“The idea is essentially investors are able to defer a portion of their gains if they invest the proceeds from a sale into one of the opportunity zones,” said Devesh Kamal, a certified public accountant with Clark Schaefer Hackett, a Springfield accounting firm.
The program could lead to significant new investments into some of the region’s high-poverty neighborhoods, said Tom Franzen, assistant city manager and director of economic development for Springfield. There are a few limitations on the types of business that can qualify according to Clark Schaefer Hackett. For example, investment in a golf course or massage parlor is not allowed, but numerous other projects including housing and retail could qualify.
“Now that we have the designated Opportunity Zones, the next step for us to is to analyze the area contained within the Opportunity Zone to ensure that we identify and address potential barriers to attracting investments, such as zoning, permitting, and any others,” Franzen said.
One challenge is some of the rules for the new program have not been finalized, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign Economic District which focuses on economic development in Champaign County.
“We can market we have an opportunity zone and where it is,” Bailey said. “We just don’t know what the rules are as far as the (Internal Revenue Service) is concerned.
Clark County’s four tracts generally focus on an area that includes downtown Springfield. The rough borders include Snyder Park Road to the north and West Grand Avenue to the South. Norfolk Southern rail lines to near Snyder Park form a portion of the West border with East Street on the Eastern border.
Franzen said the next step will be for the city to work with partners including the Chamber of Greater Springfield to develop a long-term strategy for the area as well as opportunities to market the zone.
“The Opportunity Zone, combined with recent efforts by the city commission to expand Community Reinvestment Act tax abatement opportunities in these same areas, as well as the commission’s refocused efforts on improving our neighborhoods, downtown and major corridors, could prove to be a compelling draw for investors,” Franzen said.
Bailey said local economic development officials also need to work with area residents to determine what kinds of investments will be most beneficial.
“Just because we have this Opportunity Zone, it’s still up to the property owner of do they want to sell their property for development to occur,” Bailey said.
Wendy Patton, a senior project director with Policy Matters Ohio, said one reason to be cautious about the new program is it’s left up to local communities to ensure the investments benefit current residents and businesses in the approved areas.
The idea behind the program is to provide a boost to areas that have some momentum, but historically Patton said tax incentives have a poor record in creating jobs. There’s also a concern expensive new developments could force up rents and make it tougher for some lower-income residents to remain in their neighborhoods.
A report from Policy Matters Ohio also pointed out the main beneficiaries will be the wealthiest tax filers who have the capital available to invest in the program.
“This program could help drive inequality or it could bring opportunity to these low-income people in these communities,” Patton said.
The report argues reporting requirements, transparency and enforceable community benefit agreements should be included in the program’s rules to prevent harm to residents.
“Our local elected officials and community leaders need to take it on themselves to ensure there’s some wealth that’s coming back to the community,” Patton said.
On the web:
FACTS & FIGURES
320 — Census tracts in Ohio
73 — Ohio counties in which eligible tracts were submitted
4 — Tracts in Springfield
1 — Tract in Champaign County
“There are communities where people struggle to access the health care they need. Mercy Health – St. Paris Family Medicine bridges the gap, connecting area residents directly to fundamental health services at a location convenient for them,” said Lee Syphus, Chief Operating Officer of Mercy Health Physicians – Springfield. “As a mission-based organization, we are proud to share our resources to help keep communities well.”
St. Paris Family Medicine will host a ribbon-cutting and open house noon-2 p.m. on Oct. 2. Visitors can meet Kennedy, tour the practice and learn about the services available there.
St. Paris Family Medicine will be open initially 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Wednesdays and 8 a.m.-noon on Fridays. The clinic hours will grow based on community need. For more information or to make an appointment, call 937-523-9816.
“We got in the car,” Heidi recalled recently. “I knew right off the bat we weren’t going to make it to Springfield. (Her mother) said, ‘All right. We’ll go to Urbana. You know at least there’s a doctor there. We know it’s a hospital.’”
The problem: Mercy Health Urbana Hospital has no obstetrics department. And, for security reasons, the doors of the facility stay locked.
Grandma (Faith was on her way to being Tuttle’s third child) banged on the doors while Tuttle remained in the van, screaming. Her water had broken.
“I was in a lot of pain,” she recalled. “It was way worse than the other two (children).”
Enter Tricia Blanken, a registered nurse who just happened to be delivering blood samples to the hospital that day. When she happened upon the situation, she said her intention was to help Tuttle inside the hospital.
Faith was having none of that.
“(Tuttle) went into the next contraction and said, ‘No, I’m going to have this baby right now,’ ” Blanken said.
See the full article in the Sun. May 13th Springfield News-Sun
Melanie Ziegler, a spokeswoman for the company, said the project is on schedule and no delays are anticipated.
The medical group will also host a groundbreaking open house event and ceremony at Memorial Hospital in Marysville as part of a separate project. The company is undergoing a $50 million expansion and renovation of Memorial Hospital.
