Meeting held about downtrodden shopping center in Troy

The mostly vacant Sherwood shopping center property on Troy’s north side is the focus of a study looking at future possibilities. STEVE BAKER

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The mostly vacant Sherwood shopping center property on Troy’s north side is the focus of a study looking at future possibilities. STEVE BAKER

Consultants look at tired space in north Troy.

Consultants who led a community input meeting seeking ideas on bringing new life to the 1960s Sherwood Shopping Centre area on Troy’s north side heard plenty of suggestions ranging from more restaurants to places for families to go.

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They also heard doubts from several meeting participants about any major improvements occurring at the shopping center property while it’s owned by out of state investors.

Consultants from MKSK Studios said Oct. 30 they’d spend the next 120 days gaining even more understanding of the area of town that has seen the shopping center tenants decline to two today while there’s been increased residential construction in areas on the city’s northern edge.

The city hired the consultants earlier this year during concerns about the center’s future with bankruptcy filing by Marsh supermarkets, the center anchor tenant. The store has since been purchased and renamed Needler’s Market and is home to what several residents identified as an asset — the city’s state liquor store.

Tim Davis of the city staff said it was no secret of the massive turnover in the center “from its glory days to what it is now.”

Meeting participants broke into nine groups to talk about the center and surrounding area that includes smaller strip centers with offices for medical and other services. Some are in use, others vacant. The participants were asked to list what is working well in the area, what isn’t working well and what the priority areas should be moving forward.

Input was received before the community meeting through a survey available through Survey Monkey. More than 200 people took part in the survey, said Joe Nickol of MKSK Studios.

In that survey, 97 percent “said they avoid the Sherwood area because of the sense of emptiness” it projects, he said.

During the next 120 days, there also will be idea testing, said Nickol. The testing of recommendations will follow review of input received from the meeting, data compiled on demographics and other details yet to be collected.

Another public meeting would be held in January before consultants finalize their report for the city probably by March. The city is paying around $45,000 for the study.

Meeting participants said overall, they like the Needler’s Market, formerly Marsh, that is in the center main building along with the neighborhood feel of the nearby area. The other business in the center is the recently opened Back Door Smoke House and Grill.

Those participating in the discussion said they would like more places to eat and for people with young children to go nearby and the return of once local businesses including a pharmacy, hardware and movie theater.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.

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