downtown revitalization

ABR approves Façade Grant for Hunan King

MVIMG_20180306_140046.jpgRoof project awarded $10,000 grant

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 6, 2018 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review approved a Façade Enhancement Grant for a roofing project at Hunan King, 253 S. Washington St. The project is a roof replacement at an estimated cost of $24,200. The project was awarded a $10,000 grant.

Jay Zheng submitted the application on behalf of the business, noting that the roof was nearly 100 years old. “The roof was well overdue for replacement,” he said. “It’s great that the city can help us with the cost.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz commented on the amount of roofing projects that have been awarded grants so far this year. “The grant does not have to be solely about the appearance of the building, it can also help with maintenance and improving the structural integrity of the building,” he said.

This grant brings the total building investment related to the Façade Enhancement Grant Program for 2018 to $324,460 with a balance of $54,871 remaining in the city’s grant fund for the year.

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.

Council approves downtown sign program

Grant provides up to 50% reimbursement for sign costs

Renaissance Sign 2TIFFIN, OHIO – December 4, 2017 – Tiffin City Council approved a new Sign Enhancement Program in a meeting Monday night and set aside $10,000 to fund the program in 2018. The program is designed to assist business owners in downtown Tiffin in displaying effective and consistent signage.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said the program is a natural companion to the Façade Enhancement Program introduced in 2014. “Through the Façade Enhancement Program, downtown building and business owners have been able to make drastic changes to the look of their building. To date, the city has invested $350,000 in the program, resulting in $1.4 million in renovations,” he said. “With the sign program, we are able to take the transformation one step further.”

The grant is a 50 percent reimbursement of expenses directly related to perpendicular signage on properties within the downtown target area, up to a maximum match of $1,000.  This grant is available on a first come, first served basis from application approval.  Applications will be accepted starting Jan. 1, 2018. For the first 30 days, preference will be given to owners who have successfully completed Façade Enhancement Program projects.

Signage was laid out in the Downtown Strategic Plan adopted by Council in 2010. The plan called for consistent standards for downtown signage to improve community character along with the Façade Enhancement Program. Similar programs have been adopted by other Ohio Main Street communities, including the Gateway District in Cleveland, Cambridge Main Street, and Main Street Wooster, to great success. A study of one Gateway District business showed a 20 percent increase in foot traffic after a sign enhancement project.

For more information about the program, contact Downtown Manager Amy Reinhart at 419.619.5517 or reinhart@senecacounty.org.

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.

Downtown Tiffin wins Heritage Ohio Award

SIEDC, Chamber, universities recognized for Around the Town event

TIFFIN, OHIO – October 18, 2017 –  The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) Downtown Marketing Committee and the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services received the Heritage Ohio Award for “Best Main Street Committee Event” for the annual Around the Town event in a ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse October 17.

Around the Town is an annual event introducing incoming Heidelberg and Tiffin University students to businesses and organizations in the community. For 20 years, the event was held on the colleges’ respective campuses. In 2015, the Chamber partnered with the Downtown Marketing Committee through SIEDC and event was brought to a central location downtown, bringing both schools together and highlighting the proximity of downtown to the students.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz applauded the partnership and stressed the importance of downtown revitalization efforts. “Around the Town is a wonderful event bringing together the college students and the community,” he said. “It is great to see our community organizations working together, and our commitment to the Main Street downtown approach paying off.”

Tiffin officially became a Heritage Ohio Main Street community in 2016, after two years of affiliate membership. The Ohio Main Street Program works with communities across the state to revitalize their historic or traditional commercial areas. The program works on a four-point approach emphasizing, organization, design, promotions and marketing, and economic development in downtown revitalization.

About Heritage Ohio
Heritage Ohio is the statewide, not-for-profit preservation organization, dedicated to encouraging and assisting people and organizations to protect, preserve and revitalize Ohio’s heritage. Formed in 1989, is the coordinating agency for the Ohio Main Street Program. In 2002, Heritage Ohio was designated as the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Heritage Ohio mission is to help people: save the places that matter, building community, and live better. Learn more at www.heritageohio.org.

Many communities, organizations and individuals submitted nominations for consideration. The awards recognize the numerous preservation and revitalization accomplishments of people, businesses, and organizations across the state. The Selection Committee reported an increased level of quality in nominations, awarding 16 categories at this year’s event.

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.

ABR approves two Façade Enhancement Grants

$40,000 remains in city fund for 2017

Elks LodgeTIFFIN, OHIO – March 7, 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 $5,337, for a total reinvestment in downtown Tiffin of $10,675, leaving close to $40,000 available of the $100,000 set aside by the City of Tiffin for 2017.

