Around 40 years ago, Front Street in downtown Cuyahoga Falls was closed off to traffic. It was transformed into a pedestrian mall to encourage retail growth and more foot traffic in the downtown area.

But Mayor Don Walters says that didn’t work.

“We realize now, by doing our homework, that retail demands two things: visibility and accessibility.”

So now the city is proposing a plan to reopen Front Street to traffic as a pedestrian-friendly road.

“Experts have told us that the road has to go back and with that we already have commitments from retailers if we do our part.”

The $13 million Downtown Transformation Project includes a new hotel and renovating the historic Falls Theater into a mixed-use space with a restaurant, retail space, and apartments.

According to city officials, about 85,000 cars pass by the pedestrian mall every day on Route 8. That’s traffic that could be visiting downtown Cuyahoga Falls.

“We just need to give them a reason to get off the highway.”

Click here to read more about the city’s transformation plan.

A presentation of the project was scheduled to go in front of city council Monday evening. A vote on the project is expected the following week.

With council’s approval, construction is scheduled to begin this spring and is expected to be completed by May of 2018.