Awesome Piqua awards new grants

Home improvement workshop, Harry Potter party funded

By Sam Wildow -

PIQUA — Two recipients were awarded $1,000 grants — one to inspire home improvement and another to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday — during the Awesome Piqua chapter of the Awesome Foundation’s grant party on Thursday evening.

Sharon Semanie of Piqua accepted a grant from Awesome Piqua on behalf of the Fix It or Flip It workshop, a project chaired by Cindy Pearson of Piqua, who is also a member of the city’s planning commission.

Semanie described the event as a free, one-day workshop for the public that will be held at the Upper Valley Career Center. Tentatively scheduled for February, the workshop will address adding curb appeal to homes, with speakers talking about renovating and selling homes.

One of the speakers will be Skip Murray, who Semanie said has renovated and flipped around 29 homes in the Piqua and Sidney areas. The city’s code compliance agent, Aaron Morris, is also expected to speak during the workshop.

There will also be a vendor’s market after the workshop with bankers, realtors, and others.

“We’re going to let the community walk around, talk to them,” Semanie said.

Following that, the workshop will provide a bus tour for interested participants to see different renovated and flipped homes.

Awesome Piqua also awarded a grant to Beka Lindeman, the chapter organizer for Diagon Valley, to hold a Magical Wizarding Birthday Party at the Piqua Farmer’s Market on Thursday, July 26, from 3:30-6:30 p.m.

The party will be celebrating the birthday of Harry Potter, the protagonist of the popular “Harry Potter” fiction series by J.K. Rowling. The birthday bash will be presented by Diagon Valley, a chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance. Lindeman described the group as harnessing the power of storytelling and fandom to do good for the community and have fun.

The Magical Wizarding Birthday Party will include treats, activities and crafts, butterbeer — a drink referenced in the “Harry Potter” books — free books, and more. All ages are welcome.

For more information about Diagon Valley, visit their website at or follow them on Facebook.

With these two awards, Awesome Piqua was able to present their 15th grant allocation, reaching a total of $15,000 donated to awesome projects for the community.

“It feels great,” said Dan French, president of Awesome Piqua. “It does good for the community.”

Past recipients discussed what they used their grants for, including Robin Heintz, who organized the PiquaPOP street art experience, Mike Brookhart’s Piqua Love Locks installation near Lock 9, Paula Schmiesing’s farm to table dinner and Thomas Fogt’s Shawnee neighborhood cleanup day.

The projects funded through Awesome Piqua grants can range from any number of things that impact the Piqua community in ways that those needs are not already being met or they can include options that let locals have some fun.

According to their website, “a project should make people feel better about their community, by an activity or event which benefits the community as a whole, or a section of the community. Projects can have an educational goal, such as teaching school children about growing vegetables and plants so they learn about agriculture and where our food comes from; or a recreational goal, such as inspiring people to use our recreational path and water assets; to all kinds of other ideas.”

For more information, visit or follow Awesome Piqua on Facebook.
Home improvement workshop, Harry Potter party funded

By Sam Wildow

Reach Sam Wildow at

Reach Sam Wildow at