PIQUA — The former Mo’s Lounge building in downtown Piqua may see redevelopment, along with a number of other properties in downtown Piqua, after the Piqua City Commission approved the sale of city-owned real estate to continue with the city’s Riverfront Redevelopment Strategy on Tuesday.
The city will be selling properties that are currently vacant to the Piqua Improvement Corporation (PIC), a non-profit improvement corporation with the goal of promoting economic development. First on the list was the sale of city-owned real estate located at 111 S. Main St., as known as the former Mo’s Lounge, which the commission approved selling to PIC in the amount of $46,600 during its meeting on Tuesday.
“We’ve identified a developer who desires to redevelop the property,” Community and Economic Development Director Chris Schmiesing said during Tuesday’s meeting. Schmiesing said the developer will potentially turn that property into a “cool, fun, hip restaurant” with a “deck overlooking the river.”
During public comment, Bill Jaqua of Piqua asked for further explanation as to why the city was selling the properties to PIC, as well as what were the original costs to the city for the properties.
Schmiesing said the city initially acquired the old Mo’s building and the following properties in order to secure control of the properties. PIC — which is comprised of city staff like Schmiesing and City Manager Gary Huff, along with business and community leaders — then helps facilitate economic development with some involvement from the city.
Schmiesing also said the city is “being made whole” with the properties the city is selling to PIC. With three of the properties, the city sold them to PIC at the cost for which the city either purchased or received them. Such as with the old Mo’s building, the city purchased the building in April 2014 from Joseph E. Drapp for $46,600, according to public records.
The commission then approved the sale of city-owned real estate located at 120 S. Main St., Piqua, to PIC in the amount of $1. Schmiesing said the city received that property by way of a donation, so that was why the cost to PIC was $1. He added PIC has identified a purchaser who is seeking to put a fresh press juicery in that location.
Following that, the commission approved selling two properties to PIC, who has a developer seeking to be put town homes overlooking the river in those locations. The first property is located at 201 Spring St., as known as the former Bayman’s Auto Sales in Piqua, which the commission approved selling it to PIC in the amount of $146,000. The city previously purchased the property at 201 Spring St. for $250,000 in October 2017. It was sold at a lower cost to PIC in anticipation of demolition and improvement work still needed at the site.
“We’re coming out to equal what we paid for,” Schmiesing said.
Schmiesing said the town homes they expect to come to that area will be three-story walk-ups with minimal yard space, something he said is “currently missing in our housing inventory.”
The final property the commission approved selling to PIC is located at 212 E. Water St. in the amount of $29,000, which was the same amount for which the city purchased it. Town homes are also expected to be developed here.
Piqua Power System annual resolutions
The commission also approved a number of annual resolutions in regard to the Piqua Power System during its meeting. The commission authorized the city manager to continue the city membership in American Municipal Power, Inc., at a cost not to exceed $75,000.
Following that, the commission authorized the city purchasing agent to purchase fuel oil for the Power System’s two combustion turbine generators. The city uses the combustion turbines to shave peak volumes, reducing Piqua’s overall electric demand during periods of high system load. The budgeted cost for this purchase is $250,000.
Power System Director Ed Krieger said the combustion turbines have provided approved between 7-9 percent in cost savings over the past eight or nine years. He said this amounted to a month’s of free power for the year.
Next, the commission approved a resolution to retain the services of SSOE Group to provide consulting and engineering services for the Power System. The cost is not to exceed $225,000. SSOE Group will provide services related to the city’s replacement of 69kV breakers, which will complete the three-year replacement program of these breakers. Krieger said these breakers “control the flow of bulk power in and out of the city.”
Additional items on the agenda
In regard to the city budget, the commission approved an amended ordinance to make appropriations for the city for the year 2020, making adjustments for projects not finished in 2019. The commission also approved an amended emergency ordinance to the city’s 2019 appropriations. The commission also approved transfers and temporary loans of cash from the general fund to other funds for the fiscal years 2020 and 2019.
The commission also approved two resolutions to provide fire and emergency ambulance service to Springcreek and Washington townships for a three-year period. For those services, Springcreek Township would pay the city $152,380 for the year 2020; $157,716 for 2021; and $163,234 for 2022. Washington Township would pay the city $102,386 for 2020; $105,970 for 2021; and $109,678 for 2022.
During public comment, Dan French of Piqua asked how the city determines the price for these contracts.
Huff said the city previously was on a 10-year contract cycle with the townships to provide these services and will be moving to a three-year contract cycle in order to study the cost effectiveness of the contract prices. Huff said the previous contract prices “didn’t hurt us from a standpoint of operations.”
The commission also approved a replat; adopting a supplement to the code of ordinances, which includes current legislation already approved by the commission; renewing the city’s liability insurance; and annexing a portion of the Manier Solar Field into the city.
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