community development

New Community Kitchen Project Proposed in Downtown Tiffin

Exciting new initiative supported by organizations involving local food.

TIFFIN, OHIO – October 1, 2020 – A plan to invest $2.4 million in a community kitchen in Downtown Tiffin was announced today by Old Trinity Episcopal Church. The kitchen will focus on connecting local growers and businesses to the community, providing opportunities for groups to cook and eat together, housing a diverse set of cooking classes and creating ways to give back to the community by preparing food.

“Our Christian faith has taught us that breaking bread with our neighbors builds community. Working with others in our community to nurture healthy and life-giving relationships through preparing and sharing food fits with who we are,” said the Rev. Aaron Gerlach, pastor at Old Trinity Episcopal Church and board president of Seneca County Common Ground.

Seneca County Common Ground, a nonprofit organization operating the Tiffin-Seneca Farmers Market and leading other local food efforts, is one of the important relationships Old Trinity has formed while envisioning this project. Susan McCafferty, Senior Warden of Old Trinity said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Seneca County Common Ground and others in our community. This kitchen will be a welcoming space that facilitates Tiffin community members forging new relationships as they enhance their culinary skills.”

The kitchen space will be connected to the church building, 125 E. Market St., but will be a separate space with its own entrance. As well as being available to individuals and groups on a reservation basis, the kitchen will partner with the Tiffin-Seneca Farmers Market to serve locally grown food on market days and to teach community members ways of using local foods at home. Old Trinity and Common Ground look forward to utilizing the space with other local organizations who have been key in the shaping of the project.

The group has been working together since mid-2019 on the project.  Old Trinity has engaged its neighbors at the Seneca County Justice Center, including the judges and the Seneca County Commissioners. The project is contingent on the purchase of a portion of the county parking lot adjacent to the church and the Justice Center which would allow the kitchen’s footprint to expand just past the church’s current square footage. The parking for the Justice Center would also be enhanced and secured by a perimeter security fence and gate.

For information about the project or to find out how to support its development, contact Gerlach at RevGerlach@OldTrinityEpiscopal.com or call (567) 938-0102.

About Old Trinity Episcopal Church

Originally constructed in 1856, Old Trinity has been a staple in the Tiffin community for decades. The church worships in the Anglican beliefs centering on liturgy, tradition and intellectual response. It has from its beginning in Tiffin been attractive to community leaders. Tiffin’s first mayor, Henry Kuhn, was a member of this parish as well as many elected officials and community leaders throughout the years. The church has recently completed several projects including restoration of the stained-glass windows, renovation of the undercroft to accommodate parish and community functions and installation of an elevator. The central location and the community spirit of the congregation provide the incentive to the ministry of the space. Old Trinity Episcopal church is heavily invested in the community and continually looks for ways to provide value. Learn more at www.oldtrinityepiscopal.com.

About Seneca County Common Ground

Created in 2019, Seneca County Common Ground is a nonprofit organization supporting local food & agriculture and promoting access to fresh foods for Seneca County residents. The board of the organization includes Seneca County OSU Extension Agent Hallie Williams, Reverend Aaron Gerlach of Old Trinity Episcopal Church, local business owner and chair of the Downtown Retailers Committee Dave Spridgeon, local business leader Dale Depew, TSEP Development Manager Audrey Flood, and local food vendors Kristy Buskirk of Clay Hill Farms and John Riehm of Riehm Produce Farm. Seneca County Common Ground oversees the operations of the Tiffin Seneca Farmers Market and supports other local food initiatives. Our market manager is Courtney Heiser. Find out more at sccommonground.org or find Seneca County Common Ground on Facebook.

About Downtown Tiffin

The revitalization of downtown Tiffin began in 2011, when a group of community members came together to for “Tiffin Tomorrow”, with the goal of promoting and encouraging economic development in downtown Tiffin, and creating plans, programs and actions to ensure long-term vitality and prosperity. In 2014, the city of Tiffin contracted with SIEDC to act as the downtown organization and “Tiffin Tomorrow” came under the SIEDC umbrella as the “Downtown Development Committee,” which serves as the governing board of the downtown organization. In 2015, Tiffin joined Heritage Ohio’s Ohio Main Street Program. For more information, click here.

$25,000 playground projected completed at Tiffin YMCA

Lowe’s, community groups provided labor, funding for project

TIFFIN, OHIO – Sept. 15, 2020 – A brand new playground recently was completed at the Tiffin Community YMCA Recreation Center. The $25,000 project was funded by the Lowe’s Heroes program, the Tiffin Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council grant and the Gillmor Charitable Foundation through Old Fort Banking Company.

