Sugarcreek ‘open for business’ as SR 39 closes

Sugarcreek ‘open for business’ as SR 39 closes
Dave Mast

While the closure of state Route 39 between Dover and Sugarcreek will take travelers on a detour that comes out at the square in Shanesville, visitors will miss much of Sugarcreek.


When your village relies heavily on the tourism industry on a daily basis, having the one major thoroughfare bringing people to your area shut down for 45 days can be a troubling issue.

Sugarcreek will face such a dilemma beginning July 8 when state Route 39 will close down between Dover and Sugarcreek.

With that portion of road serving as a conduit from U.S. Route 77, it could have major ramifications on the travel itinerary of travelers coming from that direction, so Sugarcreek Council and the members of the Sugarcreek Business Association are working hard to promote the fact that Sugarcreek remains attainable despite the road work.

The village is now doing its best to deal with the difficult circumstance, and Bev Keller, SBA president, said what has made the situation more difficult is that no one knew about the closure until recently.

“What ODOT is doing in lowering that hill is really a valuable thing, and we fully support what they are doing,” Keller said. “We understand and appreciate what they are doing because they are looking out for the safety of our residents, our visitors and our businesses, but at the same time, it would have been nice to have a heads up on this so we could have prepared beforehand.”

She said the village including the mayor and village administrator had no knowledge of the road closure until recently, finding out through area safety forces.

Ohio Department of Transportation has posted its official detour, which is state Route 39, to state Route 516, to state Route 93 and then back to state Route 39, a route that almost completely bypasses most of the Sugarcreek community.

“This is during a peak tourism time for us,” Keller said. “Forty-five days in the peak of tourism season is a big deal. Plus, you’ve got big companies like ProVia, Dutch Valley Restaurant, Ohio Star Theater, Walnut Creek Foods and many other local businesses that rely on that route.”

To combat a situation that could be harmful to the village’s well-being, Keller has been working with ODOT and the Scenic Byway Sign Commission and has gotten official permission to have a sign placed at the intersection of state Route 39 and state Route 93 at the square in Shanesville.

The sign can be no larger than a traditional auction sign and may be placed as long as it doesn’t impede traffic or create danger.

“The idea is to do one, possibly two signs that would be on the corner by the Shanesville Memorial,” Keller said. “We are encouraging people to make a left at Shanesville and check out Sugarcreek for everything we have to offer.”

Keller said they are seeking support from local business owners who would like to support the project, which also will include a video featuring area businesses on the SBA’s social media outlets.

She said there will be drone footage taking people on some back road detours featuring area businesses that will be featured heavily on the website.

“We will be making sightseeing trips for people who, if they decide to get off the detour route, can explore some of the neat back roads and businesses around the countryside,” Keller said.

The plan is to have posts that showcase businesses in the area that are impacted by the detour.

“ODOT District 11 has pledged their support in sharing this expense as well,” Keller said. “Our goals are to keep people safe while at the same time letting everyone know that Sugarcreek is open for business.”

If any local business would like to be included and support the project, they can text or email Keller and tell her what they’d like featured, and she said she can make it happen.

“We will only feature one business per day to keep the exposure fair for everyone,” Keller said.

Keller can be texted at 330-260-1248 or emailed at

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