Planners working to suggest better links between Lindenwald and Miami’s Hamilton campus

Miami University planning students are developing ways to better connect Miami's Hamilton campus with Hamilton's Lindenwald business district. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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Miami University planning students are developing ways to better connect Miami's Hamilton campus with Hamilton's Lindenwald business district. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Miami University’s Hamilton campus is only a few blocks from the city’s Lindenwald neighborhood, but it doesn’t seem that way.

Senior planning students working under Professor David Prytherch are working to change that. They have taken on the task of finding ways to better link the campus with Lindenwald’s business district, the latest area city officials are focusing on redeveloping, following successes in the downtown and Main Street corridor.

“We have this wonderful campus, Miami Hamilton, and this wonderful business district on Pleasant Avenue we’re trying to revitalize, and we think it would be beneficial to improve the connectivity between them,” said city Planning Director Liz Hayden.

The idea is to encourage more students to visit the business district as store spaces fill, “and it would be cool to see, just like we have on Main Street, some upper-level apartments that students could live in,” Hayden said. “We’re thinking forward, planning for lots of great stuff things to be going on in the business district.”

That’s a great idea, says Debbie Doerflein, owner of Heaven Sent, a group of businesses on Pleasant Avenue that includes a coffee shop, gift shop, religious bookstore, wedding chapel and banquet hall. She also has plans for another business in the area.

She had a coffee shop on the campus for six years, until 2015, and enjoyed it.

“They didn’t want us to leave, but I can’t split myself in half,” she said. “And so we had to leave.”

There was a good connection with the students, which she thinks can continue in a new location.

“I have a student once in a while, and they’ll see my daughter, and say, ‘Oh, my gosh. This is where you went,’” she said. “So I’m looking forward to any connection with the kids down there. I know the ones that were there in 2016 are probably gone, but some of them that just started, maybe not. We had a good reputation with them back then.”

Hamilton recently bought some buildings along Pleasant, with hopes of speeding the strip’s redevelopment.

ExploreWe need stuff to happen’: Hamilton eyeing 5 Lindenwald business properties, including former theater

Among options the planning students may consider are tweaks to Butler County Regional Transit Authority bus routes and improvements to streets that link the two areas. Miami’s senior planning students in recent years created three plans for improving areas. Those included Lindenwald, the Second Ward and the North End.

Things that may be suggested include improvements to sidewalks and lighting, as well as added signs and removal of blighted buildings and properties to make Williams and other streets that connect the two areas. Another possibility: More public-parking areas to make vehicle access easier for the school, which is mainly attended by commuting students.

Removal of some rental buildings that are “just trashed” would be a good thing, Hayden said. But with that, she knows, “they have a lot of hard work ahead of them.”

“I kept thinking initially that it’s too far to walk, and that we really needed to focus on bike-connectivity and car-connectivity, and I think we still need to think about those things,” she said. “But I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly we were able to walk from Pleasant and Williams to pretty close to the university.”

“I’m excited for anything,” Doerflein said. “Any kind of activity is good.”

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Hamilton City Council on Wednesday will consider buying the property containing the former Grand theater, at 2233 Pleasant Ave., and the house next door at 2241 Pleasant. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Hamilton City Council on Wednesday will consider buying the property containing the former Grand theater, at 2233 Pleasant Ave., and the house next door at 2241 Pleasant. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Combined ShapeCaption
Hamilton City Council on Wednesday will consider buying the property containing the former Grand theater, at 2233 Pleasant Ave., and the house next door at 2241 Pleasant. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

ExploreMiami U. students have developed a new plan for revitalizing Lindenwald
ExploreSee the plan: How Miami U. students want to revitalize Hamilton’s Second Ward
ExploreUp next for development: Hamilton’s North End neighborhood. Here’s the plan.

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