of Enon. Enon Mayor Tim Howard stated that the village would vote on a resolution to vacate North Pleasant Street and proceed in April with the three-reading process. In October 2015, village council members unanimously approved a development agreement with Speedway LLC to acquire and develop the North Pleasant Street plot as part of the expansion project.
Speedway LLC also purchased two adjacent parcels of land at 100 and 160 E. Main St. for $430,000 and $191,000 respectively, according to auditor’s records. Wocher said Speedway intends to consolidate the three existing parcels and the North Pleasant Street plot into one large parcel to make way for the 4,600-square-foot convenience store and nine, two-sided fueling stations. The store will be open 24 hours a day and will feature an expanded selection of hot and cold beverages as well as prepared food products, including pizza, breakfast and hot lunch sandwiches and subs. In addition, the new store will offer both indoor and outdoor eating areas.
“The proposed site covers about two acres when you considered the original site, the purchased properties and the soon-to-be vacated street,” Wocher said.
As part of the development agreement, the village will also dedicate a right-of-way for the proposed improvements to the intersection at East Main Street and North Xenia Drive. Wocher discussed installing either a traffic light with a no-turn-on-red sign or a yield control sign at the intersection and recommended the installation of a yield control sign that he said would improve traffic control.
However, Village Administrator Benjamin Ross pointed out that a no-turn-on-red sign would then be posted at three points at the intersection and a yield sign would be posted at one point, noting that a yield control movement sign would not direct motorist to stop or slow down when turning right in a crosswalk area that pedestrians frequently use.
“This would not be consistent and could be confusing to drivers,” Ross said. “ … I consider that a real safety concern for pedestrians in the village.”
Enon Police Chief Lewis Wilcox stated that he thought the yield control sign would pose a safety issue as well and pointed out that motorists turning left off of Main Street, onto North Xenia Drive could possibly collide with motorists yielding and turning right off of Main Street onto North Xenia Drive. Wilcox said he also believed that a yield control sign would be more of a threat to pedestrians using the crosswalk on the north side of the intersection.
“Pedestrians need to be able to step off the curb at the intersection without yielding to a consistent flow of traffic turning right at a red light,” Wilcox said.
Village Councilman Stephen Trout said he respected Wilcox’s opinion and noted that the angle of the intersection justified a no-turn-on-red sign at all four points.
“I have observed motorists who do not observe the no-turn-on-red sign as it is. A yield sign would just create more problems for both motorists and pedestrians,” Trout said. “There are no 90-degree angles at the intersection, and we need pedestrian signage there as well.”
“I walk in that area many times, and it is a long stretch across the intersection. If you don’t stop traffic, pedestrians will be subject to a less than safe situation,” Councilman Elmer Beard added.
Councilwoman Brenda Sweet noted that motorists would have a more difficult time pulling out of the Speedway site onto North Xenia Drive if motorists traveling west on Main Street were allow to yield and continue turning right onto North Xenia Drive.
Councilwoman Lorri DeVore said that Speedway could test the yield control sign for eight months, but she thought that being proactive now would be a more sensible choice for council to make rather than reactive to a mishap that possibly could occurred as the result of using a yield control sign.
However, Councilman Rick Hanna disagreed and stated that he thought a no-turn-on-red sign would slow down the flow of traffic. Councilman Jeremy Whitacre said he thought council should consider testing the yield control sign in the future. Yet, Whitacre noted that pedestrian safety would possibly be an issue when using a yield control sign.
Wocher stated that Speedway would also meet previous requests from village officials to modify the project plans that would include the installation of a vinyl fence on the north side of the site and a reduce number of signage displayed on the property. Additional landscaping and a wall to screen an outside storage area will be installed to improve the curb appeal of the site as well.
Wocher told council members that the building plans were submitted to the county and the building permit had been issued. Also, the Clark County Health Department had completed its review. He also noted that Speedway had discussed and coordinated the construction plans with the gas and electric companies and the water and sewage departments.
“We are very confident that this project will continue to move right along,” said Wocher. “The next step is ordering the construction plans,”
Speedway LLC is a division of Marathon Petroleum Corporation and is headquartered in Enon. The local company is the second largest chain of gasoline and convenience stores in the country with approximately 2,760 convenience stores in 22 states.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.