When Mayor Tom Perciak on Pearl Road last week, he said the project did not just create a wider roadway.
It turned a key to future prosperity.
"This opens up 500 acres of industrial land for development," Perciak said. "That's why the completion of Pearl Road was so important to us."
The easier access gives the city a better shot at developing the industrial park property -- land that could bring dozens of new manufacturing plants to town, along with hundreds of jobs.
The land is located off Foltz Industrial Park, just south of the city's bustling manufacturing and warehouse district.
Interest is already strong, the mayor said.
"As soon as it looked like , the calls started coming in about vacant pieces of land," Perciak said, with callers asking about zoning and development. "I don't know how many times we've answered these questions in the last few months."
The city owns 169 acres of the land, with the other acreage privately held.
Economic Development Director Brent Painter said company owners look carefully at access to major roads and freeways when locating their companies, and the two-lane Pearl was preventing new development off Foltz.
Many people leave the industrial park on Drake and use Pearl Road to access I-71 north or south, he said.
"This opens up access to freeways," Painter said. "It will really help us market the property."
The recently completed project widened Pearl Road from the post office to a point south of Drake Road.
The city has already started engineering work on the second phase of the widening, which will widen the road up Stoney Hill to Boston Road.