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Gibsonburg leaders plan downtown park in place of vacant lot

A new centrally located park aims to beautify curb appeal and boost business growth in Gibsonburg.
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 2:55 PM EDT
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GIBSONBURG, Ohio (WTVG) - The future of the Village of Gibsonburg lies in a plot of dirt, at least for the time being. The former site of a gas station, the lot sat vacant for over a decade on Madison Street before it was purchased by Village of Gibsonburg officials in 2019. Village leaders had the building torn down in March and the empty lot is now the site of a redevelopment project that will bring a park to downtown.

“It’s a clean slate. It’s a blank drawing board and we’re excited about it,” says Village Administrator Marc Glotzbecker. “Gibsonburg is an incredible community full of great people. They have a tremendous amount of pride in their community, and taking this project from start to end is going to do tremendous things for the town.”

The project is still in the planning stages, according to Glotzbecker. Village leaders say the park will take 18 months to complete and will most funding will come from grant opportunities from across the state.

“The end result is going to be a beautiful downtown area park with a covered area for concerts, for plays, for meeting activities, food trucks… everything is on the table right now,” said Glotzbecker.

Glotzbecker explains that the project is also being considered as a potential push for Gibsonburg to establish its own Designed Outdoor Refreshment Area or DORA. He believes the possibilities with the lot redevelopment will ultimately benefit the local economy.

“If you’re fortunate to get a customer to come to your business, for the first time ever in Gibsonburg, you want to showcase everything Gibsonburg has to offer,” says Matthew Kohler. Kohler runs downtown staple Veh and Son Furniture and has called the Village home his entire life. He says the land investment will increase foot traffic, boost sales, and bring in outside visitors.

“We want them to be aware of all the assets that the Village has to offer because that increases the chances that they will come back and visit our community in the future,” says Kohler.

Village members believe that ultimately what the space will bring most is community pride.

“Small towns have a lot to offer and Gibsonburg is certainly no exception to that rule,” says Kohler.

“Our economic development extends far beyond our industrial park,” says Glotzbecker. “We want to support those businesses who have been here for years and years. And they are family-owned businesses who have ties and roots in our community, and we owe it to them to make the Village the best possible place we can.”

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