Nelsonville Still Adjusting To Life With 33 Bypass


The state Route 33 bypass is speeding up travel time between Columbus and Athens.

At the same time, it is diverting traffic away from downtown Nelsonville.

While a few restaurants and gas stations are feeling the pinch, other businesses say the price of progress is something everyone has to share to survive.
Fewer cars are clogging Nelsonville streets these days. There is also a brand new gateway to the historic district.

At the Nelsonville Emporium, Jennifer L’Heureux continues her work by molding special creations.

"It depends where I pull, shape and move it and press it, which I'm doing now, as to how the final piece will come out,” said L’Heureux. "I had to hire a couple of employees because when I came into work on Mondays, I am having people knocking on my door, waiting to come in."

The Nelsonville Emporium offers handcrafted pottery, jewelry, and other items made by more than 85 local artisans. She says the new bypass is not hampering her business.

"I've had the best holiday season ever, and I've been in business 13 years already,” she says.

"With or without the bypass, there is a sense here that this historic town in a state of discovery, redefining itself as a destination, promoting its unique personality to the region and beyond."

"They get a little confused with the bypass, but they always find me,” says Susan Holmes, Nelsonville Quilt Company.

10TV talked to Holmes in her quilt shop when the bypass first opened last fall.

She says the new roadway is slowly weaving into the fabric of this community.

"Whether we wanted it or not, it had to come,” she says.

"The winter was hard on everybody, but we had a great January, February and March."

And she's hopeful for even better things this coming summer.

"I have seen a pick-up in just the last two to three weeks from the Hocking Hills.”