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Downtown Maumee businesses support Conant Street changes despite a spike in traffic

Owners and employees say additional parking will allow more people to stop and visit the area.

MAUMEE, Ohio — Drivers in downtown Maumee are still working their way around big changes to a busy street.

"Lots of horns. Lots of people honking at each other. Going a little bit slower. They have to take a little bit more time," said Gina Pace, a sales associate at Spoiled on Conant St. 

And while it's been a learning curve, most businesses like Spoiled, The Village Idiot and Amity Ink on Conant St. support the changes.

"I think that's the city's intention for sure, is to help cultivate business for the uptown community businesses and just help make it a safer destination," said Scott Biddle, the owner of Amity Ink

What used to be four lanes of traffic are now two, with new marked parking in front of businesses.

Since the changes, people like Mary Goldberger, who lives in the area, have noticed a spike in traffic.

"Unfortunately this is a major state route and you know for some people, they are unfamiliar with the area and they come through and it's kinda a bottleneck," said Goldberger. 

However, Nikki Schafer, the co-owner of the Village Idiot says she supports the changes approved by Maumee City Council earlier this month to get more people visiting these businesses.

"It's gonna make a lot of people mad for a minute but I think people will get use to it, I hope," said Schafer. "And we're getting a Monnette's in, and I think more things will come, as in stores and stuff," said Schafer. 

Most businesses also say one of the biggest benefits is all of the added parking spaces, which have made it easier for pedestrians to access shops.

"I think it helps just kinda slow people down a little bit and kind of smell the roses, I guess. And so, we are getting a little bit more visibility just from people being able to see what is down the street," said Biddle. 

And, it brings hope to help businesses trying to succeed during a difficult pandemic.

"I hope it helps Maumee build back up into the city that it used to be. I mean, it was very influential to the outside of the Toledo area. And, it's right here on the river so I hope it brings business back," said Pace.