By Liz Winhover - Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
Kiser Lake State Park in Champaign County is set to receive new rustic log cabins by early spring of 2018.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently requested funds from the Controlling Board in order to purchase construction materials to construct and install wooden cabins in several state parks, including Kiser Lake.
“The addition will improve attendance to the lake,” Alyssa Beaty, campground attendant, said, adding that the cabins will be able to hold bigger families.
The two cabins will come about through a partnership between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. The cabins are made from hardwood cut from Ohio state forests and are assembled by state prisoners.
The partnership between the two departments began last year.
They’re called Sherman Cabins after Camp Sherman, an Ohio Army National Guard training site near a Chillicothe prison.
Kiser Lake currently has two cabins and during the summer they see turn over every week, Beaty said.
Sites 3 and 4 at the lake will be closed beginning late October or early November to begin construction.
Beaty is excited for the addition because the two cabins they currently have are a hot commodity and suggests calling to rent a cabin three to four weeks in advance because they’re so popular.
The two new Sherman Cabins are expected to be available to the public by May 2018.
The state will install the log cabins in eight other state parks — Alum Creek located in Delaware County; Barkcamp in Belmont County; Beaver Creek in Columbiana County; East Harbor in Ottawa County; Hocking Hills in Hocking County; Kelleys Island in Ottawa County; Mohican in Ashland County; and Tarr Hollow in Ross County.
by Joshua Keeran, Urbana Daily Citizen
Navistar, one of the area’s largest employers, revealed plans for its new Urbana distribution center during a groundbreaking ceremony held Thursday at the Urbana Industrial Park on the city’s south side.
At an estimated price tag of $12 million, the 355,000-square-foot facility at 1155 Phoenix Drive is under construction and expected to be completed by Dec. 1. Once up and running, the facility is expected to house inventory for Navistar that could total up to $16 million.
“It’s a very exciting time for Navistar here in the great state of Ohio,” said Edward Franklin, senior manager of supply chain operations at Navistar.
Earlier this year, Franklin said, the company started production on a second assembly line at its Springfield assembly plant as part of an agreement with General Motors in which Navistar is manufacturing cutaway models of GM’s G Van.
“This facility will help us sustain our new relationship with GM as well as give us the opportunity to sustain our product portfolio growth in the future,” he said. “I’m very excited to get all our material and be able to consolidate it into one place here in Urbana.”
Located on property owned by Damewood Enterprises Limited, the new distribution center is being built by Dublin Building Systems. Once complete, the facility will be leased by Damewood Enterprises to Navistar.
Rich Irelan, vice president of sales and marketing for Dublin Building Systems, said his company is “committed to hitting” the target completion date of Dec. 1, and he said meeting such a deadline is obtainable thanks to the city’s willingness to see the project through.
“It’s so refreshing to work in the city of Urbana,” Irelan said. “We are going to promote more business in Urbana, Ohio, for sure.”
Speaking on behalf of Damewood Enterprises, Brad Damewood said, “We are very grateful for the opportunity to participate in this project,” and he added it wouldn’t have been a possibility without the help of Marcia Bailey (Champaign Economic Partnership executive director) and the support of a tax abatement agreement by Urbana City Council and Urbana City Schools Board of Education.
“I’m sure Navistar had plenty of options for build-to-suit locations as well as exciting buildings,” he said. “One of the things that allowed Urbana to be the site chosen was the tax abatement.”
The agreed upon Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) agreement grants Damewood Enterprises a 10-year, 100 percent tax exemption of real property tax.
Impact on local community
While Bailey acknowledged the new distribution center will result in at least a $28 million investment into the area ($12 million into the building and $16 million in inventory), she said the biggest winner in the deal is the local community from a jobs standpoint.
“We were able to save 114 jobs here in our community that could have went to another community,” she said. “We are looking at another 40 coming in either from another facility or new employment all together.”
In the CRA agreement, Navistar stated its plans with the new facility are to retain the 114 employees currently employed at its ODW Logistics facility (located at 1030 S. Edgewood Ave.), transfer 27 full-time jobs from Xenia to Urbana, and create 13 new full-time jobs.
Bailey said the distribution center will have a payroll of nearly $7 million.
Urbana Mayor Bill Bean added the city has been able to build great relationships over the years that has led to the numerous construction projects underway from two new school buildings to new commercial properties like the Navistar distribution center and a new medical center for Marysville-based Memorial Health.
“We have a lot of things going on. A lot of growth, and this (Navistar facility) is part of it,” he said. “Without good partners, we couldn’t do this.”
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.
by Casey S. Elliott, Urbana Daily Citizen
Urbana resident Michelle Smith always wanted her own shop.
“It was always my dream to open my own shop,” she said. “The opportunity never came up while raising four kids. But now they are grown. When the opportunity came up to buy it. I jumped on it.”
Smith is the new owner of Kaleidoscope, 117 N. Main St. She was a vendor at the shop for more than a year and a vendor in primitives over 10 years.
Smith graduated from Kenton Ridge High School in Springfield and moved to Urbana 24 years ago.
“I knew I wanted to be in business,” she said, noting when her children were younger they had a business pouring candles. That business, 3H’s, named after her daughters Heather (Mike White), Heidi (Justin Geer) and Hannah Smith, helped pay for their sports costs.
Now that they are older and on their own, she has the time to devote to her own business. She plans to keep the Kaleidoscope tradition alive, with vendors who are always looking for unique antique and vintage items.
Read More at http://urbanacitizen.com/news/55693/urbanas-kaleidoscope-gets-new-owner
by Katherine Collins - Springfield News-Sun
Students in Champaign County will have the chance to go to Clark State for free now that the community college has expanded a scholars program to the area.
Until now the Champion City Scholars program was only available to students within the Springfield City School District. Now 10 eighth graders from Graham Local Schools and 10 eighth graders from Urbana City Schools will be chosen to participate in the new Champaign County Scholars program at the beginning of next school year.
“The whole purpose is to ensure three free years of college for these students,” Clark State President Jo Alice Blondin said.
The students need to be the first member of their family to attend college, she said, and qualify for free or reduced lunch to be considered.
Click to read more on SpringfieldNewsSun.com
By Matt Sanctis - Springfield News-Sun
Urbana University’s new executive vice president said Wednesday he plans to develop closer ties between the university and local businesses.
Christopher Washington was named executive vice president of Urbana University last month after former President George Lucas resigned. Washington said Wednesday the university will play a more active role in the region and will develop deeper ties with area businesses, particularly in fields like manufacturing.
“We have to offer programs of study that are relevant to the surrounding community,” Washington said.
Washington is taking over at a time when Urbana University will shift to a branch campus of Franklin University. Franklin acquired the Champaign County campus in 2014 after Urbana University faced years of lean enrollment and financial struggles. As part of the deal, Urbana now functions as a division of Franklin but retains its name. Franklin is a private, nonprofit institution based in Columbus.
Read more at SpringfieldNewsSun.com
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The Champaign Economic Partnership certainly enjoyed a great evening at the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner. It was an evening of great food and quality time spent with our community.
Thank you to everyone that stopped by our expo table to learn more about the Champaign Economic Partnership and economic development projects in our community.
We also enjoyed sharing news about Community JobConnect, a new site to find jobs available in Champaign County. It's also a free job board for Champaign County businesses to post the job openings. If you haven't visited the new site, please do so at www.CommunityJobConnect.com.
(Pictured) Jill O'Neal of WEIDMANN Electrical Technology and Nancee Starkey of Bundy Baking Solutions currently have jobs posted on the new website www.CommunityJobConnect.com - Check it out!