“The zoning right now is for manufacturing,” Bailey said. “But we’re looking at whether it would make better sense on the east side to make it more of a mixed use environment because there would be space for retail, offices and manufacturing combined if that was the need.”
Once complete, Bailey said the complicated project will remove a property that was a nuisance to the city and local first responders. Once redeveloped, the goal is to use the property to attract more jobs and investment to the city. The abandoned Q3 site at Miami and Beech streets has been an eyesore in Urbana for years, creating concerns about safety, vandalism and drug use on the property. In 2015, a fire destroyed much of the building.
City officials took control of the property under the conditions that overdue taxes were cleared off the books and funding was secured to perform necessary demolition and clean up contamination at the site. The process to acquire the site and secure the necessary funding was a lengthy process, but once the work was underway, the project moved forward fairly quickly, said Kerry Brugger, director of administration for Urbana.
“The bulk of the demolition, the buildings that are going to come down, for the most part are down,” Brugger said. “They’re working on slab removal, and they’ll finish up and (do) soil remediation that needs to be completed.”
There is work left to do on the existing buildings on the site that will remain there. The city contracted with True Inspection Services, an Urbana-based developer, to clean up and redevelop the site. Other partners included Honeywell, with whom the city contracted to clean soil on the rear west side of the site.
Once the work is complete, the city will seek a Covenant Not to Sue from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. That designation will show the site is cleaned up and in good condition, a key to allowing the city to eventually transfer the property.
True Inspection Services will initially take over part of the property once the work is complete and work with the CEP to find candidates to occupy the site. The company is also renovating the remaining buildings for office space or warehouse space by next year.
“We anticipate the cleanup and remediation part of the project should be done in the next eight weeks,” said Joe Timm, vice president for True Inspection Services.
There are prospective tenants for the property, Timm said, but he declined to disclose them because the project is still months from completion. He said the company had previous experience renovating the former Buckles Motors dealership and converting it to office space and warehousing. Finishing the Q3 project will provide several benefits to the city, he said.
“It will add some jobs to the community and increase the tax base,” Timm said. “It will definitely be good for the community, along with getting rid of an eyesore.”
By Matt Sanctis - Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
Nursing and truck driving are the most in demand jobs in the region that includes Clark and Champaign counties, with jobs in retail also near the top of the list, according to a state report.
The report from OhioMeansJobs provides a snapshot of online job ads posted in a one-month period for six different Ohio regions. It provides an indication of the most in-demand occupations and a list of regional employers doing most of the hiring in a given area.
The results were not a surprise, said Amy Donahoe, director of hiring and employer services for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. She said many companies, both locally and nationally, continue to struggle to find and retain qualified truck drivers.
Clark State Community College has a program to train drivers for the industry, she said, and the chamber is working with partners to find better ways to promote in-demand jobs in the region.
“We do recognize there is a need there and Clark State has a great program,” Donahoe said. “We also need to figure out how to engage the schools so they can help educate students about it becoming an option for them. If parents understand what kinds of opportunities there are and what kind of pay is involved, it’s a good place for some graduates to start.”
The report showed a total of 16,658 online job openings from Jan. 14 to Feb. 13 this year for a region that includes, Clark, Champaign, Montgomery, Greene and Miami counties.That’s an increase of about 700 job postings compared to the same time last year, and an increase of about 1,300 postings from the previous reporting period.
Kettering Medical Center was the highest number of job ads in the region with just more than 1,000 ads, the report says. Mercy Health, the biggest employer in Springfield, was also near the top of the list with 131 postings.
The report shows a little less than half the ads posted, about 44 percent, require at least an Associate’s degree. About 30 percent required a high school diploma or GED only and about 23 percent required a Bachelor’s degree.
In Champaign County, local officials have developed Community Job Connect, an online job site specifically for Champaign County businesses and residents. Many of the ads posted on that site include construction and manufacturing positions.
“Every employer is using every mechanism available to them to find employees,” said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign Economic Partnership.
With a low unemployment rate, Donahoe said industries such as retail will likely continue to see a gap between the number of applicants and available jobs as workers look for higher-paying work.
“When other businesses are hiring, you see a lot of people from retail go into manufacturing for instance,” Donahoe said of entry-level positions. “The pay could be a little more at times and sometimes it’s just equal. But there are also greater opportunities for upward mobility.”
