New Hermitage Roundabout Sets Stage for Mall Work

HERMITAGE, Pa. – Smoky Martin’s BBQ Owner Ron Martin worked to open his new restaurant here. The doors were to open in January, but the pandemic forced him to delay until June.

Another, almost literal, bump in the road emerged after opening. The city began construction on a roundabout in front of his business on State Street.

On Monday morning, Martin’s restaurant played host to a celebration by the city celebrating the completion of the infrastructure project. He hopes with construction out of the way, Smoky Martins BBQ will become a success.

“This is almost like the beginning of the beginning,” he said.

The $3.8 million project began construction in March, with funding coming from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The goal was to improve safety and traffic flow while setting the stage for the town center project.

Kirila Contractors in Brookfield, Ohio, handled several sections of the construction, including paving and drainage. Pittsburgh-based Whitman Requardt & Associates was the design consultant.

“We’re happy it went smoothly from what we’ve seen and what we heard,” said David Grande, vice president of the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce. “We’re glad that before the weather turned they were able to substantially complete it and allow people to access it.”

The Hermitage Town Center Study is a community-based planning project that looks to create a unique style to the city. The city also has plans for the Shenango Valley Mall, which sits next to the roundabout.

Bill Moder, president of the Hermitage Board of Commissioners, said the mall’s current structure could be torn down, with individual buildings for businesses replacing it. He said initial construction on the mall project is expected to begin next year and end in 2022.

“It could be a really exciting project with more of a modern shopping experience, where you don’t have to go into a giant building and walk through hallways to get to businesses,” Moder said. “You can get to businesses in kind of sections, and hopefully that project will proceed.”

Grande believes the roundabout will give the city a more “progressive” identity, which could attract businesses to the mall area.

“Hopefully it will spur on some more development at the mall,” Grande said. “We think this will be a good benefit.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.