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 Christopher Selmek, Urbana Daily Citizen
The Urbana City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the residential rental development proposed by Flaherty and Collins Properties to redevelop South Elementary School, North Elementary School and the Douglas Inn for senior apartments at a regular council meeting on Tuesday. A copy of this resolution will accompany Flaherty and Collins' tax credit application to the Ohio Housing Finance Authority by the Feb. 15 deadline.
"I think this is a fantastic opportunity, and I think Urbana would be very welcoming to this," said council member Doug Hoffman. "We've got three distinct structures that I think really need this for the revitalization of the properties. These properties don't get fixed up any other way, at least not in the near future, and it also helps some of the other entities in town like the school and the downtown. I think this is just fantastic."
"I'm really excited about this," added council member Pat Thackery. "We have a housing issue in the community anyway, and if we get some senior housing, that's going to open up some housing that seniors are moving out of so others can move in there, and that's going to help the housing overall. I'm excited. And we need exciting things like this to happen in town and they're happening."
As part of the proposed development, the council unanimously passed another resolution authorizing the acquisition of certain properties, an agency agreement with the Community Improvement Corporation of Champaign County to negotiate with a buyer to purchase and develop said properties, declaring said properties to be no longer needed for public purposes and to authorize the sale of said propertes.
CIC Economic Director Marcia Bailey explained that the Urbana school board passed a resolution last week approving the sale of North and South elementaries to the city for a dollar a building. The school board set the purchase price of both buildings at $354,000, to which Flaherty and Collins has agreed.
"I see a trend where all the good things that seem to keep happening are coming through collaboration, through another party and party deals," Hoffman said. "Everything's happening with two and three and four, even five people involved, and I think that's not anything that we've had for a long time that I can remember. The group that we have up here now is working some pretty nice deals for the city, and I think our citizens recognize that."
The Douglas Inn is privately owned and further action will not be required fromt he council to authorize its sale.
· Sandra Brasington, Gov. John Kasich’s regional liaison, addressed the governor’s initiatives to address the opioid crisis. About $1 billion has been directed to the problem, including prevention, education, treatment and recovery, and law enforcement.
· Lauren Bowen, public affairs liaison for Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, spoke about OhioCheckbook.com, a website created by the Ohio Treasurer’s office to provide taxpayers online access to state government spending data – to hold public officials accountable. Local government spending also is being added to the website. So far in Champaign County, spending records for Mad River Township, Goshen Township, St. Paris and Mechanicsburg have been published on the website. North Lewisburg, Christiansburg and Urbana City Schools will be added soon.
· Than Johnson, CEO of Champaign Residential Services, Inc., spoke on behalf of Ohio Sen. Matt Huffman. He said Huffman is working on a redistricting amendment that will be on the ballot this fall. He also is working with local school districts on legislation to improve current state regulations to assist in local school funding.
· Champaign County Commissioner Steve Hess said, “I can’t remember when there’s been so much new development in our county.” He gave as examples new Urbana school buildings, the Memorial Health medical center, the new Navistar/Damewood Enterprises warehouse, the new Crop Production Services facility and expansion of WEIDMANN Electrical Technology.
He said that the CEP’s mission is to “create the path of least resistance to help business develop in our county. If we can find a process to make development easier, that’s what we want to do.” He added that the CEP is partnering with manufacturers and educational institutions to prepare the next generation for the workforce.
To help guide economic and community development in the future, he said, Champaign County commissioners are working with the Logan-Union-Champaign Regional Planning Commission to create a new comprehensive plan that will cover the entire county.
· Urbana Mayor Bill Bean spoke about redevelopment of the former Q3/JMC, Inc. manufacturing site in Urbana – about 20 acres that are being prepared for new industrial development and job creation. He also mentioned a collaborative effort of the city, Urbana City Schools, the CEP and a developer that could create 50 senior citizen apartments in the Douglas Hotel in downtown Urbana and Urbana North and South elementary schools, which will close with the opening of Urbana’s new elementary and middle school. Also, he reported, the second phase of the city’s replacement of water lines will begin in the next year.
· Mechanicsburg Mayor Greg Kimball mentioned two projects that the CEP has assisted the village with – foreclosed downtown property that the village wants to return to productive commercial use and annexing the Advanced Technology Products manufacturing facility into the village.
A plan to redevelop a long-vacant hotel in downtown Urbana could also provide new life to two elementary schools that would otherwise be slated for demolition.
