Projects

Tiffin and Seneca County win $220,000 for road improvement

20170629_151509.jpgGrant supports $1M commercial access project

TIFFIN, OHIO – July 5, 2017 – The City of Tiffin has been granted $220,000 through the Ohio Department of Transportation Jobs and Commerce for an improvement project on US 224; a 25 percent match with the city for a project totaling $1 million. It will provide access to a 60-acre site for potential commercial development annexed by the city earlier this year.

The grant is the first received by the Seneca County Transportation Improvement District (TID) created by Seneca County Commissioners in September 2015. “The district was put in place with the future of the county in mind,” Commissioner Shayne Thomas, head of the county’s transportation sub-committee, said. “This project is the first of many for which we plan to secure TID funding.”

Last year, Tiffin, Fostoria and Seneca County representatives collaborated to update and reprioritize the county’s Transportation Improvement Plan. Originally created in 2001, the plan was revised with a clear focus on key projects throughout the county. The revision was approved by all groups, as well as the TID Committee, composed of engineers, elected officials, and economic development organizations from each jurisdiction.

Charlene Watkins, Executive Director of Seneca Regional Planning Commission Executive Director commended the partnership between Seneca County organizations in securing the grant. “The foundation is in place and all parties are working to implement the plan,” she said. “We appreciate SIEDC’s work with different entities to gather information and submit the application, as well as the involvement of State Representative Bill Reineke and State Senator Dave Burke, and everyone else who had a hand in the process.”

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 www.senecasuccess.com.

Tiffin awarded $1.6M grant for streetscape project

City of Tiffin LogoMiami Street improvements slated for 2018

TIFFIN, OHIO – July 3, 2017 – The City of Tiffin has received funding for the reconstruction of Miami Street through the Ohio Department of Transportation Small Cities Program, up to $1,636,850, which covers 95% of the $1,723,000 streetscaping project.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is looking forward to beginning the project. “This is a long overdue project that will increase the safety of the road as well as beautify the area,” he said. “The City of Tiffin continues to apply for grants like the Small Cities Program to continue improving our infrastructure while easing the burden on taxpayers.”

The proposed work consists of road reconstruction, new curbs, sidewalks, and lighting, over an approximate length of 2000 feet on Miami Street, from Nelson Street to just east of Clay Street, where the previous project terminated.

This will be a cooperative project with Tiffin University, which will be paying a proportionate share of the local contribution, and covering the costs of non-grant covered items that are of an aesthetic nature, which primarily consist of decorative lighting and textured crosswalks.

“We are excited to partner with the city on this project,” Tiffin University President Lilian Schumacher said. “The continuation of the streetscape enhances our campus and improves walkability of the area for our students.”

Design is expected to conclude early in 2018, with contract award to take place by June of the same year. This schedule may be extended if problems are encountered in the design phase.

Ironwood Steak House to open in June

IronwoodA new restaurant, called the Ironwood Steak House featuring the Black Birch Bar, is planning to open in mid-June. The restaurant combines atmosphere and high-quality cuisine to provide an upscale dining experience in a comfortable setting. Located at the private Mohawk Golf and Country Club, the Ironwood is open to the public.

The menu is still being finalized but will feature traditional steakhouse fare and limited-time specials. The remodeled kitchen also boasts a broiler to quick-sear steak with infrared heat – technology used in many high-quality steak establishments. Local Chef Jimmy Jones, with more than 20 years in restaurant experience, will be heading the kitchen.

The dining room overlooks the golf course, providing beautiful views of the green through a wall of windows. There is also a private dining area that can be closed off for private events, and limited outdoor accommodations. Together, they seat roughly 140, with an area that could be used for small entertainment. Additionally, patrons can enjoy the Black Birch Bar, a full-service bar with a lounge area, located at the entrance of the establishment.

The Ironwood is the product of a partnership of more than 40 investors looking to bring a high-end steakhouse to Seneca County. The restaurant has been in the works for quite some time, with investors split into committees for everything from marketing to personnel, to get to the finished product.

