Library kicks off summer reading program with downtown StoryWalk

storywalkPress release provided by Tiffin-Seneca Public Library

As a kick-off to this year’s summer reading program, “On Your Mark, Get Set…READ!” Tiffin-Seneca Public Library and businesses in downtown Tiffin will be hosting a StoryWalk May 27 through June 3.

A StoryWalk is an innovative and delightful way for families to enjoy reading and exercise at the same time. Each page from the book “Because I Stubbed My Toe” by Shawn Byous will be taped to a different business window downtown in a specific order. As participants walk through downtown, they will be directed to the next page in the story and essentially read a book as they walk.

The StoryWalk is to begin at Bailiwicks Coffee Company, then participants can read a page at the next business in the Walk, which includes Simply Susan’s, Assured Title Agency of Tiffin, Liberty Tax Service, Line Drive Sports Cards, The Beehive Café, Level Up, The Beanstalk, LLC, Bookmyer Printing, Deckers Furniture, Cabin Creations Crafts & Supplies, The RTA Building, Burns Eelectric and Seneca Cleaners. The last page will be featured at the Library, where families will receive a prize and an opportunity to sign up for the summer reading program.

StoryWalks have been installed in 50 states and 11 countries including, Germany, Cananda, England, Bermuda, Russia, Malaysia and Pakistan. They are always received with appreciation. StoryWalk was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and has developed with the help of Rachel Senechal, Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

For more information, log onto the Library’s website at or ask at the Junior Library.

Uptown Flea this weekend

Copy of uptown flea fb (1)The public is invited to experience a new and unique pop-up “shop” featuring local crafters and artisans who specialize in quality, handmade items, along with food producers and other creative merchants. The event will be held on Saturday, May 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Laird Arcade Building and coincides with the first Seneca County Farmers Market of the season.

The organizer behind Uptown Flea is owner Merre Phillips, who explained her inspiration: “I love these kind of events and have recently attended indie craft fairs and markets in Columbus and Toledo and knew that the same kind of talented crafters and makers were right here in our own community. With the popularity of these kind of events and with websites like, it felt like the right time to bring a creative group of vendors together in order for them to showcase and sell their products to a local market.”

Merre said that if the Uptown Flea goes well, she is looking forward to scheduling future dates for this event.
Here are the participating vendors that are confirmed to date:

  • Baby I’m Home – baby clothes and other fun accessories
  • Vintage Chick – recycled and repurposed home accents and furniture
  • Honest Tees, LLC – custom tees and other stuff
  • ChelseaMADE – boutique quality crochet items and accessories for all ages
  • Eugene Phillips – handcrafted wood bowls, trays, toys and other items
  • Recycled Boutique – tagged and like new popular and better brand clothes and accessories
  • FrankArts & Crafts – custom made home decor items
  • Kaker’s Cake Pops – beautifully designed and delicious cake pops
  • Grams & Her 3 K’s – beach glass jewelry and wine glass charms
  • Lily Pepper Primitives – unique blend of gifts and art for all seasons, designed by Sue Wickham
  • Tiffin Art Guild – artwork for sale from TAG members
  • Handmade Lotus Boutique – crocheted items: bags, scarves, leg warmers, jackets and more
  • Crystal Traditions – blown glass items
  • SpiritSpace Gallery & Gifts – pottery and other handcrafted gift items

For more details, contact Merre at 419.618.8586, or visit the event’s Facebook page.

New Downtown Development Plan unveiled

Urban Framework PlanThe final draft of the new Downtown Strategic Growth & Development Plan is to be unveiled at the second annual Downtown Summit today. The publicly-funded plan builds the 2010 Downtown Strategic plan by (1) identifying and evaluating current strategic opportunities, (2) updating the downtown area framework plan (master plan), and then (3) by identifying 22 specific catalytic projects that will directly or indirectly attract private capital into the downtown. 19 of those are in one of five specific “development areas” or zones (Riverfront, Civic Core, South Washington Street, Five Points, and Fort Ball), and three of them are demonstration projects with financial pro formas and designs provided to show how they could be done. Part of the work of the plan also involved speaking with developers about the feasibility of the projects and gauging interest.

