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E. MILLCREEK RESIDENTS WANT MORE PARKS, FEWER STRIP MALLS

SHARE E. MILLCREEK RESIDENTS WANT MORE PARKS, FEWER STRIP MALLS

Residents of this upscale east-bench community say they need more park space and want to halt encroaching strip malls along major streets.

Those are some of the concerns addressed in a new community five-year plan working its way through a county approval process. A public hearing was held Tuesday night, and the county Planning Commission will vote on the plan June 14. From there it will go to a hearing and a vote before county commissioners.East Millcreek, an unincorporated community of 21,184, is bounded by I-215, Highland Drive, 3300 South and 4500 South. Population is expected to stabilize over the next 15 years. The average family income is $43,371, according to the 1990 census.

The 70-page master plan, available for public review, outlines major concerns and goals, including:

- Neighborhood preservation. Residents want to maintain single-family residential development. This is viewed as a key to maintain the quality of life.

- Development along major streets. Residents want to halt more strip-mall development on 3300 South, 3900 South, 4500 South, Highland Drive and 2300 East. The strip malls, poorly designed signs and lack of parking and sidewalks also keep pedestrians from walking on the streets.

"Traffic on these roads has increased steadily and has created other problems. Many older, single-family homes fronting on these roads have either become rundown or left vacant. As traffic increases, more homes will decline," the report says.

- Transportation improvements. The master plan suggests that intersections of major streets be upgraded to keep up with the in-creasing traffic demands of the community. It also suggests when major roads are widened that sidewalks and bicycle lanes be improved during the construction.

"All collector and arterial streets should have curb, gutter and sidewalks and include bicycle lanes where appropriate. Safe access using crosswalks, traffic signals, etc., should be provided for children crossing streets to all schools, parks and other public facilities, " the plan states. "Enforcement measures should be taken to slow traffic along residential and subdivision collector streets."

- Mill Creek. Residents want the stream to be maintained and enhanced. For example, the plan recommends the crossing of Mill Creek under 2300 East should be improved with sidewalks that overlook the stream, benches and landscaping along the waterway.

- Parks and recreation. The plan recommends adding more neighborhood parks, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a senior citizens center. The plan recommends some of these improvements near the existing East Mill Creek Recreation Center.

County Parks and Recreation has been encouraged to purchase land for neighborhood parks, but in the plan officials indicate they may be only able to pursue one in the northeast quadrant of the community. Community involvement may be the key to building that park, the plan notes.