At opening, the Ironwood will serve dinner Wednesday-Saturday, 5-10 p.m. Reservations can be made using OpenTable. Outside events can also book the Ironwood Catering Service.

A sneak peek at renovations:

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ABR approves two Façade Enhancement Grants

Projects total nearly $80,000 in downtown investment

20170321_131351TIFFIN, OHIO – April 4, 2017 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved two Façade Enhancement Grants for downtown building improvements. The projects were awarded a combined total of $20,000, for a total reinvestment in downtown Tiffin of $78,000, leaving $23,000 available of the $100,000 set aside by the City of Tiffin for 2017.

The largest project is the façade of 130 S. Washington St. (the former Sports Cuts building), which will be restored to its 1941 look. Work will include removing the brick work added in 1979 and rebuilding the 1941 storefront, including front windows. Second and third floor windows will also be replaced. The total project cost is estimated at $46,000.

In the same block, 144 S. Washington St. (the Bookmyer building), will be receiving a $32,000 update. The aluminum facing on the front of the building will be removed and the previous look of the building will be restored, including the original concrete columns and storefront windows.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is pleased to see so many building owners downtown planning restoration projects. “The atmosphere of improvement downtown is contagious,” he said. “The Façade Enhancement Program is helping us transform the downtown.”

Last month, 135 S. Washington St. (Cabin Creations) received a $6,800 grant for a $13,600 roof and chimney repair project, bringing the remaining total of funds for 2017 to $23,000.

About the Façade Enhancement Program
This City of Tiffin reimbursement grant program was started in 2014 and provides a 50 percent match of funds for eligible exterior improvements on residential and commercial structures within the downtown historic district, up to $10,000. Each building is eligible to receive up to $10,000 per calendar year.  For more information, visit www.senecasuccess.com  (search “Façade Enhancement”).

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 www.senecasuccess.com.

Tiffin Aire at the Seneca County Airport

20160907_151604Tiffin Aire, Inc. is the company that runs the Seneca County Airport, located at 1778 W US 224 in Tiffin. The company is owned by Brad and Kim Newman, the second generation of the family-owned business. The airport is a unique asset for Seneca County and Northwest Ohio.

The Seneca County Airport is a 24-hour fueling station, a propeller shop, an airplane storage location, an FFA pilot examination location and testing center, an aircraft sales location (one of only three in Ohio), a chartered flight provider and more. The business has 33 employees including pilots, front office, and technically skilled positions in the airplane frame and propeller shop.

The company was established in 1965 and dedicated in 1968 by Kim’s parents, Dwight and Jeanne Gnepper. It began with only three employees, two single engine aircraft, two hangars, and an office. Over the years, the Gneppers expanded the business, selling it to the Newmans upon their retirement in 1989. By 1996 Tiffin Aire offered aircraft charter, flight instruction and rental, aircraft sales, aircraft maintenance, parts and oil sales, and propeller/governor sales and service.

Tiffin Aire is one of only 13 propeller shops in the entire country. The prop shop was built in 1997 for $750,000, with another $500,000 in equipment. They service all kinds of propellers, and perform inspections and mandatory “overhauls” every six years. There are no chemicals used to strip the paint from the parts, reducing waste, and all grinding of the blades is done by hand.  They are also able to repair wings, and about once a year, they restore an antique aircraft, like an airplane from the 1940’s sent down from Canada that is currently in one of their hangar bays.

The airport currently has 18 separate hangars, the most recent built in 2015 for $400,000. There are 52 planes based in Tiffin, and storage at the Tiffin Aire facility includes oil, fuel, service and a private hangar. Brad says a lot of their business used to come from local business owners keeping their own private planes, however, that is not the case today.

Over the last several years, they have seen their charter business grow. “We have a great location for people coming into town, or stopping over for repairs,” he said. “We’ve got a great network with the businesses in Tiffin, and customers can walk to local restaurants and stores.”

