The Champaign County Commissioners are exploring grant opportunities to improve internet/broadband service. The first step is to collect data to determine the need for improved internet service, and this will be done through a survey. We need your opinion! Please take a moment to complete the survey (at your home), it can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LUCInternet.
Please share this information with others in Champaign County. Thank you!
Ice Cream Parlor Will Also Return
After several months without a police chief, the St. Paris Village Council voted to hire a full-time chief during Monday’s regular council meeting.
Eric Smith of Bridgeport will earn a salary of $47,500 a year as defined by the village handbook.
There will also be a “Canine Care Allowance” of $6,235.32 a year.
Smith begins his duties on May 1, according to information from St. Paris Mayor Brenda Cook. A probation period will last until Nov. 1, at which time the mayor with the village’s safety committee will evaluate performance and recommend to council permanent appointment or dismissal.
In 2011, with the assistance of Hull & Associates, the city obtained a grant from the Ohio Department of Development through the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund for assessment work at the site.
In 2014, the city filed an expedited foreclosure application with the county Board of Revision. The following year, no one bid for the property at public auctions and the property was forfeited to the city.
In 2017, the city took title to the property and, later that year, TIS Properties LLC partnered with the city to clean up and redevelop the site. The city and TIS both committed funds toward that end, and the Champaign Economic Partnership assisted in obtaining grant funding.
In 2020, the city transferred ownership of the east side of the property to TIS Properties LLC.
The city still owns the west side of the property, west of Dugan Run and the Simon Kenton Trail. City officials say remediation has been completed on the west side and that a covenant not to sue will be requested from Ohio EPA. At that point, the city hopes to find an end user.
The city, TIS and the Champaign Economic Partnership continue work to redevelop the property.
Information provided by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the city of Urbana and the Champaign Economic Partnership.
By Anna Gaertner- Contributing writer Urbana Daily Citizen
MECHANICSBURG – Champaign Economic Development Director Marcia Bailey was present during the meeting to discuss a building improvement project with the village council.
“The Main Street building there on the corner which used to have a laundromat and a video store was owned by the village,” Bailey said.
She explained that after the village had been trying to sell the property for a long time, Mayor Ben Layne put in a bid for the property, hoping to renovate it.
“He had gotten started on some renovations, but then decided to sell the property and his brother was interested in it. His brother (Austin Layne) and his wife are now renovating the property,” Bailey explained. “There is an apartment upstairs, and one in the front of the building as well. And then, there will be storefronts on the bottom floor.
“My question for the council is, do you want me to get another signed development agreement with Austin?” Bailey said.
“Because of the nature of the way this transaction happened, I think it would be advantageous for Ben if Austin is willing to sign that,” Attorney Joe Jimenez replied.
Council members unanimously agreed to have Austin Layne sign a new development agreement.
“Having that eyesore cleaned up will be great!” Councilman Jason Adelsberger said after seeing photos of the renovation project.
Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis informed the council members about an estimate for repair from storm water issues on East Race Street and Clark Avenue for a total of $10,675 to likely come out of the street fund money.
The council members approved the funds.
“I don’t know if you have driven down West Sandusky, but we have some major issues. On West Main as well. Do we want to get bids to come in and fix these potholes?” added the mayor. Layne listed different methods that could be used to improve the streets.
“We can use flash fill, concrete, asphalt. I think this needs to be as soon as possible. We can use the state fund for this, but it is our responsibility. We also have four water main break patches too.”
The council members agreed to set up a Street Committee meeting to further discuss these issues.
“I’ve had a couple calls about the Community Cleanup,” Huggins-Davis said. “Last year, it was canceled because nobody knew what was going on, but I think we can do that safely. They usually haul the dumpsters in on Friday and we get four of them. We need volunteers down there to help unload people’s trucks.
We use the backhoe to smash everything down, so we need someone who can operate that.”
The village council decided on Saturday, April 24 for the Community Cleanup.
Layne concluded the meeting by thanking Councilman Chip Wibright.
“I want to thank Chip and the street guys and anybody who chipped in with the snowfall this year. It was a lot more than usual. They did a good job and kept up with it as much as possible,” Layne said.
Village council unanimously decided the most efficient way to sell a forklift the village wants to liquidate was to list it on GovDeals.
Overview from Feb. 15 meeting
The permanent budget for 2021 was presented to the Mechanicsburg Village Council in an email prior to the Feb. 15 meeting. After discussion, the council members passed the motion to approve the budget unanimously.
The mayor requested to sell equipment that was unnecessary for the village, in order to clean out the barn which will provide a storage space for the storage trailer to be kept. The equipment included a salt spreader, two push mowers, a leaf vacuum and a John Deere mower. The items will be listed on GovDeals. Council also approved the disposal of village-owned scrap metals collected throughout the years.
Reach Anna Gaertner at UDCeditor@aimmediamidwest.com.Reach
Mitchell credits each owner’s business acumen and commitment to the St. Paris community to “grow stronger” in 2021. “Shopping local, supporting local businesses and promoting goodwill in the community is what we in St. Paris believe in,” he said.