The Urbana City School District, the city of Urbana and the owners of the former Douglas Hotel are working on a proposal that could turn the vacant inn, as well as North and South Elementary Schools in Urbana, into affordable senior housing, Mayor Bill Bean said. Those entities are working with the Champaign Economic Partnership and Flaherty and Collins Properties, a developer based in Indianapolis.
The deal initially focused on finding a suitable use for the Douglas, which has been vacant for more than a decade, Bean said. But that site didn’t have enough rooms available to make the project viable so the developer also looked at the two elementary schools.
The school district is building a new high school on the same site as the current high school, as well as a preschool-eighth grade school and between Vintage Drive-Thru and Campground Road on the south side of town. With the new primary school under construction, the district’s three elementary schools were likely to be demolished, district Superintendent Charles Thiel said.
If the new project moves forward, it could redevelop a longtime eyesore downtown, find a new use for two of the school district’s aging buildings and provide more senior housing options for residents, Bean said.
The owners of the Douglas and staff from Flaherty and Collins couldn’t be reached for comment.
Several attempts have been made to redevelop the downtown hotel since it closed more than a decade ago. But renovations would be costly, Bean said, and finding a viable project has been difficult. The hotel was a local landmark and a popular business for years but most recently it’s been an eyesore, he said.
The city would only need to take over the two school buildings since the hotel is currently owned by a private entity.
“As far as I’m concerned, that hotel is a cancer in downtown Urbana,” Bean said.
Converting the hotel into senior housing would draw more foot traffic downtown, create jobs and benefit local businesses and restaurants, he said. Urbana’s Board of Zoning and Appeals recently approved a zoning change, approving two conditional use permits for the city school buildings that would allow them to be used for senior housing, said Marty Hess, a city council and BZA member.
“It’s going to be a boon for downtown Urbana if we can get this done,” Bean said.
Under the proposal, the school district would transfer the two properties to the city, and the CEP would transfer the properties to the developer, said Marcia Bailey, economic development director for the CEP.
The developer is seeking a grant from the Ohio Fair Housing agency in mid-February, Bailey said. The developer also is applying for historic tax credits later in the year to make the plan more affordable, she said, so all sides are working on a tight timeline.
Even if the developer doesn’t receive the credits this year, it would still be interested in applying next year, Bailey said. But the organizations are also discussing an agreement to make sure the city isn’t stuck with two school buildings if the deal falls through, she said.
“If we can get that historic building redeveloped, it just changes the whole landscape of downtown Urbana,” Bailey said.
The school district has funding available as part of its construction project to tear down unused buildings, Thiel said. Most of the money set aside for demolition would be returned to the state if the buildings are saved, he said. If this proposal falls through, there aren’t viable reasons for the district to maintain those properties.
The district has heard some interest from parties interested in East Elementary School, which isn’t included in this proposal, Thiel said. But there are no specific deals moving forward for that property at this point.
“There’s a large faction of the community that would like to keep and maintain those buildings for their history,” he said of North and South elementaries. “If it can be reused and repurposed that would be ideal, and the total project would be a win for the community.”
The Springfield News-Sun provides unmatched coverage of jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent stories tracking unemployment rates and digging into expansion plans at Topre.
By the numbers
$35 million: Estimated cost to build a new elementary school in Urbana.
2: Of the three Urbana elementary schools that might be reused for senior housing
3: Total properties involved in senior housing plan — 2 elementary schools and the Douglas Hotel
10-15: Years that the Douglas Hotel has been vacant
Starting or expanding a business requires hard work, attention to detail and numerous points of contact, to turn plans into reality.
The Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) simplifies the process as the starting point for anyone wanting to establish or expand business in Champaign County. And the CEP recently added to its website a helpful guide – the CEP Business Playbook.
The Playbook outlines key elements involved in starting or growing a business and the appropriate agencies to call on for help. The Playbook covers details such as writing a business plan, registering a business, finding available property with the appropriate zoning, acquiring necessary licenses and permits, business loans, marketing, utilities, and finding and retaining employees.
“The Playbook is a good resource to review before contacting us at the CEP to discuss your plans and develop a strategy for achieving your goals,” Marcia Bailey, director of the CEP, said.
“As Champaign County’s designated economic development agency, the CEP serves as the place for business developers to start. We can connect you with all the resources needed to start or grow a business, through our partnerships with local governments, state and regional economic development agencies, real estate agencies, utilities, lenders, workforce development and others,” Bailey said.