One way Brad would like to increase traffic to the airport and to Seneca County is through a runway expansion. The current runway is 4,000 linear feet. In order to entertain commercial flights, it would need to be expanded to 5,000 feet. The closest airport able to accommodate commercial flights is in Findlay, which does not offer as many services as the Seneca County Airport. “We’d all benefit from a longer runway,” Brad said.

While the runway expansion is in the works, it could be years before the project begins.

Another way the airport benefits the community is through the Federal Excise Tax. For every gallon of airplane fuel sold, 21.9 cents goes to a tax fund that can only be used for airport improvements. This tax applies whether you purchase fuel at an airport, or if you purchase a ticket on a commercial airline. Since 1989, Brad has collected $4 million from that fund, which provides a 90/10 split on improvements, saving the county money as well as bringing funds spent by citizens back to Seneca County.

Brad attributes the business’ success to great community support, and giving back to the community. “I always tried to make my own way and didn’t ask too much,” he said. “And I always supported our local companies and vocational schools.”

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Seneca County in Top 10 for economic development in US

site-selection-magazine-march-2017Earns second such ranking in four years

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 2, 2017 – The Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) announced today that Seneca County has again placed in the top ten nationally on Site Selection Magazine’s rankings for large, private economic development projects – placing tenth out of the 576 micropolitans in the US for the honor. Site Selection has been annually ranking states and cities since 1978.

This is the sixth year in a row that the Tiffin micropolitan area has ranked in the top 100 nationally and the fifth year for ranking in the top ten percent. Qualifying projects must involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 20 new jobs, or add at least 20,000 sq. ft. of new floor area. Six Seneca County projects qualified for Site Selection, including expansions at Arnold Machine, Church and Dwight, Owens Corning, Tiffin Metal Products, Poet Energy, and Mennel Milling.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz cited partnership as a driver of economic development for the county. “Having the city, county and economic development organizations in sync plays a key role in keeping us at the top of development, expansion, investment and employment,” he said. Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler agreed, “We are pleased with the economic development progress we see going on in Fostoria and in Seneca County. This is a great honor.” Seneca County Commission President Mike Kerschner agreed: “Throughout the county we are seeing record growth in all sectors. The climate for all business and overall quality of life improves with each addition.”

This year, Ohio ranked as the number two state for development projects and the entire Northwest Ohio region posted strong numbers, with Findlay taking the number one micropolitan slot, Defiance tying with Seneca County for tenth, and Toledo ranking seventh in its division. “Northwest Ohio has built incredible momentum over the past few years,” said Dean Monske, President & CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo. “National recognition is a testament to the fact that the region is an excellent area to locate or expand a business and to the hard work of our partners in economic development as well as public officials.”

A press release from Site Selection magazine and a complete list of the top 100 micro- and metropolitans is can be found here and more information can be found at siteselection.com.

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 www.senecasuccess.com.

Contest winners open for business

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Zoe and Spenser with the contest judges.

In September of 2016 the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group held a contest to give a space to an aspiring entrepreneur rent free for one year. From the applicant pool, seven possible businesses were chosen to present their business in front of a panel, who decided the winner. This week, contest winners Zoe Dolch and Spenser Blackiston will open Washington Street Outfitters in the Laird Arcade.

Their store is located on the interior of the Laird Arcade (corner of Market and Washington Streets) and features men and women’s clothing and jewelry as well as new and used vinyl records and home decor. “It’s a mixed-merchandise approach, ” Zoe said. “We have hundreds of items and different styles as well as staple items.”

As winners of the contest, in addition to free rent, they received two business organization sessions with professional organizer Reannon Hayes, six sessions from KKR Consult, a business consulting and dream coaching service, and meetings with Retail is Detail (provided by Heritage Ohio), which provided marketing and demographic information for the area. The Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services provided one year of free membership, which includes participation in the Chamber Cash gift certificate program.