Tiffin City Council approved funding for the study in October of 2014, and a Steering Committee met beginning in October. Larger stakeholder sessions were held throughout 2015. SIEDC managed the study and worked with a consultant team led by the Gossman Group (Columbus) and involving EDGE Landscape Architects and Planners (Columbus), and LSL Planning (Royal Oak, MI) to create the plan. Participants at the summit will be asked for feedback to help establish project priorities for 2016 and moving into 2017. The intention is to finalize the plan by the end of May and present to City Council in June. Comments and feedback are welcome (David Zak,

Church & Dwight Co., Inc. plans major expansion in Old Fort

Ohio Rail Development Commission awards $100,000 grant

clump and sealTIFFIN, OHIO – May 18, 2016 Church & Dwight Co., Inc. received a $100,000 grant today from the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) for a planned $2.5 million expansion of their northwest Ohio plant located in the village of Old Fort. Final approval for the project still depends on other incentives, but the target date for project completion would be by the end of this year.

The $3.4 billion consumer goods and specialty products giant established their Old Fort facility in 1980, and today it employs more than 215 workers and ranks as one of the largest sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) manufacturing plant in the world. The expansion enables the Company to manufacture ARM & HAMMER CLUMP & SEAL cat litter at the facility, creating 20 new jobs and involving an investment of $2.5 million in new equipment and rail expansion.  ARM & HAMMER cat litter is the second best-selling cat litter brand in the nation.

Plant Manager David Johnston was pleased with the award. “The local workforce, infrastructure, and incentive programs are all important factors in the decision to make this investment at the Old Fort facility, and we appreciate the work the ORDC, JobsOhio, and SIEDC have been doing to encourage us to expand here.”

In addition, JobsOhio is providing $170,000 in Roadwork Development Grants to improve a mile-long section used by the facility’s truck traffic as well as to improve the plant’s entrance. The Company will also be appearing before the Ohio Tax Credit Authority on May 24 to ask for approval of a six-year Job Creation Tax Credit, estimated to be worth $75,000.

Seneca County Commission President Holly Stacy is pleased with the news, saying, “We are experiencing strong growth in all parts of Seneca County right now, and we appreciate that Church & Dwight has chosen to grow here. We welcome their investment and new jobs.”

About Church & Dwight Co., Inc.

Founded in 1846, Church & Dwight is a $3.4 billion company headquartered in Ewing, New Jersey that is one of the fastest growing Consumer Packaged Goods companies in the world. The Company manufactures and markets a wide range of personal care, household and specialty products, with such brands as ARM & HAMMER, TROJAN, FIRST RESPONSE, NAIR, SPINBRUSH, OXICLEAN, ORAJEL and more. Find out more at


Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at

ABR approves three Façade Enhancement Grants

Assured TitleApprovals bring total investment to $284,000 for 2016

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 17, 2016 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved three Façade Enhancement Grants, bringing the total investment into downtown facades to $284,000 and the total number of projects to 10 for 2016.

These approvals leave just under $10,000 of the $100,000 set aside by the City of Tiffin for Façade Enhancement Grants for 2016. Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is encouraged by the progress: “Every year since we implemented this program in 2014, we have seen an overwhelming amount of interest, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down, but rather increasing.”

The Assured Title Agency building on the corner of South Washington and East Market Streets will undergo a $20,000 facelift including repair of siding, masonry and windows as well as painting. The largest project of the three is for the Tiffin Elks Lodge #94; a $22,000 roof replacement project. Both projects received a full $10,000 grant, the highest amount possible for the matching grant.

The third approval was for 94-96 South Washington Street, to replace or repair second floor windows. The $17,910 project will receive a $8,955 grant. This building, as well as the Elks Lodge, also received a Façade Enhancement Grant in 2015.

Together, the three projects represent a more than $71,000 investment. Since its inception in September 2014, the Façade Enhancement Grant Program has spurred $1.14 million in downtown investment through 37 projects.

 About SIEDC

Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at

Summer food for kids

Press release provided by Tiffin-Seneca Public Library:

TSPL logoSeneca County Community Council has partnered with local organizations to provide food for local children throughout the summer. Tiffin YMCA, Tiffin’s Salvation Army, Community Task Force, the Allen Eiry Center, Tiffin-Seneca Public Library have been working together to continue the YMCA’s bagged food program already in place at Tiffin City Schools.