Mitchell is highlighting the accomplishments of business owners and businesses that recently opened, are planning to open, or are renovating in the village.
Family Country Cuts, located at 211 W. Main St. opened this month.
Janie Douglas’s salon offers a variety of services such as haircuts for men and women, coloring, make-up, facial waxing, manicure and pedicure and facials.
Douglas brought on two more workers, one full time and one part time, and is excited to see the growth of her business. Hinting at possibly including massage therapy, Douglas hopes to see the small operation become a full-fledged salon.
Walk-in hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment only weekdays after 5 p.m. and on Saturdays. Appointments can be made by calling 937- 869-8300.
Longbow Health Plans, located at 120 S. Springfield St. opened in June of 2020 and is an agency composed of insurance professionals who offer “high quality insurance products and retirement planning services to meet your goals and budget.”
Clay Ruffner, the founder of Longbow, graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and later Case Western Reserve University with an MBA. Clay is a licensed, independent agent “committed to not only finding clients fantastic coverage,” but also providing ongoing support. “We aren’t finding you coverage and then leaving you in the dust,” Ruffner said. “Put us as a contact on your phone, because we never want to be far away, and always want to be your trusted expert.”
Longbow Health Plans holds office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and can be reached by calling 937-788-7713.
Retail store Pony Wagon Bargains, located at 146 S. Springfield St. opened in October of 2020.
Owners Jason and Jessica Anderson held the store’s grand opening on October 31. Claiming to have “something for everyone,” the Pony Wagon Bargains offers discount prices on many top name-brand items including electronics, household, health and beauty, children’s toys, baby items and more.
Pony Wagon Bargains is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; 4-8 p.m. on Wednesdays; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
A new grocery is preparing to open this spring after the village lost its IGA to closure. Since the IGA closed, village residents have been relying on a chain store retailer and the local farmers market during the warm season.
Mitchell met with the owners of the new business and toured the progress of renovations in late December.
Mitchell said the new owners do not wish to speak publicly, but promised to relay any permissible information to the public as it becomes available. “He’s excited to join this community and the community is excited about having a grocery store once again. Details on branding, staffing and things of that sort have not been communicated to us yet,” Mitchell said of the unnamed owner.
Debbie McGuire Lyons is the building owner at 115 Main St.
Braden’s Cafe & Sweets was the last tenant and has since closed.
Lyons is in the midst of a full renovation of the entire building, but has not indicated what the long-term plans will be. Lyons declined public comment but did say “the structural repairs are underway” as she has “big plans for the building’s future.”
Reach Andrew Grimm at UDCeditor@aimmediamidwest.com.
The building has been vacant for over 10 years.
“We’re going to see new work, new life, new employees in this building,” said Champaign Economic Partnership Director Marcia Bailey.
Securing the building and cleaning up the site took the team effort of private and public partnerships like the City of Urbana, the Champaign Economic Partnership and True Inspection Services, LLC, a full-service commercial inspection, engineering and construction management company.
TIS is now the owner of 12.6 of the 20 acre site, including the building. TIS Executive Vice President Joe Timm said three tenants will move into the building after its restoration – TIS, Community Health and Wellness Partners out of Logan County and The Door Shop, which is a commercial door company.
Project partners hope that after the work is completed, other investors will be drawn to build on space behind the building and part of the site’s acreage on the other side of the bike path.
The JMC project piggybacks off of the ongoing development of the FC Legacy Place senior living project that will transform the former North and South elementary schools and the Douglas Inn into affordable senior housing.
“We’re kind of looking at this as the anchor client or anchor site for helping redevelop this whole neighborhood,” Timm said.
Construction bids for the project will go out soon, and the businesses are expected to move in by fall 2021.
Three Businesses to Move in Next Fall
Once work is completed, TIS – a minority-owned, full-service commercial inspection, engineering and construction management company – will occupy the building’s second floor, moving from its current South Main Street location.
Community Health & Wellness Partners (CHWP), which offers a full range of primary medical care including behavioral health services in Bellefontaine, Indian Lake and West Liberty, will open a newly approved Urbana location on the first floor of 605 Miami St. by late fall 2021. The Health Resource Service Administration has also granted CHWP approval to open a school-based health center in West Liberty-Salem Schools in early 2021, CHWP President/CEO Tara Bair said.
The third business – The Door Shop, a commercial door and hardware distributor – will have light manufacturing and warehouse operations at the site.
The former Q3 JMC building is the fourth major vacant structure in Urbana to be given a new lease on life this fall. It joins the Douglas Hotel and the former Urbana North and South Elementary Schools, which are being restored and renovated for FC Legacy Place, a total of 51 affordable senior apartments.
“Both projects have moved forward thanks to strong public-private partnerships, of government and business working together to obtain the necessary funding and provide the expertise to bring plans to reality,” said Marcia Bailey, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP), Champaign County’s economic development agency.