After winning the contest, they were also contacted by groups at both Heidelberg and Tiffin Universities looking to take an active role in marketing. The Enactus group from Heidelberg has been helping the pair since a couple weeks after the contest, assisting with tasks ranging from building clothing racks to planning the grand opening. Tiffin University marketing students also started working on a marketing campaign that will be presented to Zoe and Spenser upon completion.

“I love the students,” Zoe said. “Working with them has been a great experience and a lot of fun.”

Zoe and Spenser are recent college graduates who were originally looking to start careers elsewhere and defer their dream of opening their own store when they learned about the business contest. “We didn’t know if we could win, but we knew we could put our whole hearts in it,” Zoe said. “We didn’t anticipate this opportunity, it just came about and it felt right.”

Property Manager for the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group and organizer of the contest Tyler Shuff said he is working with runners-up of the contest to help them launch their business ideas. “The contest was great and brought everyone out of the woodwork that had an idea. Even though there was only one winner, I want to help all seven finalists,” he said. “We are looking at doing another contest within the next year or two, with the goal of getting people downtown and giving their business a head-start.”

Two of the finalists now have office space in the Laird Arcade – Small Victories Financial Coaching and Lascala IT. Shuff is currently working with a wine and craft bar, dance studio and business incubator to find space downtown.

First Façade Grants of 2017 approved

ABR approves grants for five downtown buildings

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33 S. Washington St.

TIFFIN, OHIO – January 17, 2017 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved five Façade Enhancement Grants, the first grants approved in 2017. The projects were awarded a combined total of $30,850, for a total reinvestment in downtown Tiffin of $65,500.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz says the program is off to a strong start. “Last year was amazing! We ran out of funds halfway through 2016,” he said. “We are in our third year of the program and it is more in demand than ever; the momentum just keeps building.”

Three buildings were awarded grant funds for roofing projects: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 25-27 S. Washington St., and 29-31 S. Washington St. Additionally, 132-134 S. Washington St. (Viewpoint Graphics) was approved for a brick tuck-pointing and overall façade painting project, and 33 S. Washington St. was approved for replacement windows.

The building at 33 S. Washington St. will be the first to take advantage of the “façade return” allowance approved in May 2016. Building owner Ned Behm appreciated the ABR including the unique situation. “I received grant funding for the front of my building in 2015, but it didn’t take into account the windows that were a part of the overal ‘façade’ but not technically facing the street,” he said. “I am pleased that program was amended to accommodate my building as well as the other buildings downtown with the same issue.”

The Façade Enhancement Program was established in September of 2014. At the end of 2016, the City of Tiffin had invested $250,000 in 38 projects, for a total reinvestment in downtown revitalization of nearly $1.2 million.

About the Façade Enhancement Program

This City of Tiffin reimbursement grant program was started in 2014 and provides a 50 percent match of funds for eligible exterior improvements on residential and commercial structures within the downtown historic district, up to $10,000. Each building is eligible to receive up to $10,000 per calendar year.  For more information, visit www.senecasuccess.com, search “Façade Enhancement”)

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 www.senecasuccess.com.

Tiffin Facade Enhancement Grant Program: A step-by-step guide

The downtown Tiffin Facade Enhancement Grant Program was launched in 2014 to spur downtown revitalization by providing financial assistance for outside, street-facing building repairs. Eligible projects can receive a reimbursement of up to $10,000 in matching funds. Below is a step-by-step guide to the program.

Application process

The building owner should meet with SIEDC’s Downtown Main Street Manager, Amy Reinhart, to discuss how the program works and obtain an application. The application needs to be submitted and approved before any work has begun.

