A family business will be able to develop and build a new convenience store and gas station on South Main Street after a recent decision by the Monroe City Council.
Nick Patel of Munafo Seven told council at its Oct. 8 meeting that he and his family have about 15 years of experience in the business and own 15 gas station/convenience stores in the region.
“We take pride in our properties and want to be part of the community,” Patel said. “We operate very clean stores, and our employees are very friendly … If we have community support, we won’t fail.”
Patel said his store would be the only gas station in that part of Monroe.
Councilwoman Christina McElfresh said she still had concerns about safety and traffic at that location next to the former IGA grocery store at 601 S. Main St. that the city is renovating for its new police station. The city also owns the adjacent strip center and continues to lease space for commercial businesses.
Vice Mayor Dan Clark disagreed, saying that the Patels “are business people” and that they are taking a risk to make an investment in Monroe.
“It’s the American way,” Clark said.
Councilman Keith Funk was enthusiastic about the proposed project, adding that he lives near it and would become a regular customer.
Some residents spoke in opposition to the proposed project. Myron Popps raised concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety as well as a lack of sidewalks.
She thought there is a better use for the property than a gas station and worried that it would disrupt her quiet neighborhood. Popps said the strip center at the former IGA “was never a hot spot.”
Another resident, Darlene Wolf, became emotional in her opposition to the project, also citing safety concerns and saying there were seven gas stations within 3.5 miles of the proposed location. She also complained to council about some properties that have tall grass and weeds.
“We have a great neighborhood,” she said. “I don’t want to move.”
The city’s planning commission voted Aug. 20 to recommend amending the agreement to permit retail fuel sales with specific hours of operation, fuel canopy location and access from South Main Street. City officials said the new gas station/convenience store would be open 18 hours per day and would have direct access from South Main Street.
Munafo Seven anticipates 200 to 300 vehicles per day, which is estimated to be one-tenth of the former IGA traffic at its peak. Officials said the project would be a 4,000-square-foot convenience store/gas station and would be similar to the BP station at Interstate 75/Ohio 122 in Middletown.
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