The YMCA has received grants from the Wal-Mart Foundation, the Marathon Foundation and the Tiffin Community Foundation’s White Fund to provide food weekly to children, ages 3 to 15 years old. Starting June 3 through September 3 five sites will hand out food every Friday at 3:30 to 5:00 pm; those sites include the YMCA, the Salvation Army, the Allen Eiry Center, Faith United Methodist Church and Tiffin-Seneca Public Library. The First Presbyterian Church will hand out food every Saturday at 9:00 to 10:30 am.

Other community members and organizations have stepped forward to provide additional resources during the thirteen-week period. Tiffin’s Altrusa Club will also be giving away books and the Library will host crafts or activities during some of the pickup dates.

Participants must be registered to receive food. Registration forms can be found at the Library, the YMCA, the Salvation Army, the Allen Eiry Center and Tiffin-Seneca United Way.

The group hopes to continue the program next summer and will accept donations to the Tiffin YMCA for the summer food fund. For more information or to volunteer for the program, please call Debby Roszman at 419-447-3751 or email

Explore the Seneca Caverns

SenecaCaverns_3An underground jigsaw puzzle of limestone, a river with incredibly pure water, registered as a Natural Landmark in 1933, and a stake in local history. Located just south of Bellevue, Ohio, the Seneca Caverns, also known as “The Earthquake Crack” or the “Caviest Cave in the USA,” is the very place.

Discovered in 1872 by two boys chasing rabbits, the caverns have been studied over the years and have proven unique time and time again. Although included in the cavern system that runs the length of the state, these seven levels were formed when the limestone collapsed due to the loss of mineral deposits, causing a jigsaw-like pattern between the “floor” and “ceiling.”

Below the surface, about 110 feet, you will find the “Ole Mist’ry River,” with water so pure SenecaCaverns_1that it is pumped directly to the surface to provide visitors with a refreshing drink. The bottom-most depth is unknown and there is reason to believe that this river may connect with other subterranean streams in the area. Rumor has it that bottles with messages were thrown into the stream, and four years later one surfaced at Blue Hole in Castalia.

Electrically lit, walking shoes and a light jacket are suggested, as the caverns have been kept as close to their original state as possible and maintain a cool 54° F/ 12.2° C. The caverns are not accessible to wheelchairs or strollers, and backpacks are not permitted. There is an outdoor shaded picnic area, and group rates are available with an advanced reservation.SenecaCaverns_2


Month of May: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day: Daily 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM.

September through mid-October: Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Closed November through April.

Last tour departs one hour before closing.

Hannah Taulbee – Heidelberg Student and SIEDC Intern


USDA Housing Programs


The US Department of Agriculture not only assists with loan and grant programs for businesses in rural communities, but also provides programs for home repair and ownership. Listed below are some of those programs:

Home Repair Loan Program provides up to $20,000 in loan financing to help very low income applicants in rural areas improve their living conditions and assist with needed home repairs. Terms include 1% interest and can extend up to 20 years. Loans less than $7,500 do not require a mortgage. Loans may be made for repairs to improve or modernize homes, or to remove health and safety hazards. The dwelling to be repaired must be located in a rural area eligible for Rural Development programs. Applicants must own and occupy the home to be repaired.

Home Repair Grant Program applicants must be at least 62 years of age and lack repayment ability for a 504 loan. Loan/grant combinations are possible when the applicant has repayment ability for a portion of the financial assistance needed. .There is a lifetime grant limit of $7,500. Grants must be used to correct health and safety conditions, not used to make cosmetic or convenience changes to the home.

Once your eligibility is confirmed and the application is complete, a representative from Rural Development will visit your property to further assess.

Home Ownership Direct Loans provide financing for individuals and families who cannot obtain credit from other sources to purchase homes in rural areas. All applicants must meet eligibility requirements. Applications are received at the Rural Development office serving the area where the house will be located. Funds may be used to purchase suitable existing homes, new site built homes, approved modular units, and new manufactured units from an approved dealer/contractor. Funds may also be used to repair or remodel homes, or to make the home accessible and usable for the disabled. Loans may be made for up to 100% of the appraised value of the site and the home. The maximum repayment period is 33 years. Based on household income, payment assistance can further reduce your mortgage payment.