The building owner must include the following upon submission of their application:

  • Façade Enhancement Application
  • Architectural Board of Review Application  (See ABR Guidelines)
  • W9 form for City to open purchase order.
  • A minimum of two quotes from contractors on the work to be performed (if project is over $3,000 total).
  • Pictures of existing conditions.
  • Pictures or catalog cuts for the items to be purchased (awnings, doors, windows, etc.). If window replacement is recommended, a catalog cut along with dimensioned drawings of the window to be installed are required.  This will include the size of the window, any muntin bars as well as the depth and height of the frame around the window and at any corners where the windows connect.
  • If painting, the historic paint colors must be used. Please provide color samples from the historic line.  This can come from any paint company that provides a historic line, but Sherwin Williams and Ace Hardware do provide a paint discount for any building owner who receives façade approval.
  • A detailed description of the project

Applications are reviewed in the order they are received. Due to the first come first serve nature of the funding, incomplete applications will not be accepted.  When the funds run out, the program ends for the calendar year.  When determining the City budget, Council will determine if funding will be renewed for the following year.

Once the application and all above mentioned items are compiled, they should be brought to the Main Street Manager.  She will review the applications for completeness and determine if there are any issues that need to be addressed prior to submission of the application to the City.  She will work with the Chair of the Architectural Board of Review and the City Engineer’s office to determine if any additional items need to be addressed.

Once the application is reviewed and deemed complete and without any issues, the Main Street Manager will submit the application and attachments to the City to be added to the Architectural Board of Review Agenda.

Architectural Board of Review meetings take place the first and third Tuesday of each month at 3:30 in City Hall.  The owner or a representative must be present at the meeting to answer any questions that may come from the application.  The number of applications reviewed at the meeting is determined by the Chair due to the intensity of the application reviews.  To be considered for the upcoming meeting, all information must be turned in one week prior to the meeting, so proper distribution of materials can take place for Board members.  Additionally, the meeting agenda must be listed in the newspaper as it is required for all public meetings.

Beginning the project

Once the Architectural Board of Review has approved the application, work may begin on the project.  The owner will receive the certificate of appropriateness in the mail following the approval.

If any part of the project changes at any time during the work, the owner must contact the Main Street Manager for a change form.  The changes must be approved by the Architectural Board of Review, as this is a change to a contract that the owner entered into when receiving approval from the City for the funds.

Completing the project

The owner has until December of the following calendar year to complete the work.  For example: if a project is approved in March of 2016, the owner will have until December of 2017 to complete the work.  If the owner is approved in December of 2016, the work must be completed by December of 2017.

Once the work is complete, the owner will submit paid receipts from the contractor to the Main Street Manager.  The manager will complete the final inspection forms and submit those to the City Finance Director and City Engineer’s office along with the paid receipts.  The City Engineer will complete the inspection and sign off.  He will then send it to the City Finance Director who will complete the check and send it to the owner.  The check will be made out to the name on the W9 form only.

For examples of projects that have received grant funding, click here.

For all questions and guidance through the process contact:

Amy Reinhart
Downtown Main Street Manager, SIEDC
419.619.5517
reinhart@senecacounty.org
M-Th, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Regional Planning seeks proposals for transit plan

rpc-logo

City of Tiffin and Surrounding Area Bus Transit Development Plan PHASE II

Request for Proposals

Seneca Regional Planning Commission is soliciting competitive proposals from qualified firms to provide consulting services to produce a Bus Transit Development Plan PHASE II for the City of Tiffin and surrounding area, located at 109 S Washington St, Suite 2002, Tiffin, OH  44883.

Six (6) copies of the proposal will be accepted at Seneca Regional Planning Commission, 109 S Washington St, Suite 2002, Tiffin, OH  44883 no later than 2:00 PM EST on Friday February 3, 2017.

The Request for Proposals (RFP) document may be obtained at www.senecarpc.org or by contacting Charlene Watkins, Executive Director, at cjwatkins@senecarpc.org (Phone 419-443-7936 ext 123).

Any questions regarding the RFP can be directed in writing to Charlene Watkins at cjwatkins@senecarpc.org or at the Seneca Regional Planning Commission address listed above.  Seneca Regional Planning Commission reserves the right to reject any or all proposals submitted.