Heidelberg receives historic tax credits for major restoration project

FranceHall rendering

Architect’s rendering of the France Hall project.

University has innovative plans for women’s residence hall

TIFFIN – Heidelberg University’s planned restoration and renovation of historic France Residence Hall received a major boost today when the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded the university nearly $1.5 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits for the $7.5 million project (exclusive of planned costs). In July 2017, Heidelberg received $1.2 million in federal historic tax credits, issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, for the France Hall project, which were contingent on receiving state tax credits.

The announcement of historic tax credits for Heidelberg is great news locally. It’s just the second time that building restoration tax credits have come to Tiffin. Heidelberg administrators are appreciative of the important role community leaders played in the application process.

“We are so grateful for the outstanding support of our community partners, which was essential in our university securing these state historic tax credits,” said Heidelberg President Rob Huntington, who noted the backing of Mayor Aaron Montz, County Commissioner Mike Kerschner, State Rep. Bill Reineke and Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. President and CEO David Zak. “Heidelberg University is extremely proud to be part of this collaborative effort with all of us working together to make our universities, our town, our county and ultimately, our entire community better for everyone.”

Additionally, Huntington expressed his thanks to Melissa Furchill, owner/president of MCM Co. Inc. in Cleveland, a construction management firm who lent her expertise to the application process.

Heidelberg was among 31 regional projects that will receive historic tax credits in the most recent round of funding. In all, the Ohio Development Services Agency approved $30.2 million in credits for 13 communities, including about $1.71 million for two northwest Ohio projects, both in Tiffin. In addition to Heidelberg’s France Hall project, Monument Properties is to receive a tax credit of nearly $250,000 to renovate three residential buildings in the Fort Ball-Railroad Area Historic District.

When the restoration/renovation project is complete, France Hall will be integral to engaging women with new, innovative living, learning and leadership opportunities, while supporting Heidelberg’s academic programs. The new France Hall will provide residential space for approximately 70 women students and private apartments for two female faculty members. Other features include office space for The Patricia Adams Lecture Series and other campus women’s leadership initiatives, space for all five of Heidelberg’s women’s Greek organizations, community outreach space, and renovations to the building’s Great Hall to create more space for activities and events. It is a major element in Heidelberg’s Residential Living Plan Vision.

To date, private donors have committed more than $3.1 million toward the project.

“France Hall, in its current configuration and condition, no longer meets the needs of our contemporary women students,” Huntington said. “Yet, we recognize the importance of preserving its heritage. The time has come to bring France Hall into the 21st century and transform it into a compelling, exciting and attractive facility for the campus and the community.”

The project has tremendous potential, Huntington added, because of unique opportunities to bring together the university community with the broader Tiffin community.

“This project will put a new and different face on what residential living can look like at Heidelberg,” he said. “It will integrate academic and co-curricular programs, personal and professional domains, and campus and community circles into a rich and powerful total undergraduate experience for our women students, as well as for male students when special events are hosted in France. We look forward to starting this construction work soon!”

France Hall was constructed in 1925 and is named in recognition of Luella Blackwell France, a benefactor of the university. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It has never undergone a major renovation in its 92-year history.

According to SIEDC, the Tunison Flats housing project received $99,031 in December 2016, designated to rehabilitate and preserve the 1880s-era apartment complex on Frost Parkway.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program is administered in partnership with the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office. The State Historic Preservation Office determines if a property qualifies as a historic building and that the rehabilitation plans comply with the United States Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Press release provided by Heidelberg University.

Reclaim It holds open house

IMG_20180618_114753_2.jpgA new establishment opening in downtown Tiffin later this year is holding an open house to highlight major renovations to the interior and exterior of 127 S. Washington St. Reclaim It is a charitable organization partnering with a wide variety of community businesses and organizations to uniquely refurbish household items for resale to benefit and empower local youth.

Karen Klepper is spearheading the initiative along with a board of 11 comprising community educators and leaders, as well as a youth advisory board made up of 11 college and high school students. “The greatest tool we have here is the youth board,” Klepper said. “They are the ones that will actually make the changes.”