Bailey credits the Champaign County Board of Revision for helping set the wheels in motion for the Q3 JMC project when it approved in 2015 the City of Urbana’s request to obtain the property free of unpaid back property taxes and other encumbrances after no one bid on the property at a sheriff’s sale.
The city took ownership of the 20-acre site in 2017, said Doug Crabill, community development manager who has managed the project for the city. After that the city pursued redevelopment of the property, to clear it of contamination and prepare it for development by new owners.
Bailey assisted the city in reaching an agreement with TIS, the city’s development partner, to oversee the site cleanup and redevelopment. “They were the only company that came forward with interest in renovating the building and turning the brownfield into a greenfield for business development,” Bailey said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to find an end user for the property because of the contamination that had to be removed.”
On behalf of TIS, Bailey wrote an application for a JobsOhio Site Redevelopment Pilot Program grant to help fund the work.
JobsOhio, encouraged by the number of community partners involved, awarded TIS a reimbursable grant of $883,947 to help cover the cost of demolition, environmental remediation, asbestos abatement, removal and disposal of waste, and site preparation. The city provided $348,435 in matching funds, and TIS contributed $116,145.
TIS has acquired 12.6 acres on the east side of the 20-acre redevelopment site, including the Q3 JMC building. The remaining portion of the 20-acre site is being readied to be marketed for business development, Crabill said.
Timm said TIS’s new location will “help take us to the next step in the growth of our company, to hire more personnel and expand our operations.” In addition, he said, some of the 12.6-acre parcel that the former Q3 JMC building sits on will be developed for sale to other businesses.
“The building will be an anchor for future development on the rest of the property, restore jobs lost when Q3 JMC closed, and generate tax revenue for our community,” Bailey said.
Kerry Brugger, Urbana’s director of administration, said, “We’re excited to see the building come back into productive use. It’s a great project for our community. It eliminates a severe safety and health nuisance for the community and will retain and create jobs.”
Of TIS, he said, “It’s been a pleasure working with them. They’ve been an excellent partner to work with.”
Funds aimed to help small business hit by pandemic
To qualify for the grant program, businesses must:
Businesses that have received funding for expenses arising from the pandemic cannot submit the same expenses for reimbursement under the CARES Grant for Champaign County Small Businesses.
“We are so appreciative of our small businesses and although there is great uncertainty, Champaign County is hopeful that businesses receiving these grant funds will successfully persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic.” Bailey said.
Applications and grant guidelines are available here: www.champaignworks.com/CARESGrantChampaignCounty beginning October 30, 2020. Application deadline is November 13, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Due to the short application period, we recommend you apply as soon as possible. In order to assist you, please send your questions to email@example.com.
Businesses are also encouraged to visit https://businesshelp.ohio.gov for additional assistance. Governor DeWine announced CARES Act funding through the State of Ohio for small business and others that have been impacted financially by the pandemic
By: Jenna Lawson, WHIO
View video of the announcement on WHIO's website
There were many points in the last five years that community partners thought ‘Legacy Place’ might never happen.
It took time to capture nearly $13 million in funding sources, including historic tax credits – not to mention delays due to the pandemic. But on Thursday, partners announced the funds were released and they are able to move forward with the project. It’s possible construction could start within the next week.
‘Legacy Place’ transforms the Douglas Inn in downtown Urbana and two former elementary schools (North & South) into affordable senior housing. 51 units will be created for those 55 and older, with six of them being devoted to people with disabilities.
“It’s just a real renaissance for Urbana,” Mayor Bill Bean told News Center 7′s Jenna Lawson.
Duane Miller, with development company Flaherty & Collins and also president of F & C Legacy Place, said the project accomplishes two goals: turning three vacant properties into useful properties and filling the need for affordable senior housing in Urbana.
“I love to jump into the skin of a community that’s looking for help and looking for opportunities to spur on their own development,” he said.
The Douglas has been vacant since 2004 and has long been a large eyesore on the southwest corner of Monument Square. The building has somewhat deteriorated and was the target of multiple arson fires in 2019.
The former owner of the property, John Doss, has done work to stabilize the structure. The elementary schools, despite being about 100 years old, are in solid shape, partners said.
The timeline for the project will move quickly. Developers estimate about six months to complete both elementary schools and a little over a year to finish the Douglas. Partners are hopeful that the project will have a positive domino effect on other aspects of Urbana living including neighboring businesses and housing.
“We may see some of those seniors who may move in here and now their single family homes are available for a new families to move in,” said director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, Marcia Bailey.
Bailey added that this solution also preserves the history of all three buildings for the community to enjoy for decades to come. “Having these buildings standing as they are and being repurposed is a huge win for our community,” she said.
Other partners in the project include the City of Urbana, Urbana City Schools and Resident Supports and Services, Inc., which provides housing for seniors and adults with developmental disabilities.