Tiffin awarded $450,000 in community development grants

Funds to be used to improve streetscape and expand façade program

cbdgTIFFIN, OHIO – September 6, 2016 – The City of Tiffin is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a total of $450,000 in allocation and competitive funding towards downtown revitalization. More than 69 communities across the state applied for the competitive Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, and Tiffin was one of 37 selected. A total of $11.6 million is being awarded this year statewide.

About half of the funds will be used to revitalize the streetscape on East Market Street between Jefferson Street and Rock Creek, connecting the historic downtown district with the new streetscape project between Heidelberg and Rock Creek, scheduled for 2018. The City of Tiffin was awarded $650,000 from the Ohio Department of Transportation for that project on both Perry and Market Streets. The improvements will include new curbs and gutters, sidewalks, decorative lighting, benches, and decorative trash receptacles. This project will complement the new East Commons greenspace park currently under development and fits with the new Downtown Development Plan finished this year.

The remainder of the grant funding will be used to launch an expanded Façade Enhancement Program reaching a larger area of downtown Tiffin not currently covered by the existing program. Building owners would be eligible to receive matching funds for half of exterior improvement costs, up to $15,000. Established in 2014, the original Façade Enhancement Program has been a huge success, resulting in almost $1.2 million in new investment among 38 projects. The program expansion is expected to launch yet this year.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is very pleased with the state’s award. “It is great to see the City’s investment in planning and downtown revitalization continuing to pay dividends. I feel this award is a recognition of City Council’s and this administration’s continued commitment to strategic investment in our downtown. I am very excited to see both an expansion of the façade program and the finishing of the East Market Street streetscape. The momentum continues.”


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 at the company’s blog at

Tiffin-Seneca Public Library announces renovations

TSPL-outsideThe Tiffin-Seneca Public Library announced in a press release on Sept. 1 that they would be embarking on a projected $300,000-$400,000 renovation over the next year. The remodel will provide an improved experience for the community in both layout and technology services.

From the press release:

Tiffin-Seneca Public Library has announced a renovation project that is to take place in 2016 and 2017. The Library is working with a company out of Columbus, Library Design Associates, Inc., who has met with the Library Board and staff to gain insight in order to redesign the interior of Library. Some of the remodel project objectives include:

  • Updating interior and create a 21st century library for the community.
  • Reorganizing space to maximize efficiency, improve lines of sight, and create a feeling of openness.
  • Creating a Technology Center capable of housing current public computing resources and adapting to the future.
  • Converting existing computer lab into an additional meeting room to meet the demand for gathering and collaboration space.
  • Providing comfortable, usable furnishings optimized for technology usage.
  • Providing a larger, dedicated space for teens.

Library Director Matt Ross said “We’re proud of our past, but we’re also excited about our future. That’s why we’ve take on a remodeling project that will help us transition into the 21st-century library our neighbors deserve, while maintaining the traditional services and welcoming culture we’ve always delivered.”

Ross believes that the remodel project will support programs and resources that will improve lives in the community, will help to achieve positive outcomes in areas that make the future brighter, including literacy, quality of life, workforce and economic development, equal access to technology and information, and lifelong learning. Finally, it will serve as a symbol of community service and pride.

For more information or to donate for the remodel project, please call the Library at 419-447-3751 or go online to

About the Library:

  • Founded in 1880, opened current location in 1976.
  • Employs 27 staff members serving a library district composed of 31,664 residents.
  • Partners with 92 library systems across Ohio to share resources and contain costs.
  • Offers access to over 103,000 physical items and over 238,000 downloadable items.
  • Houses 30 public access computers and hosts frequent programs.

FY 2015 Usage

  • 20,066 registered borrowers
  • 426,152 items circulated
  • 171,496 visitors
  • 32,032 reference questions answered
  • 15,460 patrons attending programs
  • Each public computer used 3,137 times

Jazzin’ Tiffin adds grilling, bourbon

Jazzin Tiffin 2016 PosterThe 8th Annual Jazzin’ Tiffin Festival, set for September 10 on Frost Parkway in Tiffin, has some new additions this year. In addition to great jazz music, local vendors and beer and wine, local “celebrities” will be grilling and a Marker’s Mark representative will be serving up bourbon and commemorative Tiffin glass shot glasses.