Building trades instructor with Sentinel Career Center Aaron Thompson, who, along with his students, assisted in the renovation of the building added, “The kids act as mentors, but they still need mentors. Everyone gets something.”

Through furniture, creativity, story, community interaction, and group meals, Klepper hopes to create a safe and supportive environment for youth in our community to gather and learn both soft and hard skills, with the assistance of mentors.

“I am absolutely amazed by the community I live in,” Klepper said. “For all of the painful stories, there are more positive ones, and people who want to roll up their sleeves and make a difference and doing it for the right reasons. If we (in Seneca County) can’t change things, no one can. We are small enough to be manageable, but big enough to reflect others’ issues.”

Allstate Insurance under new ownership

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The Allstate Insurance office in downtown Tiffin will soon be under new ownership. David Stover will be taking over over the office at 72 E. Market St. later this summer. The Agency will continue the tradition of excellent service and friendly support offered by the late Bill Daniel while seeking to grow the staff and product offering as Tiffin’s new Allstate agency.

Stover announced his new venture via social media:

“I am excited to announce that I will be carrying on the tradition of excellent service and friendly support at Seneca County’s only Allstate agency later this summer. The office is located in the Laird Arcade building, at the center of downtown Tiffin’s current resurgence.

This purchase is the culmination of a search that began last summer when I decided to leave The Andersons, Inc. after 30 years of service. One of my primary goals has been to become more involved in the community where I live, worship and have raised my children. That goal has been accomplished.”

The office will remain at the same location and continue to offer the broad array of products and services available through Allstate. Terry Webb will be continuing on as an agent in the office serving your property and casualty needs.  In addition, Neil Ickes, Personal Financial Representative will be available to assist you in your financial planning and investments. Stover is also looking to bring on additional team members.

David was born and raised in Seneca County and resides in the Tiffin area with his wife Dr. Amber Stover and two children.  Over the past thirty years, David held multiple roles with The Andersons, Inc. in sales, marketing, crop insurance, and risk management.  His background in business led him to recently join the faculty at the Heidelberg School of Business where he teaches marketing, innovation and mentors future business owners.

 

Harbor Freight Tools to open store at Westgate Shopping Center

Visconsi.jpgPress release by Visconsi Companies, Ltd.

Tiffin, OH – June 8, 2018 – Visconsi Companies, Ltd. announced today that Harbor Freight Tools plans to open a store at Westgate Shopping Center on West Market Street. The new 15,000 square foot Harbor Freight location will join Peebles, Kroger, Pat Catan’s, Dollar Tree, and 14 other merchants at Westgate. A Grand Opening is planned for this summer.

“We’re thrilled to be opening our 34th Harbor Freight Tools store in Ohio and very pleased by the warm welcome we’ve received in Tiffin” said Eric Smidt, President of Harbor Freight Tools.  “At Harbor Freight, we’re all about delivering high quality tools at ridiculously low prices.  We do it by manufacturing our tools at the same factories as the expensive brands, but we cut out the middle man and pass the savings on to our customers.  We’ve also invested millions of dollars to build and operate our own state-of-the-art quality test labs to ensure that we’re constantly driving quality at the lowest possible price.  We invite everyone in the Tiffin area to visit our new store at 682 W Market Street and see why if you buy tools anywhere else, you’re throwing your money away.”

About Harbor Freight Tools
Founded in North Hollywood, CA in 1977 and now based in Calabasas, Harbor Freight Tools is the leading discount tool retailer in the U.S. selling in its over 900 stores nationwide and on its website. Harbor Freight Tools stocks over 7,000 items in categories including automotive, air and power tools, shop equipment and hand tools. With a commitment to quality and a lifetime guarantee on all hand tools, Harbor Freight Tools is a favorite of automotive and truck repair shops, government agencies, schools, manufacturers, contractors and tool enthusiasts who want top-quality and great selection and value. The results speak for themselves – with over thirty million customers nationwide and thousands of people switching to Harbor Freight Tools every day. Additional information about Harbor Freight Tools and online sales can be found at http://harborfreight.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/harbor.f.tools and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/harborfreight.

