A grant worth a half a million dollars for infrastructure repair is available for Greenfield, City Manager Todd Wilkin reported at this week’s village council meeting.
Wilkin said in his report to council that he received an email conveying the information that the $500,000 grant is available through the Ohio Development Services Agency (OSDA) to fund fixes on Fifth Street. He said the village is anticipating the final paperwork to release those funds. With that, Greenfield will advertise for bids and sees a potential project start later in the summer.
The work the grant will make possible includes new curbs and gutters on the west side of Fifth Street and the installation of a new retention pond to help mitigate severe flooding in that area. All work will occur on North Fifth Street to approximately the Fayette Street intersection.
Wilkin also met with John Hemmings with the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC) regarding possible additional funding to supplement Greenfield’s grant through the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) for Mill Street.
The Mill Street project, which includes the improvement of the water and sewer infrastructure, new sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and creating an entrance to the industrial park at the end of Mill Street, carries a nearly $1 million price tag. Hemmings said OVRDC may have additional funding to add to the OPWC grant. With the approval of council, Wilkin will apply for the additional funding in the coming week.
The city manager met with Greenfield’s Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), established in 1963 and the oldest in Highland County, since the last meeting of council and reported that the village expressed ideas for the group and ways for it to be actively involved in the economic development efforts of the village.
Wilkin said the CIC has the ability to acquire, sell and fix-up properties — things that are beyond the village itself to do.
“The CIC has so much authority and ability to change our community,” Wilkin said. “It has the ability to become the positive change agent we need.”
If anyone has ideas for development or street scaping in their neighborhood that can be considered by the CIC, contact the city offices at 937-981-3500.
Wilkin recently met with Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley regarding work on a brochure to help promote Greenfield’s villagewide, pre-1994 Community Reinvestment Area (CRA). Fawley is to be providing a formulation that is necessary to determine the total positive impact the CRA could have on any individual home.
The city manager said the CRA means that the tax abatement on a property in the program is 100-percent and for 15 years versus in a CRA formed after 1994 where the tax abatement and length of abatement are negotiable.
Wilkin said the benefit of the program is that the CRA will freeze the tax valuation for 15 years.
The example he gave council involved a home in the village with an appraised value of approximately $10,000. If someone were to purchase the home, fix it up, and take advantage of the CRA program, it could save the new homeowner a significant amount in taxes over the next 15 years. If the new appraised value of the home after improvements is $50,000, that would save more than $7,000 over the 15-year tax abatement period since the homeowner would only be paying taxes based on the $10,000 appraisal.
The CRA program must be applied for, and anyone interested in learning more can contact the village offices.
“CRA is a great tool for a citizen of Greenfield or for a business here or a business looking to locate here,” Wilkin said.
Wilkin also discussed Greenfield’s “opportunity zone,” an area north of Jefferson Street that was designated by the state based on suggestions provided by the Highland County Board of Commissioners. Greenfield’s opportunity zone is one of many designated such zones across the state as a way to stimulate investment, particularly in high-poverty areas.
The village recently had a conference call with OHM Advisors, a community advancement firm out of Columbus, regarding necessary zoning updates for Greenfield. The process will take about nine months, Wilkin said. Public meetings, with dates yet to be determined, will be held regarding the zoning updates.
A piece of legislation that will allow for downtown eateries to offer patrons outdoor seating had its second reading. After concerns voiced by council, Wilkin said he thought it important to stress that the outdoor sidewalk policy, which was created by the Downtown Design Review Board, “was not written for outdoor drinking in mind, but rather to establish uniformity in our historic downtown.”
Wilkin also talked about his recent visit to Greenfield Historical Buildings. He recommended anyone that had not done so to tour the buildings and the history that has been preserved by the society.
For information, bits of history, and upcoming events of the historical society, go to greenfieldhistoricalsociety.org.
The city manager also toured the Waddell Company, a fixture in Greenfield for more than a century.
“I enjoyed my time with Mr. Tom Septer and appreciate the rich history and success the Waddell Company has with Greenfield. I was truly amazed by their operations and wish them continued success,” Wilkin said.
MHS Day is scheduled for May 10. Every year, McClain High School students scatter across the village to clean, trim, paint, mow, and do whatever else needs doing to serve their community.
If there are any project suggestions for the students, contact the village and it will be shared with the school.
Wilkin added that this year Domino’s Pizza will be providing free pizza to the MHS Day workers. He said it is a business that wants to take care of those taking care of the community. Additionally, Wilkin said the business has plans to renovate and expand. It is something Wilkin said the village is working closely with the business to facilitate.
Lastly, Wilkin, who recently celebrated one year as city manager on April 16, expressed his gratitude to the community and to council members.
“Over the last year we have seen significant progress, but really the first year has been a foundation-building year for future success stories,” Wilkin said. “It is our hope and vision that we can continue to provide opportunities for all our citizens and our businesses.”
Angela Shepherd works in public relations for the Village of Greenfield.