New this year, local faces including Mayor Aaron Montz, Tiffin University President Lillian Schumacher and Heidelberg University President Rob Huntington, will be “celebrity servers” in the grilling area from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mike Pinkston of the Empire at 138 will be grilling bratwurst with peppers and onions.

Maker’s Mark representative and Tiffin-native Joe Roszman will be running a bourbon tent within the beer garden, which will include the entire festival and vending area this year. Along with bourbon, there will be original Tiffin glass shot glasses engraved with the Jazzin’ Tiffin logo that can be dipped in the Maker’s Mark wax. There are only 200 of these unique souvenirs.

The festival begins at 3 p.m. on September 10.

Jolly’s signs lease on downtown location

jollys lairdLocal restaurant moves to Laird Arcade

TIFFIN, OHIO – August 25, 2016 – Today, Jolly’s Drive-In Owner Diane Hassinger signed a lease for a space in downtown Tiffin’s historic Laird Arcade.

Hassinger says the downtown location is the perfect next step for her business. “I was looking for a smaller space, where I could still hold store hours but also prepare food and root beer for the food truck,” Hassinger said. “This location also includes a drive-through window that I hope will give customers some of the nostalgia of the root beer stand.”

The new location faces West Market Street and includes a drive-through window in the alley behind the Laird Arcade. Orders can be called in by phone and picked up at the drive-through window, or customers can come in to order. Hassinger plans to relocate many of the original signs and memorabilia from the original root beer stand, including the front windows signed by Jolly’s employees over the years.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is pleased to see the local brand relocate in downtown Tiffin. “Anyone can see that the downtown is transforming, which makes it a desirable place to open a business,” he said. “And it’s great that we get to keep Jolly’s a Tiffin tradition.”

The restaurant will be open 11 a.m – 5 p.m., four days a week. The Jolly’s food truck will also appear at different locations around town. Hassinger will announce the opening date later this year. For more information, visit


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 at the company’s blog at

New Greek/pita restaurant to open downtown



Left to right: Property Manager Tyler Shuff, Owner Fotis Diamantopoulos, SIEDC Downtown Main Street Manager Amy Reinhart and Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz

Put N Pita signs lease with Laird Arcade


TIFFIN, OHIO – August 18, 2016 – This week, Fotis Diamantopoulos signed a lease for a space in the Laird Arcade at 116 South Washington Street, where he plans to open a Greek and build-your-own pita restaurant, called Put N Pita, this winter.

The son of Greek immigrants, Fotis has lived in Tiffin for a decade, and he is following his father’s footsteps into the restaurant business. “I drive through downtown Tiffin every day and you can tell that things are changing, and I feel the vibe and want to be a part of it. My business model will include my dad’s Greek influence, an American twist and a Subway style,” he said.

Diamantopoulos said the menu is to include gyros and greek salads as well as traditional meats and all kinds of fresh produce that will be assembled to the customer’s order. In the future, he plans to expand the business into other types of ethnic foods and take-home options.

Tyler Shuff, Chairman of the Downtown Business Enhancement Committee through SIEDC said the restaurant fills two desired business categories for the community. “A Pita Pit and a Greek restaurant are on our list of businesses to recruit, and this takes care of both,” he said.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said he is happy to see a new type of restaurant opening downtown. “I am excited to see a unique healthy, quick option for lunch in downtown Tiffin,” he said.

Diamantopoulos hopes to cater to times outside of the traditional dinner hour. The starting hours for the store will be lunch time and nights as late as 3 a.m. He plans to open for business in late fall or early winter.

About the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group

The Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group LLC. is a for-profit organization made up of community minded shareholders. The purpose of the TCRG is to encourage and promote downtown business. In 2012, Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group, LLC. purchased and now operates the Laird Building.