Westgate Shopping Center is managed by Visconsi Companies, Ltd. and owned by affiliate Tiffin Westgate, Ltd. Visconsi Companies, Ltd. is a fourth generation, family-owned developer and manager of retail properties and a provider of real estate advisory services. The company is headquartered in Pepper Pike, Ohio, and manages a shopping center portfolio of over two million square feet. For more information about Visconsi Companies, visit www.visconsi.com.

$3.7M infrastructure improvements slated for development site

Progress Parkway.jpgCity of Tiffin breaks ground on Progress Parkway

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 8, 2018 – The city of Tiffin broke ground today on the first piece of a $3.7 million infrastructure investment at the 60-acre mixed-use development site at the corner of US 224 and South Shaffer Park Drive.

The project will include improvements to US 224, extension of the West Market Street sanitary and storm sewers, a new section of Fair Lane, and the construction, in two phases, of Progress Parkway. The improvements will support the new Trilogy Health Services Senior Living Community announced earlier this year, as well as future development on the site.

Mayor Aaron Montz said the improvements will increase developer interest in the site. “Not only are these improvements going to support the Trilogy project, but they also show developers that we have done our due diligence and are ready for growth.”

The improvements are made possible through a combination of financing. Last year, the Seneca County Transportation Improvement District committee won a $220,000 grant for improvements to US 224, Tax Increment Financing agreements between any business locating on the site and the city will help recoup costs, and Trilogy Health Services will finance the sewer improvements.

Bus route plan moving to Phase II

SCAT logoToday, the Seneca Regional Planning Commission held its first meeting for the second phase of a city-wide public bus plan, in partnership with the Seneca Crawford Area Transportation, the City of Tiffin, and Seneca County. The plan would include stops throughout Tiffin, running on a continuous loop. The purpose of the Phase II study is to determine cost and route design. SCAT has contracted with RLS & Associates, a transportation management and consulting service out of Dayton, OH, to perform the Phase II study. The plan is fully funded, and will develop over the next nine months.

A Phase I feasibility study completed by Heidelberg Business Institute (HBI) in 2015 determined a need in the community and estimated the demand for a flex-route bus service in the city of Tiffin. One goal of adding a flex-route service is to spur economic development by making local businesses more accessible to people with limited transportation options.  Likely users of a flex-route bus service include college students, the elderly, and people with limited incomes.  Another goal of additional bus service would be making it easier to attract and retain employees who find it difficult to afford and maintain their own personal vehicle.

RLS & Associates, along with the Steering Committee of the group, will be reaching out to the community for input over the coming months.

About SCAT
Our mission is to serve the public of Seneca and Crawford Counties by providing a safe, reliable, affordable, and efficient public transportation system. SCAT is a door-to-door, curb-to-curb transportation organization that provides local as well as out-of-county trips to the public of Seneca and Crawford Counties. We provide transportation for all needs such as medical, social, shopping, bank service, veterinary, etc. We are a non-profit organization. Our hours are Monday through Friday 5 AM to 6 PM. We provide transportation for all needs such as medical, social, shopping, bank service, veterinary, etc.

Seneca County unemployment at 18 year low

Unemployment April 2018.jpgFor the first time since 2000, the unemployment rate in Seneca County dipped below four percent, coming in at 3.9 percent for April 2018, an 18 year low for the county. In comparison, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent and the national rate 3.9 percent, according to a May 18 press release from Ohio Job and Family Services.

Many factors contribute to the growth in employment, including the availability and access to jobs. Between 2014 and 2017 alone, Seneca County saw $339 million in business and building establishment and expansion, creating more than 1,400 jobs.

Already in 2018 we have seen several new business announcements, including:

  • Spire Advertising – A satellite office for an Ashland, OH based advertising firm announced in March, opening in June 2018.
  • The Chandelier – A new event space set to open in the former Community Civic Center in downtown Tiffin later this year.
  • Trilogy Health Services – Announced in April, Trilogy is to build a senior living facility that will employ 110, at an estimated investment of $14.5 million.
  • Kiku Fusion Sushi and Steak House – A full-service sushi and hibachi restaurant to locate in the Tiffin Mall later this year.
  • Panda Express – An international chain serving fast-casual Chinese cuisine was approved for a setback to build on the Tiffin Mall site.
  • Senecare – A local pharmacist has started a new business in the Laird Arcade offering one-on-one pharmacy services.
  • Time Staffing – A northern Ohio-based staffing agency opened a branch in Tiffin earlier this year, growing to a total of 9 offices throughout the region.
  • Yoga Chuck Health and Wellness Studio – Longtime yoga instructor Chuck “Yoga Chuck” Burmeister renovated and opened his own studio.
  • The Attic – A new specialty shop in downtown Tiffin, an expansion of a successful Findlay, OH store.
  • Glass N More Store – Another specialty glass shop that opened its fifth northern Ohio location in downtown Tiffin.
  • Stover Veterinary Services – Veterinarian Dr. Amber Stover and her husband launch a mobile vet clinic in early 2018, to be accessible throughout Seneca County.
  • Tiffin Candle Co. – A Tiffin couple has created their own business producing and selling community themed candles with a charitable aspect.
  • Mantra Mind Management – A new consulting business in the Laird Arcade focused on self-discovery, emotional regulation, and vision creation.
  • Wireless Boys – A Boost Mobile retailer opened their doors on W. Market St. in Tiffin earlier this year.
  • Reineke RV – Reineke Family Dealerships purchased and relocated Fort Ball RV to W. Market St. earlier this year.

OSU Extension and USDA partner on Small Business Innovation Research grants

osu extensionThe USDA is seeking new technology and/or creative product ideas from grass roots innovators!  Got a great idea?  The USDA may be interested in funding the research and development of your concept!  Ohio State Extension is partnering with the USDA to promote the accessibility and availability of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.  OSU Extension will be offering two (2) workshops, one in Northeast Ohio (Lorain County Community College on June 19) and one in Southwest Ohio (OSU Lima Campus) to orient interested innovators, researchers, and practitioners to this grant opportunity and the grant application process.  Registration is open!

 

USDA logo

OSU will support innovators with coaching and mentoring through the grant writing process.  The USDA Request for Applications (RFA’s) are focused on select topic areas, so interested candidates are encouraged to visit the website (see below) to learn more.  If selected for a Phase I USDA SBIR grant, the recipient will receive $100,000 to develop a concept – no strings attached except to report back the results of the research and development.  If the initial phase is successful, additional funding (up to $600,000) is made available to complete the research and bring the solution to the market.  This is not a loan. Innovators own the intellectual property they create and maintain the ownership of their company.  Small businesses (between 1 and 500 employees), including small and mid-sized farms are eligible!

For more information about SBIR grants use this link: https://nifa.usda.gov/program/small-business-innovation-research-program-sbir .

Register for a workshop today using the links below.  Your idea may be a game and life changer!

June 19 (Northeast Ohio):   https://bit.ly/2I7exc6

June 21 (Southwest Ohio):  http://bit.ly/2KktoMO

Senecare offers pharmacy consulting

DOWNTOWN TIFFIN LOGO CMYKKent Zellner, formerly of Zellner’s Pharmacy, is opening a new business in downtown Tiffin focused on personal pharmacy consulting services. Senecare will help customers with Medicare chronic care management, transition of care, pharmacogenomics, medication adherence, disease state management, and general pharmacy consulting.

Zellner said he always preferred the consulting part of pharmacy, as it allowed him to interact more with patients, and as insurance companies are moving toward a system to improve health, his services are needed. “It’s a pretty exciting time for healthcare,” Zellner said. “There is a shift from fee for service to outcome driven care.”

Senecare will work with Medicare on the Chronic Care Management program to provide services to eligible patients, serving as a liaison between Medicare and the patient’s doctors, checking in on medications, and making sure the patient is following up with the correct doctors. They will also assist with transition of care, assuring that a patient is on the right medication and doses after a change in care, for example, a patient returning home after a hospital stay, and medication adherence, making sure patients are taking medications correctly. Disease state management for chronic issues such as diabetes, asthma, cholesterol, and smoking cessation will be available, as well as pharmacogenomics, a DNA sample test that can determine which medications patients would respond to and how they would interact in the patient’s system.

The business is expected to open in the Laird Arcade in downtown Tiffin in mid-late June. Senecare can be reached at 567.220.7207.