For more information on any of the above programs, contact the Findlay Area Office at 419-422-0242 or or

Guaranteed Rural Housing Program includes 100% financing, no downpayment, affordable mortgage insurance, 30 years fixed interest rate, flexible credit and qualifying guidelines, no maximum purchase price, and closing costs, legal fees, and other eligible costs may be rolled into the loan. Applicants must have a steady and dependable income, demonstrate a reliable credit history with the ability and willingness to repay debts when they are due, and meet Rural Development’s “Adjusted” income limits for the county in which they are purchasing.

For more information, contact Vince Paumier at 614-255-2404,, or

USDA Opportunities


The US Department of Agriculture offers many grant and loan programs for rural communities, like those in Seneca County. Listed below are several of those programs:

REAP Grants

USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grants are intended to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy development for rural small for-profit businesses and agricultural producers. The grant will not exceed 25% of the total eligible project costs. Priority consideration will be given for requests of less than $20,000. Combined guaranteed loan and grant packages cannot exceed 75% of the total project costs. Applications for 2016 will be considered bi-annually; submissions accepted year-round.

REAP Loan Guarantee applications will be received on a continuous cycle basis and funded on the first business day of each month.

For more information, contact Christie Hooks at 614-255-2397 or

Rural Business Development Grants

USDA Rural Business Development Grants are competitive grants designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues. Local governments and nonprofits may apply. Grants range from $10,000 to $500,000. There are a variety of eligible activities: training and technical assistance, acquisition of land, pollution control, capitalization of revolving loan funds, distance adult learning, and other uses. Program activities are separated into enterprise or opportunity grant activities.

For more information, contact Cindy Musshel at 614-255-2427 or

Water and Wastewater Disposal Loans and Grants

Water and Wastewater Disposal Loans/Grants are direct loans and grants to build or improve essential public use facilities such as water and sewer facilities, storm sewers and solid waste facilities. Loans can be used for construction and non-construction costs including land, equipment, engineer services, legal services, capitalized interest, and initial operating funds.

Community Facility Loans and Grants

Community Facility (CF) Loans/Grants are administered through a USDA Rural Development program to develop community facilities for public use in rural areas and towns with populations of up to 20,000. Funds may not be used to construct, enlarge or improve facilities which provide essential services to rural residents and for non-construction costs including land, equipment, architectural services, legal services, capitalized interest and initial operating funds. Funds may not be used for commercial enterprises or recreational facilities.

For more information, contact Christopher Spellmire at 419-422-0242 or

Second Annual Downtown Summit May 18

2014_04_15-town-center-signOn May 18, SIEDC will hold the second annual Downtown Summit. This is an opportunity for community members to learn about completed projects, ongoing projects and future projects aimed at making downtown Tiffin a great place to live, work, own a business and thrive!

This year’s Summit will feature the unveiling of the Downtown Tiffin Strategic Growth & Development Plan, which outlines possible projects to transform downtown Tiffin. Also new this year, awards will be presented for Volunteer of the Year, Downtown Development and Lifetime Achievement in Downtown Revitalization.

The schedule for the evening is as follows:

  • 5:30 – 6:00 p.m. – Social hour.
  • 6:00 – 6:15 p.m. – Welcome and 2015 overview.
  • 6:15 – 6:30p .m. – Downtown committee chairs present 2016 goals.
  • 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. – Unveiling of the Downtown Tiffin Strategic Growth & Development Plan.
  • 7:00 – 7:40 p.m. – Table discussions.
  • 7:40 – 8:00 p.m. – Award presentations.

The following day, May 19 from 10 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., SIEDC will host a workshop on the Heidelberg Campus, “The Dollars and Sense of Revitalization.” This workshop is free to Tiffin residents and is an opportunity to learn how to implement projects and will feature speakers on: historic tax credits, investor pods, easement incentives and downtown Community Development Block Grant.

To register for either event, visit If you have questions, please call the SIEDC office at 419.447.3831.