 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 at the company’s blog at

Jazz legend Bobby Caldwell to headline 8th Annual Jazzin’ Tiffin

Jazzin Tiffin 2016 Poster.jpgInternational star whose career spans more than three decades is one of the most prolific and well respected artists in the music industry.

TIFFIN, OHIO – August 2, 2016 – Jazzin’ Tiffin will celebrate their 8th Annual Jazz Festival in style this year with a performance by Jazz Superstar Bobby Caldwell.

The Jazzin’ Tiffin Festival will take place on Saturday evening September 10 at Rotary Park on Frost Parkway in Tiffin. Performers include at 3 p.m. – Tiffin University ProMusic Ensemble, 4:30 p.m. – Jazz Organ Trio Organissimo, 6 p.m. – Saxman Dave McMurray and 7:45 p.m. – Trumpeter Joey Sommerville. Headliner Bobby Caldwell will take the stage at 9 p.m.

Caldwell, best known for his Mega-Hit “What You Won’t Do For Love”, has written numerous hits, not only for himself, but a host of other huge stars of the industry like Boz Skaggs, Peter Cetera, Vanessa Williams, Chicago, Commodores and many others. In addition, Caldwell’s work is some of the most “sampled” in the music industry.

To kick off the festival, there will be a Jazz Night at the Pioneer Mill on Thursday, September 8 from 6:30-8:15 p.m. featuring the B3 Trio. B3 has been performing in Northwest Ohio for the last 7 years. Their music genres include jazz, R&B, Motown, ballads and pop.

On Friday night, September 9 from 4-6 p.m., there will be an educational event on the Heidelberg University campus, featuring Joey Sommerville. Joey’s presentation will be a combination of performance and discussion. He will have an accompanist so he can play some of his music for the students and invite them to join him on a few songs and he will accompany them on a choice of their music.

More importantly he will be talking with the students about the importance of music as an art form, how he got into the music business and how they can prepare themselves to become performing artists. The industry has gone through dramatic changes over the past decade and successful artists like Joey Sommerville have mastered weaving the through the maze to stardom.

Jazzin’ Tiffin is proud to be a free festival for all, thanks to our generous sponsors and partners who contribute to this wonderful family event.

About Jazzin’ Tiffin

Jazzin’ Tiffin began in 2009 and has featured the biggest names in Jazz including Rick Braun, Mindi Abair, Nelson Rangell, Alexander Zonjic, Chuck Loeb, Eric Marienthal and many more. The festival’s mission is to support art and culture and the music of local, regional and national artists. The event also seeks to create visibility and economic impact for the greater Tiffin, Ohio area. For more information, please follow Jazzin’ Tiffin on Facebook or call 419.447.3831. Jazzin’ Tiffin is produced by Up Front Entertainment.


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 at the company’s blog at


Joint Justice Center Ground Breaking Ceremony this Friday

jjc renderingSeneca County and the City of Tiffin invite the public to attend the ground breaking ceremony for the Joint Justice Center at Courthouse Square in downtown Tiffin this Friday, July 22. The long-anticipated project is the first joint county-city court system housed under the same roof in the state of Ohio.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. with the presentation of the colors by the United Veterans Council. City and county officials will also be on hand to speak and assist in the ground breaking. Parking is available in the city and county parking lots within walking distance.

The brand new 36,000 square foot facility is projected to cost about $14 million and include the city of Tiffin’s Municipal Court and Clerk of the Courts as well as the county’s Common Pleas Court, Clerk of the Courts and Probation Department. Silling Associates have been tapped for the architecture of the project while the Gilbane Building Company will cover construction management.

The first floor will be a public entrance with space for security screening, as well as offices for the title clerk and legal clerk and central holding cells.The second floor is devoted to Tiffin’s Municipal Court, with space for the courtroom, a jury deliberation room, the judge’s office suite and an office for the Clerk of Courts. The third and fourth floors are devoted to the Seneca Coutnty Common Pleas Courts, and include courtroom space, hearing rooms, jury deliberation rooms and office suites for the judges.