Following a search by leadership of the Tiffin Lowe’s for a community project that could be supported by the 2019 Lowe’s Heroes program, YMCA staff worked together with Lowe’s partners to design and complete the project with much of the materials coming from Lowe’s.

The mulch for the playground came from local company Roppe Rubber through the recycled rubber mulch company Jelly Bean Rubber Mulch, which was funded through Tiffin Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council and the Gillmor Charitable Foundation through Old Fort Banking Co. The Tiffin Columbian Football Team provided volunteer labor to install and spread the mulch. Webster Industries also provided the use of its equipment during the project.

Buster Ardner, CEO of the Bucyrus-Tiffin YMCA, said, “Completing this project was truly a community effort. We’re grateful to have the generous support of local businesses and organizations.”

Tiffin Lowe’s Manager Steven Thom said, “We were happy to be able to support this project in the Tiffin community and we’re looking forward to finding other ways to be involved in the community in the future.”

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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 http://www.tiffinseneca.org.

Tiffin Community Development Initiative encourages public to ‘Dream Big’

Project submission portal open through Nov. 12

Riverview Park in Tiffin was updated in 2019 with $120,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds.

TIFFIN, OHIO – Sept. 10, 2020 – On behalf of the City of Tiffin, Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is launching a new, innovative community development initiative. For the next two months, Tiffin area residents can submit new ideas or detailed proposals for facilities and services to improve Tiffin’s education, health and wellness, and quality of life. Community organizations, community leaders and elected officials will also be directly solicited. Projects can be submitted at www.dreambigtiffin.com until November 12. The page includes details on submission and frequently asked questions.

After project solicitation closes, TSEP will make all detailed project proposals available for review online and ask for the entire community’s feedback on the project proposals submitted for the next few weeks. The public can provide input online and/or at public hearings.

Following the public feedback period, three specialty committees or “panels” in the areas of Quality of Life, Education & Training and Health & Human Services will evaluate and classify each of the project proposals as “priority,” “recommended,” or “reviewed” based on a number of factors, including the public input.

The panel’s recommendations for prioritization will then be taken to a larger Tiffin Community Development Committee, which will finalize the classifications and the overall project list and then share those recommendations with local and state elected officials, as well as foundations and other sources of grant funding. TSEP will provide support by assisting high priority projects in obtaining funding as well as further developing project ideas into project proposals.

Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, formerly SIEDC, has been involved with community development inside the city of Tiffin since 1990, originally with housing programs and over the last couple of years as the administrator of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and manager of the downtown Main Street program. The new “Dream Big Tiffin” program seeks to increase community engagement, identify and develop more and better project proposals, secure more funding, and thereby improve the quality of life in Tiffin.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said, “I appreciate TSEP’s commitment to improving public participation to better identify and facilitate more high-impact community development projects in the City of Tiffin. This will be an exciting new step in that direction.”

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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 http://www.tiffinseneca.org.

City of Tiffin applies for funds to improve Nature Trails Park

Project projected to be complete in 2021

TIFFIN, OHIO – July 7, 2020 – The City of Tiffin recently completed and submitted its application to the State of Ohio for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, with the funds to primarily be used for improvements to Nature Trails Park. If approved, the project would include adding paved walking trails, benches, a barbecue grill and a new playground by fall of 2021. The playground that had been at the park has been removed due to disrepair.

Every two years, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocates up to $150,000 for the City of Tiffin for specific activities that benefit areas of low-income residents, benefit specific populations or to make improvements in areas of slum and blight. The total amount requested for this round of funding was $147,800, of which $117,800 is for improvements at Nature Trails Park, $25,000 is for grant administration costs and $5,000 is allocated for the required fair housing program.

Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership administered the program for the City of Tiffin during this round of funding, and facilitated the selection of the project with the coordination of municipal elected officials and staff, Tiffin City Council members, the Tiffin Community Development Committee and other stakeholders. Seneca County has its own allocation amount, separate from the City of Tiffin, which is administered by Seneca Regional Planning Commission.

City of Tiffin Engineer’s Office provided the preliminary design services and will provide additional engineering services throughout the project that will save significant costs and allow more funds to be used for construction.

The application was submitted June 17, 2020, to the State of Ohio Office of Community Development, following authorization from Tiffin City Council on June 15, 2020.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz commented, “Nature Trails is a great asset to citizens it serves, but this funding will provide for a much needed update at the park. I’m grateful that we have the opportunity to invest in our community without having to put the expense on the city’s budget.”