That project involves construction of two buildings, both an inpatient pavilion and an outpatient pavilion on the main campus at 500 London Ave. in Marysville.
By Allyson Brown - Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
A Champaign County hospital will receive more than $3 million in changes as part as an effort to unify a large health care system that’s one of the biggest employers in Ohio.
Mercy Memorial Hospital in Urbana has been renamed Mercy Health-Urbana Hospital and is the latest health-care facility in Champaign County to make upgrades to its facilities.
Memorial Health in Marysville is constructing a $9 million outpatient medical center that will have an urgent care, lab testing services, rotating physician specialists, expanded primary care and other services. And Mary Rutan Hospital, based in Bellefontaine, moved its Urbana clinic to a larger building in July 2016 to offer more services.
Mercy Health-Urbana Hospital also made earlier a $235,000 renovation to create a Chronic Care Clinic in a previously vacant wing there.
The goal of the upgrades at Mercy Health-Urbana is to provide a safe, quality hospital in the community, said Jamie Houseman, president of Mercy Health-Urbana Hospital. [Read full article at http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/]
Bailey was joined by CEP board members Kyle Hall, president of the Hall Company; Steve Hess, Champaign County commissioner; Evelyn Levino, chief of staff of Urbana University; Ron Salyer, president and chief executive officer of Pioneer Electric Cooperative; and Pat Thackery, Urbana city councilman and owner of Café Paradiso, Carmazzi’s, the Studio and Fine Arts Gallery, and Room 117.
“It’s great to see all the good things happening in Champaign County – the investment and job opportunities. It’s all good,” Jordan said.
At the Navistar site, Jordan spoke with Jerry and Brad Damewood of Damewood Enterprises, on whose property the warehouse is being built in the Urbana Industrial Park, at 915 Phoenix Drive.
The $12 million facility is expected to be completed by Dec. 1. Navistar will store up to $16 million in inventory in the warehouse to support contracts with General Motors at the Navistar assembly plant between Springfield and Urbana. The facility will retain 114 existing Navistar jobs. In addition, 27 jobs will be transferred from Xenia and 13 new full-time jobs will be created.
Urbana City Schools Superintendent Charles Thiel led the group through the district’s two building projects, along with representatives of general contractor Gilbane Building Company and the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC), which administers the projects. The new schools are being funded 61 percent by state funds and 39 percent local.
The 180,000-square-foot pre-K through eighth grade school will have an enrollment of about 1,500 students when it opens in early 2019. Located on South U.S. Route 68, the school property is in the process of being annexed into the city of Urbana.
Thiel said that classes will begin in the new Urbana High School, on the site of the current high school on Washington Avenue, in the spring of 2018. Two portions of the existing building will remain after the project is completed: the iconic Castle building and the auditorium/gymnasium building.
Funding through OFCC does not pay for auditorium construction, but Thiel said the school’s auditorium underwent an extensive upgrade in 2001. He added that the floor below the auditorium could be used for a manufacturing lab to help with workforce development.
The new school, for about 500 students, is designed for flexibility in classroom layout to support project-based learning and use of the latest educational technology.
Thiel said the public is invited to tour the high school construction project Friday, Sept. 8, 5-6:30 p.m., before the Urbana-Greenville football game.
Urbana hospital preparing for upgrades
Mercy Memorial Hospital, founded in 1951, is undergoing more than a name change, to Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital. Jamie Houseman, the hospital’s president, said that Mercy Health, which is Ohio’s largest nonprofit health system, is providing capital funding to:
*Upgrade the hospital’s central sterile system to accommodate the addition in 2018 of a da Vinci® robotic surgery system. Houseman said this will expand the range of minimally invasive surgical procedures available locally to Champaign County residents, at Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital.
*Open a 10-bed geriatric psychiatric unit in a section of Mercy Health – McAuley Senior Living (formerly Mercy McAuley Center), which adjoins the hospital. The short-term inpatient treatment program is intended for individuals 55 and older. The secured unit will be ready year-end to accept patient referrals from a variety of sources. The program will provide short-term monitoring, medication adjustment and treatment of medically complicated conditions. Due to a lack of such facilities in the area, patients must often be transferred hours away for care, Houseman said.
Memorial Health Medical Building
Spence Fisher, executive vice president of Memorial Health, spoke with Jordan about Memorial Health’s $9 million 30,000-square-foot outpatient medical building under construction at the northwest corner of East U.S. Route 36 and North Dugan Road.
The facility, which will open mid-2018, will retain 16 existing jobs and create 12 new jobs. Memorial Primary Care, now at 900 Scioto St., Urbana, will move to the new facility. The practice, now with four primary care practitioners, will have room to recruit three more in the new location.
The medical building also will accommodate rotating medical specialists, urgent care, x-ray imaging, lab testing services, sports medicine, physical and occupational therapy, and a medical therapy clinic, where a clinical pharmacist and nurse practitioner will evaluate and counsel patients with complex, chronic conditions.