As construction begins, the leadership team for the project has asked the Seneca County Historical Society and the Tiffin Historic Trust to organize a group of local historic representatives to coordinate the assembly of items for a time capsule to be sealed into an interior wall of the building. During the Seneca County Fair, there will be a collection box for suggestions in the Seneca County and Seneca County Township Association Tent near the entertainment building. Suggestions also can be sent to Time capsule ideas, c/o County Commissioners, 111 Madison St., Tiffin, OH 44883 or emailed to

Pizza Palooza and Family Movie Night set for July 16

Enjoy pizza from 7 local shops, Disney’s Zootopia

Pizza Palooza-1TIFFIN, OHIO – June 23, 2015 – Pizza Palooza and Family Movie Night, sponsored by Reineke Family Dealerships, will take place July 16, starting at 6 p.m., at the courthouse green space in downtown Tiffin.

“It’s going to be a great night to bring your family out and enjoy a taste of Tiffin and a movie,” said Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz. “It will also be the last event to take place on the downtown green space before the groundbreaking of the new Joint Justice Center.”

Seven Tiffin pizzerias have signed on to participate: AJ’s Heavenly Pizza, Domino’s, Fort Ball Pizza Palace, Marco’s Pizza, Napoli Pizza, Pizza Hut and Reino’s Pizza & Pasta. Attendees can purchase $1 tickets that can be redeemed for a slice of pizza from any vendor, potato chips provided by Ballreich’s, soda provided by S&S Variety Beverage or water provided by Hempy Water of Tiffin. Half of each ticket sold will go toward downtown revitalization, and AJ’s Heavenly Pizza has pledged to donate their profits from the event to Patchworks House.

There will also be a blind pizza tasting contest where contestants will attempt to identify the restaurant by taste. The event will kick-off with local celebrities taking the challenge, including Mayor Aaron Montz, Commissioner Holly Stacy and Reineke Marketing Manager Greg Dell.

A screening of blockbuster hit Zootopia will begin at dusk. Attendees are invited to bring their own chairs or blankets to enjoy the show. Tiffin Parks and Recreation is providing the movie equipment.

Families are also encouraged to come ready to play on the green space. Cornhole boards will be provided by Who’s Nuts and WTSC Seneca County Online Radio will be providing music.

If you have questions. please contact Bryce Riggs at 419-889-3932 ( or Katie Lang at 419.618.2658 (email:


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 at the company’s blog at


Shirley Kear inducted into National Sprint Car Hall of Fame

13310441_1174607845896691_1656838272773142545_nOn June 4, Shirley Kear Valentine, owner of Kear’s Speed Shop in downtown Tiffin, was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. Shirley is the fourth woman to receive the honor, and the first supplier.

“I was so shocked, I was on cloud nine!,” Shirley said. “I couldn’t have done it alone, without my family.”

Shirley and her late husband Chuck began the business in 1969. They started out supplying parts for motorsports, but quickly found their niche in sprint car racing. The Kears, along with their children, traveled to raceways all over the country and made a national name for themselves selling sprint car parts.

“Over the years, we have grown with the kids and the shop together; my youngest, Vicki, grew up with racers as friends and vacations at the track. Micki left for a while to go to college to become a nurse and start a family, only to return with her husband and family to the speed shop. Kids have always been a large part of our life and racing, this has truly been our life.”

Shirley said that you miss a lot being on the road so much, but the racers become another sort of family.

The Kears were industry pioneers in many ways. When they started traveling to raceways, women were not allowed in the pit area. “As women, we just had to learn to stand our ground and be accepted,” Shirley said. “Along the way we’ve had promoters, car owners and drivers that are women. This was the business I chose to be in with my husband, and I couldn’t stay home, so, I brought the kids too, when it was time.”

They also spearheaded many events including the Fremont Racers’ Flea Market, Manufacturers’ Give Away Nights at Fremont (worth thousands of dollars), the Kear’s Speed Shop annual Open House (which draws about 200 people each year), promoted a race at the Attica Raceway Park, and created the Chuck Kear Memorial race. Shirley was also inducted into the Fremont Hall of Fame in 2011.

Keep an eye out for signs posted around town announcing Tiffin as the home of National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee, 2016, Shirley Kear!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.