The Business Playbook can be accessed from the “CEP Business Playbook” tab on the top navigation bar of the CEP website.
The Playbook was developed with the help of the Small Business Development Center in Springfield, which serves Champaign County, Wittenberg University business students and Hannah Tukesbrey Kilbride, CEP administrative assistant.
For information on starting or expanding a business in Champaign County, contact the CEP at (937) 653-7200 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And Tina Knotts, a former director of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, opened Let’s Eat Cake, a specialty bakery nearby at 117 Scioto St. The bakery also shares space with other local businesses for a separate business called Room 117 at that site, which provides space for catering and special events.
Both Oxner’s General Store and Let’s Eat Cake hosted grand opening celebrations earlier this month.
Manoloff said the store presented him an opportunity to turn a hobby into a full-time business.
A former government and history teacher at Springfield City School District, Manoloff also spent years tracking down unusual items and antiques as a vendor. Jewelry at the store is new but most other items available at the store’s two floors are vintage or antiques, he said.
“The whole time, I never lost my desire for antiques,” he said of his time as an educator.
Despite the competition from other antique stores downtown, he said he’s been welcomed in the short time his store has been open.
“Everyone wants each other to succeed and that’s very cool,” Manoloff said.
Knotts served as director of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce for several years before taking a similar position in Union County. But she chose to open Let’s Eat Cake in downtown Urbana because of the connections she still has in Champaign County. The business started in her home about four years ago but grew to the point where she needed additional space.
Along with running the bakery, she continues to work for the Union County chamber as well.
“It is a balancing act, I’m not going to fib,” Knotts said. “But I love the baking. I spend my weekends in Urbana and Monday through Friday I’m coordinating and promoting events for Union County.”
The bakery focuses on special orders and cakes for weddings, baby showers and similar events. It’s closed for retail most of the week, but typically opens on Saturdays to allow customers to place and pick up orders. The bakery also hosts Cupcake Staurdays each weekend where customers can buy cupcakes, cookies and other items from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Knotts’ business also shares space at Room 117 at that address with the Buckeye Pig Rig, a catering company and food truck, and Cafe Paradiso, a downtown Urbana restaurant. Along with providing room for Knotts to bake, the space can also be rented for events like wedding showers and rehearsal dinners.
“We all recognized that small event space is hard to find for 25 to 35 people, so we took the cafe and converted it to private dining space,” she said.
That allows the restaurant and catering service to use the space while Knotts can provide baked goods.
“We’re kind of waiting for a response from the public to see what the demand is and then we can add hours or staff,” Knotts said.
by Joshua Keeran, Urbana Daily Citizen
For the second time since opening a clinic in Urbana in May 2015, Mary Rutan Hospital has expanded its outreach in Champaign County.
On Monday, the Logan County staple opened Mary Rutan Therapy & Sports Medicine, a 4,160-sq. ft. medical office located in the Walmart strip mall at 211 Lippincott Lane (formerly Cato).
Situated a stone's throw from the Mary Rutan Hospital Urbana Clinic, 1880 E. U.S. Route 36, the new office gives the hospital much-needed space for its physical therapy and sports medicine services, while allowing for new services to be offered to county residents who had been traveling north to Bellefontaine, said Laura Miller, Mary Rutan Hospital marketing and communications vice president.
"We were operating in about 500 square feet of space for our physical therapy and sports medicine services," she said. "Just in the short period of time we've provided these services (since mid-2016 when the clinic moved from 848 Scioto St. to its current location), we have outgrown the space very, very quickly."
With an additional 4,000 square feet of space at its disposal, the new Mary Rutan Therapy & Sports Medicine office will also offer other therapies: occupational, speech and language, and feeding, swallowing and voice.
Likewise, by moving physical therapy and sports medicine services to the new office, Mary Rutan Hospital was able to expand services at its Urbana clinic.
Along with offering adult and pediatric primary care, obstetrics and gynecology, general surgery, X-ray and laboratory services, Miller said the Mary Rutan Urbana Clinic recently added the following services: urology, orthopedic, and ear, nose and throat.
Miller added that opening the new office created extra space for more exam rooms, etc., which means the hospital is able to bring additional providers to Champaign County to better serve its patients.
"It gives us more flexibility with scheduling by getting providers into the clinic and new office more often," Miller said.
To schedule an appointment or for more information, call (937) 887-0163.