Two Greenfield natives are looking at the Elliott Hotel as a possible site to brew craft beer, a project they hope would be a draw to their native town.
Doug Karnes and Scott Benner, who were both born and raised in Greenfield but now live in different states, brought their idea before the village council during its regular meeting Wednesday seeking feedback from council members.
Karnes, currently an architect living in Nashville, Tenn., purchased the 130-year-old, dilapidated and abandoned Elliott Hotel nearly two years ago and has been working to bring it back to life since. He said a lot of ideas have been brought to him about what the hotel can be, but the brewery, an idea conceived by Benner, can not only make money, but be a draw to Greenfield, and that is the goal of both Karnes and Benner.
Benner already brews his own beer at his home in Indianapolis and he said that is how a micro-brewery starts, as a hobby. And he and Karnes are ready to turn that hobby into something bigger.
Karnes told council members he wasn’t seeking official approval of anything on Wednesday, just feedback, and to hear what council thought about the idea and what council thought Greenfield residents would think of the operation.
The idea was received well by council members, some voicing what a great idea it was and saying they believed there would be no opposition to such an endeavor from residents.
Benner told council that while Washington C.H. has a micro-brewery in its downtown area, a person has to go to Columbus or Cincinnati to visit any others. The breweries, he said, are “great money-making devices,” adding that having “freshly-brewed adult beverages on hand” is appealing to people.
He said that the aspects of Greenfield’s location with its ruralness, the Amish community and its products, and the agriculture, are all things that contribute to the appeal and the product.
Karnes said they have already conceived brew names that play on the hotel’s haunts, tap knobs resembling room keys, and hosting brewery nights where people can come and sample the brews and then spend the night in one of the hotel rooms.
The operation would be on the first floor and would consist of a lounge, a sampling room, and the brewing area. But it will take time, and the brewing will likely have to begin in another location first, Karnes said. It will take money to get the building operational, too, about half a million dollars, he said.
Karnes wants to keep the lines of communication open about his intentions and what the village wants clear. He wants the project to be something that contributes to the community.
“I’m committed to it,” he said.
Council members also heard from Michael Weinstein with Patriot Engineering on the removal of tanks in the ground left behind at former gas station sites, at least three sites in Greenfield that Weinstein knows of, he said.
The removal of old gas tanks and remediation of the site would come at no cost to the village, but would be funded through a cleanup grant through the state.
Council later passed legislation allowing the city manager to execute a contract with Patriot Engineering and Environmental, Inc. for professional services.
City manger Ron Coffey reported that the Scioto Paint Valley inpatient treatment facility planned for the east end of Greenfield will now be a women’s facility. He said the 12-bed center will be a 30-day inpatient program that is to open in November.
Coffey reported that Scioto Paint Valley is planning a 36-bed men’s facility for Ross County, and FRS is planning to open a 16-bed men’s facility in the Belfast area early next year.
According to Coffey, the Economic Development Administration, which was responsible for the bulk of the funding for Greenfield’s now-completed, multi-million dollar railroad rehabilitation project, is going to feature Greenfield and the project “as one of their community success stories.”
The project was years in the making and suffered one obstacle after another. The upgrade and rehabilitation of the 29-mile rail spur was finally completed last year.
Coffey also reported on recent improvements at Mitchell Park. He said improvements have been made to the infield of the A/B field and newly-planted grass is sprouting. Additionally, the Friends of Mitchell Park are purchasing safety toppers for the fences at the park, which should be installed in the spring.
Upcoming Greenfield events include: Greening Greater Greenfield’s Oktoberfest, Sept. 30, 5-10 p.m. in downtown Greenfield; the Greenfield Historical Society’s History Day, Oct. 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Greenfield K-9 Cruise-N-Ride Car and Bike Show at the Eagles on Oct. 8 from 3-5 p.m. to raise money to help the Greenfield Police Department purchase a third K-9; the Greenfield Historical Society’s Ghost Walk, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Old Burial Grounds; and Cleanup Day on Oct. 14, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Angela Shepherd is a stringer for The Times-Gazette.