The Tiffin Elks Lodge, located at 106 E. Perry St., will be replacing the third floor windows to match the second floor, and repairing stucco. This is the third grant the building has received, one for each year of the program. “Being able to apply for Façade Grant funding each year has allowed us to make a strategic plan for building repairs,” Elks Exalted Ruler Joe Steinmetz said. “It also eases some of the burden of maintaining the building.”

Phat Cakes Exterior 2The Phat Cakes building, located at 45 S. Washington St. will also be undergoing some window repair. It was approved for a grant including the replacement and repair of wood trim and flashing around the front windows, as well as roof, gutter and shingle repair.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was pleased to see the grant is being used both by repeat applicants and newcomers. “One of today’s approvals shows how the grant has fostered continuous improvements to our downtown buildings, and the other shows that there are still building owners taking advantage of the grant for the first time,” he said.

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 the complete Facade Enhancement Program, 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.

Downtown Facade Enhancement Grant Program: 2014-Present

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. Since its inception, the City of Tiffin has invested $350,000 in 65 projects, for a total reinvestment in downtown revitalization of $2.2 million.

Here is a recap of the program’s impact, by year, from 2014 to the end of 2018:

2014

The City of Tiffin set aside $50,000 for the Facade Enhancement Grant program. Ten projects were approved, for a total investment of $110,000. View 2014 project list.

2015

Following the successful launch of the program, the city set aside $100,000 for Facade Enhancement in 2015. There were 16 grant approvals, resulting in a $700,000 investment in downtown Tiffin. View 2015 project list.

2016

In 2016, the Facade Enhancement Program was in high demand. The city once again set aside $100,000 for the grant program, and the funds were exhausted halfway through the year. Eleven projects were approved for grant funding, totaling $323,000 in downtown reinvestment. View 2016 project list.

2017

In 2017, the city allotted another $100,000 to the Facade Enhance Program with record results. Just four months into the year, the funds were depleted on 16 projects totaling a $266,000 investment. View 2017 project list.

2018

In 2018, the city again funded the program at $100,000. The funds were exhausted by the end of August, resulting in 13 projects and a total downtown reinvestment of $584,000. View 2018 project list.

The program is a first-come, first-serve reimbursement grant program for exterior improvements to buildings in the downtown historic district. It will provide a 50% match up to $10,000 per project for eligible exterior improvements. In order to qualify, a property goes through the standard Architectural Board of Review (ABR) Process using the current ABR Guidelines. During the initial Discussion phase, Downtown Development Coordinator Amy Reinhart will determine if Facade Enhancement funding is still available and if the project qualifies. She will then guide the business through the process.

Please see the Program Guidelines for all the rules and regulations and/or contact Amy Reinhart (419.619.5517, reinhart@tiffinseneca.org) with any questions you may have.

A step-by-step guide can be found here.

Representatives focused on downtown revitalization

Main Street pic

Left to Right: Tyler Shuff, Jessica Williams, Bryce Riggs, Amy Reinhart and State Representative Bill Reineke at the Ohio Statehouse

Earlier this month elected officials, business owners, and members of SIEDC gathered in Columbus for the 2015 Heritage Ohio / Main Street Annual Conference. In attendance were Tyler Shuff, Jessica Williams, Bryce Riggs, Amy Reinhart, and John Kerschner. The Main Street Program, a brand of Heritage Ohio which was developed from the National Historic Trust Organization, is focused on preservation and revitalization of Ohio’s downtowns. Main Street is a comprehensive program that focuses on multiple aspects of the revitalization of the downtown at one time. It is called the four point approach: The four points of focus are Operations, Design, Marketing, and Business Enhancement. These four committees were formed in 2014 and immediately began assessing the 2010 Downtown Strategic Plan for direction. The plan is set up with the four point approach in mind and contains 124 different action items for revitalization. Some of the topics covered at the 2015 conference were:

  • Building Departments
  • Site Selection
  • Small Deal Financing
  • Incentives at the Local Level
  • Vacant Property Programs
  • Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits
  • Alternative Building Code
  • ADA Compliance
  • First Floor Retail Vibrancy

There were many other seminars and tours that took place during the conference along with the award ceremony for buildings and communities around Ohio.  It is important to see how other communities are successfully revitalizing their downtowns so we can utilize that information for the betterment of Tiffin.  The Main Street network is the key to sharing and creating successful programs that are tried and true. On November 2nd Tiffin City Council will be voting on Resolution 15-25 which approves an application for Tiffin to become a member of the Main Street Program. If this measure passes is will put Tiffin in the running to join an organization of other elite and thriving downtown communities across the state of Ohio.