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.
You're invited to a special free community screening of SILO, the first ever feature film about a grain entrapment. SILO isn’t available online, or on DVD, and this event is one-of-a-kind. Join us on Thursday, February 6th at 6pm.
Inspired by true events, SILO follows a harrowing day in an American farm town. Disaster strikes when teenager Cody Rose is entrapped in a 50-foot-tall grain bin. When the corn turns to quicksand, family, neighbors, and first responders must put aside their differences to rescue Cody from drowning in the crop that has sustained their community for generations.
Please RSVP by Feb. 3rd on Eventbrite or by calling Andrea at (937) 497-4347.
Downtown spot opening this month to feature health food
By Jenna Lawson, Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
The last bit of needed funding has been secured to push forward the ‘Legacy Place’ senior housing project in Urbana.
Sourcing all of the funding has been a tedious multi-year task undertaken by several different parties — but soon residents will start to see the fruits of labor.
“This is going to be a reality,” said Champaign Economic Development Director Marcia Bailey. “It’s not just sketches on a piece of paper. It’s going to be a reality.”
In August, the developers of the project — Flaherty & Collins Properties — applied for a grant through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati with the help of community partners.
The water main replacement work is funded by a 0% interest loan and a grant through the Ohio Public Works Commission. The roundabout safety improvements and final resurfacing total approximately $1.2 million, with federal Small Cities, Safety, and Urban Resurfacing funds through the Ohio Department of Transportation paying approximately $950,000 of these costs.
The fifth phase of the project has closed Miami Street between Monument Square and Walnut Street since Sept. 23. This section of roadway is scheduled to reopen on or before Nov. 6.
The Miami Street closure was planned to be the shortest closure of the project, but a week of closure is being added to assist the contractor in the final resurfacing work on the project. This closure will be equal in duration to the previous closures for the other legs of the project. Local and state route detours will remain posted.
The sixth and final phase of the project involves the final resurfacing of the project area, including the milling of the existing pavement surface, resurfacing and striping. Weather permitting, the contractor plans to mill the existing pavement surface on two consecutive evenings during the nighttime hours beginning Sunday, Oct. 27. Due to forecasted overnight temperatures during the week of Oct. 27, the paving work has been scheduled to occur during daytime hours versus the overnight paving schedule originally planned.
On-street parking restrictions will be posted within work areas during the milling and resurfacing work, and vehicles parked in violation will be towed. During some phases of paving work, thru-traffic may be restricted. In addition, flaggers will be used by the contractor to maintain traffic.
Businesses will remain open during this final construction phase, and city officials ask that residents and visitors patronize downtown businesses. On-street parking within the project area will be affected during the paving work, but nearby parking lots and on-street parking outside the project area will remain available.
For timely updates due to weather delays during the pavement resurfacing portion of the project, check the city’s website (urbanaohio. com) and Facebook page.
Abandoned Knights of Pythias Lodge part of 2019 Urban Loft Tour
Photo 1: The Knights of Pythias Lodge has been closed and dark for 125 years, but this adornment in the old lodge still tells a story of what transpired within during a different era.
Photo 2: The mechanical parts of this old commercial elevator are from a time gone by in downtown Urbana.
Photo 3: The exterior of this freshly-painted and remodeled downtown apartment is one of the examples of what can be done with old, lofty spaces in Urbana.
The Champaign County Preservation Alliance (CCPA) is hosting its fifth annual Urban Loft Tour on November 2 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The tour will have seven stops and features the upper floors of many downtown buildings in Urbana. The Urban Loft Tour illustrates the possibilities and potential for restoring downtown lofts and the benefits of urban living in Urbana.
In addition to the former Knights of Pythias Hall, this year’s tour will feature three finished loft spaces that are now the home to downtown dwellers. It will also feature one large building that is about to undergo restoration into a full two story family home on the second and third floors that once housed the Urbana Masonic Lodge from 1883 until 1916. Plus visitors will be able to see the continued progress on the Gloria Theater and the NX-23 Rail Car.
“We are excited to continue to show the potential of our loft spaces here in Urbana,” said CCPA Trustee Sandy Gonzalez. “Our loft tours have convinced at least six building owners to renovate their upstairs spaces and make the downtown more vibrant.” At the moment there are about 14 new loft spaces being created in Urbana.
The 2019 Urban Loft Tour will require climbing many stairs and is not handicap accessible. Tour goers are asked to bring flashlights and wear warm clothing.
Presale tickets are available for $12 and will be redeemed for tour booklets only at the Gloria Theater on the day of the tour. Tickets are available at most Urbana Bank locations, the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, and online at www.ccpapreserveohio. org.
Information from the Champaign County Preservation Alliance.
Longtime Springfield business expanding, as it has large customer base in Champaign County city
“Wallace and Turner has always had a large customer base in Urbana and it continues to grow, so it was a natural decision to open a second location there,” said Patrick Field, a partner with the insurance agency. “We want to make the insurance process as simple as possible for clients and having a physical presence will make it even more convenient for them to stop in and ask questions or update their policy.”
Wallace and Turner has operated locally in Springfield since 1870 and provides personal and commercial coverage, according to a news release sent this week.
The agency is also a long-standing member of Associated Risk Managers International, Keystone Insurers Group, Trusted Choice, Ohio Insurance Agents Association and Independent Insurance Agents Association, both in Ohio and nationally, the release said.
“The office addition demonstrates Wallace & Turner’s continued commitment to providing the best services we can to our surrounding communities,” said P.J. Miller , a partner with Wallace and Turner. “Our agency is deeply invested in supporting our clients, their families and businesses, and we look forward to expanding our relationships throughout Urbana.”
Contact this reporter at 937-328-0355 or email Hasan.Abdul-Karim@cmg.com.