The Springfield News-Sun provides award-winning coverage of jobs and the economy in Clark and Champaign counties, including recent stories tracking local unemployment rates and expansions at Topre America and Silfex.
By the numbers:
16,665 — Online job ads from Jan. 14 to Feb. 13 in the region that include Clark and Champaign counties
1,305 — Increase in job ads from previous reporting period
722 — Increase in job ads compared to same time last year
44.5 percent — Jobs requiring an Associate’s degree
Source: Ohio Means Jobs
No plans have been finalized, Bailey said. But local economic development leaders plan to meet with potential local investors as early as next month.
The study estimated the project could generate between 15 and 20 new jobs, depending on the size of the hotel, if it’s built.
“This meeting is just to generate the interest of other community leadership,” Bailey said.
Champaign County has rooms available for overnight stays, including a downtown bed and breakfast and businesses like the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites and the Logan Lodge Motel. But the county hasn’t had a new hotel in years.
Elton Cultice, airport manager at Grimes Field in Urbana, has told the News-Sun he often reserves rooms in Springfield for events at the airport because of the few options available in Champaign County. That means less business for local restaurants and other businesses in Champaign County.
The CEP hired a consultant from Core Distinction Group to conduct the feasibility study. Staff from that company couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. The study was based on interviews with area businesses and local attractions that typically draw visitors overnight, as well as traffic studies from 2011 and 2014 provided by the CEP.
That included staff from local tourist attractions like the Ohio Caverns. The study also consulted with other entities that might draw residents for overnight stays or business purposes, including Urbana University and a small number of manufacturing firms.
The total tourism impact in Champaign County resulted in more than $47 million in sales and enables the employment of more than 350 people in the county, according to a 2013 study by Tourism Economics.
Along with as many as 70 to 80 rooms, the Core Distinction Group’s report also recommended the potential hotel provide meeting areas with space for about 50 guests, a pool and a workout area. In the end though, all those decisions, including how many rooms are included in the final plans, will be determined by any investors who push the project forward, Bailey said.
The hotel would be built within Urbana city limits, she said, but it’s too early to discuss any specific locations for the property.
If and when the project might move forward is still unclear, Bailey said. But if a decision to build the hotel is finalized this year, she said it’s likely the project could ramp up as early as 2019.
Bailey said the hotel would likely be a name-brand chain.
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.
Clark State Community College and the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) have joined forces to enhance regional workforce and economic development efforts in Champaign County and the surrounding areas.
The CEP is a partnership of private business, local government and the Champaign County Community Improvement Corporation dedicated to advancing economic development and job creation in Champaign County. The CEP connects businesses to available commercial real estate, workforce, training, zoning, transportation, infrastructure and local and state incentives – all key ingredients to successful business development and growth.
“In the spirit of the Champaign Economic Partnership’s motto, ‘working together for success,’ we have been involved with the CEP since its inception,” said Toni Overholser, director of workforce and business solutions for Clark State. “The CEP has connected Clark State with businesses who may benefit from our services and vice versa.”
Overholser said the expanded partnership will provide Clark State with a home base in Champaign County allowing better coordination of the regional workforce and economic development efforts, as well as provide more convenient access to the local businesses and other partners.
Sharing office space
“We are excited to have Clark State sharing office space with our agency. We have worked closely with Clark State for several years to bring the resources needed to train our workforce,” said Marcia Bailey, economic development director for the Champaign Economic Partnership. “This partnership will allow both business and prospective students the ability to meet with Clark State representatives at the CEP office. We look forward to the continued effort of economic development and workforce development.”
The Clark State Workforce and Business Solutions department will provide consulting and workforce services to support Champaign County businesses and economic development partners. Services may include onsite business consulting, professional development in numerous categories, hiring assessments and connecting local businesses with our student pipelines for hiring, coops and internships.
“This expanded partnership will allow us to collaborate directly with the CEP on workforce and talent issues while allowing us to better connect with local business and residents,” said Overholser. “In addition to business services, we will be available to residents and the public for discussion of training options for in-demand jobs in the region.”
Beginning Feb. 8, a representative from Clark State’s Workforce and Business Solutions department will be available the first and fourth Thursday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. No appointment is needed. The CEP is located at 3 Monument Square in Urbana.
“We are very excited to expand this partnership and help the CEP continue their work of advancing economic development and job creation,” said Overholser. “We look forward to working with the region’s businesses and residents as the community college and workforce partner in Champaign County.”