PIQUA — City Manager Gary Huff addressed local and state officials along with business and community partners during the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the City on Tuesday morning, addressing new additions to the city while also going over the wide range of projects that the city is undertaking.
New to city will be Kettering Health Network, which recently purchased seven acres of land at 308 S. Looney Road near State Route 36. No plans have officially been announced, but they are expected to construct a medical facility at the site.
In addition to Kettering Health Network, another medical facility, Galen Health Urgent Care, will be locating near Walmart.
Galen Health Urgent Care is expected to arrive later this year and is expected to be in full operation beginning in September. Galen Health is an urgent and primary care services model owned and operated by Bravura Health & Wellness. According to job postings, Galen Health Urgent Care is currently seeking to hire nurse practitioners to work at the Piqua location.
NKTelco will also be coming to Piqua to offer cable and telephone services to local residents.
Orr Felt will also be getting new life after an unnamed Italian company purchased the building. A limited-liability company (LLC) for U.S. operations for a company called For-Tech was established for the site, according to a posting at the building.
“Orr Felt will go into production next year,” Huff said.
Huff also highlighted the city’s continued growth, saying, “There’s all kinds of private development going on.”
Huff said the city encourages businesses to locate and grow within the city.
“We’re very business-friendly,” he said.
Recent accomplishments celebrated
Huff went over a number of recently finished projects, attributing those accomplishments to city employees.
The East Ash Street CSX railroad bridge was recently repainted after the city went through ongoing negotiations with CSX.
“This was not an easy project,” Huff said. He added, “We’re proud to have done it.”
The new Water Treatment Plant was completed last year and began operations on June 1. The previous 97-year-old plant was turned into a regional public training facility for firefighter training. The facility also operates as a testing facility.
Huff also highlighted the Piqua Power System, noting that it has received a number of awards for safety and excellence.
The Piqua Police Department was also commended for lowering property crimes, particularly in the midst of the heroin and opioid epidemics.
“We’ve seen our property crimes decrease,” Huff said, adding that, last year, the city saw its lowest rate of property crimes in 32 years. “Our police department has done a tremendous job working on those things.”
Current projects discussed
The East Ash Street trail extension is currently under construction on Ash Street, connecting with the Ohio Department of Transportation’s project of replacing the decking the Ash Street bridge over the Great Miami River.
The city has received a number of state grants for local projects, including the Wastewater Treatment Plant, which received approximately $550,000 in grant funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission to replace sewer pump upgrades. Two pedestrian and cyclist bridges, including the Ohio-Indiana Trail Bridge near Lock 9 Park and the Great Miami River Trail Bridge behind the old power plant off County Road 25-A are each receiving grants of $350,000 and $1.4 million, respectively.
The vision of the Historic East Piqua Community Campus is still a priority, as Huff said that there are $70 million in investments being planned for that area. Those investments also include a new facility for the Ohio National Guard that is expected to locate in that area.
Huff touched on the controversial roundabout project going in at the intersection Looney and Garbry roads later this year. Huff showed a rendering of a roundabout he constructed in Fisher’s, Indiana, at an intersection where five roads met.
“There was no development there whatsoever,” Huff said, explaining that they turned that five-way intersection into a roundabout, and after they built it, two hospitals offered to develop that area, he said.
“Roundabouts do work,” he said, adding that he believed the roundabout would be a “tremendous asset” to that part of the city.
Huff added later that there are still redevelopment opportunities to come, such as through the CodePIQUA project that highlighted areas for private or residential development.
“You’re never done building a city. You have to continue to change,” Huff said. “We know change is tough, but change has to happen.”
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