East Liverpool Reopens Fourth Street After $1.4M Upgrade

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio – Another piece of East Liverpool’s economic development puzzle was settled into place Wednesday as a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to reopen a newly-bricked portion of Fourth Street, which also received an honorary new moniker recognizing a long-time business owner. 

The stretch of Fourth between Market Street and Broadway had been closed to traffic since October as contractors removed the old brick and replaced most of it with new, although 15 rows on each side were lined with the old brick, which was restored and laid at the edge of the new brick, tying in the city’s history with its future. 

It took about seven months to finish the project, which also included the installation of new water lines underneath, new sidewalks, crossroads and storm drainage. Work was started in 2016 under the then-Mayor Ryan Stovall after a similar project was completed on Broadway.

Current Mayor Greg Bricker said the project represents “another piece in the puzzle” in trying to rejuvenate the river city.

Running through the downtown area, which boasts the newly opened Renovatio’s Tap Room and Restaurant and other well-established sites such as the Carnegie Public Library, Mary Patterson Building and Alumni Clock Tower, Bricker said renovating the street “certainly adds to the story.” 

Despite the on-going pandemic, the city has seen the advent of 10 to 11 new businesses with a “lot of fires in the kiln,” he adds.

Fourth Street has now gone from “one of the worst streets to one of the best streets,” Bricker said.

A landmark at the edge of Fourth and Market streets for 60 years is the Hot Dog Shoppe, where generations have not only enjoyed the food but where many youngsters have taken on their first jobs. Long-time owner Ray Trevelline is known not just for providing food and jobs but for his generosity to the city and its people, which was recognized during Wednesday’s ceremony.

As officials prepared to cut the ribbon reopening Fourth Street, they unveiled a Potter blue and white road sign declaring the street “Ray Trevelline Blvd.” 

He was also presented with an engraved brick removed from the street which has brought so many customers into the restaurant he recently sold to new owner Greg Vojnovic, who was also on hand for the ceremony.

The renovated Fourth Street in East Liverpool features newly laid bricks alongside century-old bricks used in the street’s original paving.

“Being in this business, you’re interwoven in a lot of people’s lives. A little bit of them rubs off on you, and a little bit of you rubs off on them,” Trevelline said. “It’s overwhelming what a privilege it is to meet people, and in my case, it was over a simple hot dog, and to think I’ve been doing it my whole life.”

As for the street now honorarily named for him, Trevelline was impressed, saying contractors removing the old surface discovered century-old railroad ties from the old trolley system and how it has gone from a “continual bump” to “an ideal street for redevelopment.”

Vojnovic, who purchased the Hot Dog Shoppe in March along with restaurant’s sites in Warren and Girard, said he was “honored they allowed us to take over this legacy,” emphasizing nothing will change at the iconic restaurant. He was impressed officials made an effort to retain the city’s history by incorporating the old brick with the new.

City Council was represented by councilman-at-large John Mercer, who said, “It is great to see it return to its glory.”

Mercer said honorarily naming the street after Trevelline was ideal, saying, “I can’t think of anyone else who has done as much as Ray. A lot of things he does, he keeps quiet. He’s quite the philanthropist.”

Among business people gathered for the ribbon cutting was Mary Deem, fiscal officer for the Carnegie Public Library, which anchors one end of the historic street.

Just reopening the street will be a blessing to library patrons, she said. But the project has also added to the aesthetics of the library she said. 

“I think it looks beautiful. We were on the top floor looking down and, wow, what an improvement. We’re real pleased,” she said.

City Planning Director Bill Cowan said the street renovation has tallied a price tag of about $1.4 million to date. Of that, 95% will be paid with federal grant funding via the Ohio Department of Transportation. 

The city’s share of the cost, of which 16% will actually be picked up by the Ohio Public Works Commission, will total about $63,000, Cowan said. That figure, he noted, does not include the city’s design and engineering costs. About $146,000 was paid for installation of new water lines underneath the brickwork.Although the street surface is complete, Bricker said there are still some finishing touches pending, such as installing light poles and signage.

“This was a good investment. For $63,000, we got $1.5 [million] to $1.6 million. How do you pass that up?” Cowan asks.

Pictured:Participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday reopening Fourth Street in East Liverpool were service-safety director David Dawson, former Hot Dog Shoppe owner Ray Trevelline, Mayor Greg Bricker and councilman John Mercer. The newly reclaimed brick street was given the honorary name of Ray Trevelline Boulevard, recognizing the long-time business owner.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.