Efforts to turn the former Q3/JMC property in Urbana back into productive use remain ongoing, Urbana City Council was told Tuesday.
Marcia Bailey, economic development director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, said she and city leaders have been working closely for quite a while with different end users interested in the 605 Miami St. property, vacant since March 2008 and partially destroyed by fire in November 2015.
Bailey informed council the potential end user who showed the most interest in the site elected not to move forward with the redevelopment project due to a recent change in the company’s leadership.
According to Bailey, the company interested was being offered an incentive plan by JobsOhio and the Dayton Development Coalition. She added there is still a chance the company could jump back into the mix once the new leadership gets established.
“We are continuing to work with at least five to six different companies who have shown an interest of some sort in the site,” Bailey said.
To keep the project moving toward redevelopment, Bailey said, an application to include the Miami Street site in JobsOhio’s Redevelopment Pilot Program has been completed and will be submitted on July 26 by the Dayton Development Coalition.
Bailey said the pilot program is similar to the former Clean Ohio Brownfield Revitalization Fund administered by the Ohio Department of Development.
The potential grant offered through the program would be based on speculative end users, job creation, and investment for contamination cleanup and demolition.
“That’s where we are at now,” she said. “It’s not an end user at this point with this pilot program. It’s an actual developer that would be responsible to go in and clean it up, market it, and get it ready with the potential of jobs coming in with end users in sight.
The end user, as far as the recipient of the funding, can’t be the city of Urbana,” Bailey added. “They don’t want it to be a municipality. They want it to either be a developer or someone like a port authority that would be a third party.”
Director of Administration Kerry Brugger reiterated the city doesn’t own the former Q3/JMC property. He added that at this point he can’t justify spending more taxpayer dollars on the site.
“We pretty much made an internal commitment that we are not going to spend any more money for anything beyond maybe some legal assistance or things like that to kind of keep the project moving until we get a clearer picture on where things are headed,” he said. “We are being real careful how we are spending the money on that. We are just not going to tack on additional costs until we are confident we have a viable project.”
Council member Dwight Paul added, “That’s a lot of unused property just sitting in the city that we would really love to get back into productive use.”
Stormwater Advisory Committee formed
The council approved a resolution establishing a Stormwater Advisory Committee.
The all-volunteer, short-term committee will consist of interested residents, at least one council member, city Engineer Tyler Bumbalough and Wastewater Superintendent Chad Hall.
In past discussions on the establishment of such a committee, Brugger noted, in order to maintain and make improvements to the infrastructure of the city’s stormwater system, the city uses money from the General Fund instead of a stormwater utility. When money from the General Fund is used on the stormwater system it means less funds are available for roads and other projects, he added.
The job of the Stormwater Advisory Committee will be to discuss the current state of the city’s stormwater system and determine whether council should consider implementing a stormwater utility.
“We’ve kicked this can around before,” Mayor Bill Bean said. “This is something that needs to be studied by the whole community. We need to have input from the public, and this is probably the best way to do it.”
The Stormwater Advisory Committee’s recommendation to council is due on or before Nov. 30.
In other business:
•Police Chief Matt Lingrell presented the Urbana Police Division Civilian Service Award to resident Larry Lawson.
•The decorative lights (post lamps) on Scioto Street will undergo a bit of a change after council approved the purchase of 62 MaTech LED retrofit kits from Vonville, Leuin and Associates LLC at a cost of $21,835.
Brugger said the new LED bulbs come with not only a 10-year warranty, but also a $50 rebate per bulb for a total savings of $3,100.
•Council approved a purchase order to Lakeside Equipment in the amount of $22,469 for a replacement screen basket for the septage receiving station at the city’s Water Reclamation Facility.
Hall said the current screen basket, which captures heavy material that comes through the septage receiving station, has been in service since 2009 and has seen better days. He added 5.3 million gallons went through the station in 2015 and generated $250,000 for the city.
•The asphalt surface of the terminal parking lot and entrances to Grimes Field will undergo maintenance and repair work after council authorized a purchase order in the amount of $11,870 to Stevens Pavement Care. The work includes spot repairs, crack-filling, sealcoating, restriping, and the resetting of parking blocks.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.