City seeks input for community development grant projects

cdbgPublic meeting to be held May 4

TIFFIN, OHIO – April 30, 2018 – The city of Tiffin will hold a public meeting Friday, May 4 at 9 a.m. at the SIEDC office for residents to discuss possible projects and submit ideas for inclusion in the Community Development Investment Strategy (CDIS) for the 2018-2019 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The city intends to apply to the Ohio Development Services Agency for funding under the CDBG Small Cities Program, a federally funded program administered by the state. Tiffin is eligible for approximately $150,000 for Fiscal Years 2018-2019 CDBG funding, providing the city meets applicable program requirements.

The city invites members of the public to discuss community development ideas and possible projects to be included in the CDIS, a document that guides community development efforts for the city, in a visioning session at the SIEDC office, 19 W. Market Street, Tiffin, OH from 9:00 a.m to 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 4, 2018.

Idea submission applications are available in print at the SIEDC office, the mayor’s office at 51 E. Market Street, and online at www.senecasuccess.com. Applications will also be available during the meeting.

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.

OSU Extension Office connects community with university resources

osu extensionThe Ohio State University Extension in Seneca County aims to connect the university’s resources and knowledge to the community. Originally working closely with farmers to share research on growing better crops and livestock, the OSU Extension now works with many different parts of the community. It separates these parts into four compact areas of outreach; Agriculture and Natural Resources, 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Services, and Community Development.

Agriculture and Natural Resources programs assist with technology, marketing and educational support, and even offer training opportunities and certifications.  4-H Youth Development teaches kids lessons in leadership, communication and collaboration while increasing their knowledge in math, science, technology and a variety of other topics. Kids are able to participate in a number of ways, including community clubs, camps, in-school and after-school activities, and summer programs that both increase their self-confidence and personal skills in addition to honing their skills in specific subjects such as animals, computers, public speaking, or cooking. Family and Consumer Services provides community members with the skills, knowledge and resources to make informed, healthy life choices. This is done through teaching and promoting safe food practices, better nutrition, better finances and better relationships using evidence-based, impartial, current research into useful information that can improve the quality of people’s lives. Community Development advances income and employment opportunities by applying cutting-edge research, knowledge and innovations to improve local businesses and the communities they serve. By examining the needs of each community, the OSU Extension is able to enhance the wellbeing of communities and neighborhoods through interactive and collaborative partnerships with local businesses and organizations, community leaders and local officials.

Since 1914, the Ohio State University Extension has been helping Ohioans build better lives, better businesses, and better communities. To learn more about the OSU Extension visit their website, and check out some of the additional programs they offer like the Master Gardener Volunteers and SNAP-Ed, a free nutrition education and obesity prevention program serving low-income adults and youth.

Check out this video for an overview of the office: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuP5o__j4Hk

Community seeks proposals for new Comprehensive Plan

Seneca County, Tiffin, Fostoria to collaborate on community plan

View the complete request for proposal here.

TIFFIN, OHIO – September 27, 2017 – The Seneca Regional Planning Commission released a request for proposals for a new county-wide Comprehensive Plan, to include Tiffin and Fostoria. The request includes a combined plan for the three entities, as well as individual plans, each with separate cost estimates, and a twenty-year horizon. Proposals will be accepted until Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 3 p.m.

Seneca County Commission President Mike Kerschner said the plan is yet another way for the county to partner with the cities on a common cause. “This plan will continue the climate of collaboration between the different entities within Seneca County, including the successful merger of the Fostoria and Tiffin courts, as well as the execution of the Justice Center,” he said.

The Comprehensive Plan will address long-range policy for land use planning, transportation, economic development, housing, public facilities, historic, natural and cultural resources, agricultural preservation, intergovernmental cooperation, budget preparation, and capital improvement planning and other facets of community life deemed important by the chosen consultant and agreed to by the participating entities.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is looking forward to a new plan and direction for the city. “Our current plan was created in 1994 and is, at this point, extremely outdated. I am excited to see what the consultants will come up with for the community’s development,” he said.

Work is anticipated to begin in 2018 with an 18- to 24-month timeframe, if a firm is selected and funding allocated. The finished product should be ready for adoption by the participating legislative bodies at public hearings by late 2019.

Inquiries should be directed to Charlene Watkins, Executive Director, Seneca Regional Planning Commission, cjwatkins@senecarpc.org, 419.443.7936 ext. 123.

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.