SIDNEY — Twenty-Twenty Two marked year one of this new administration, and the team certainly hit the ground running. The city of Sidney took leaps and bounds from economic development to human resource changes. Status quo was a term that fell to the wayside as they ushered in new projects and programs that will continue to pay dividends for their employees and community well into the future.
Citty Manager Andrew Bowsher has submitted the following report:
In the spring of 2022 with the help of SSEP, DDC, and Jobs Ohio; the City SEMCORP USA. Marking the largest foreign investment in Ohio’s History. With 1 Billion in initial Investment, and 1200 jobs within phase 1 alone, the city has created an economic engine that will further enhance our manufacturing prowess for years to come. This development is part of the EV battery, and Automobile supply chain. Bringing forth both diversity within our economy, and well-paying jobs for Sidney, and our region.
In 2022, the city saw the start and continuation of one of Sidney’s first housing subdivisions. Located within the Burr Oak mixed-use development. Ryan Homes is well underway building homes on pre-ordained lots, providing sustainable housing for future generations, and growing families. The Burr Oak development will also display multi-family, and commercial development as it continues to grow in the coming years.
Downtown Sidney becomes more vibrant daily, and the city has been involved in several public-private partnerships to continue the revitalization momentum. For the past year, staff has been working with the City Focus Group and Sidney Alive as construction began on the Downtown Activation Project. A mix of enhancements to the streetscape and courthouse square. Those include the addition of outdoor string lighting, alley archways, mid-block crosswalks, hanging greenery baskets, bike racks, bistro-style seating, and the addition of gateway entry arches to designate the historic downtown. With these new amenities, it will be a great way to enjoy the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA), which has been in successful operation for over two years. Council even expanded the hours, due to its success.
One of the amenities that attract visitors to explore downtown is the availability of free public parking. In the fall of 2022, the city manager contracted with Freytag & Associates on concepts for the expansion of downtown parking. This may include a future parking structure as the City’s population grows, especially in the downtown area. City Council also continued legislation to allow free public parking in certain municipal parking lots and along the street.
In the same vein, the city will finish a Parks Master Plan by the end of 2023 and start a Downtown Development Plan and a Comprehensive Master Plan for the city. These documents will further draw enhancements into our proud and growing City but allow decision-makers the opportunity to plan and guide this growth in a more resilient yet equitable manner.
When the city acquired ownership of the Ohio Building, we knew this prime piece of real estate in downtown Sidney was poised for a mixed-use transformation. Several developers toured the structure in 2022, and the contracted and selected Woodard Development to act as the proprietor of this mixed-use redevelopment project. Woodard development is a full-service commercial real estate development firm focused on delivering customized solutions that create long-term value. Located in Dayton, Ohio, they are a regional brand that has completed several projects of this magnitude.
Connecting the Canal Feeder Trail to the Great Miami River Recreation Trail has been a key priority of the city for numerous years. In April 2021, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources notified the city of its successful 2020 Clean Ohio Trails Fund grant application. The city was conditionally awarded $500,000 for the Great Miami River Trail project. This grant funding will be used in coordination with the $850,000 received from the State of Ohio’s Capital Budget. Constru1.2-mile the next 1.2 mile section of the Canal Feeder Trail was delayed through the State permitting process, yet its start is slated for spring of 2023.
The city also dedicated “Binkley Pavilion,” a new outdoor facility within the Achenbach Grove located at Tawawa Park. This new 24-foot wide gazebo was privately funded by donations from former Sidney resident Albert Dickas of Blacksburg, Virginia. The new Pavilion was named after his great-grandfather, William Binkley.
Another topic of much discussion and action in 2022 was the future demolition and remediation of the former Wagner Manufacturing complex, located at 440 Fair Road. Currently, $4.6 million has been earmarked from both state, and local funds to see this project come to fruition. The City and County Land Bank has contracted with Burgess and Niple to further oversee the project through completion in 2023.
In 2022, the city started its’s vacant property registration program. This program created a database of all vacant properties within the City. Its inception is to help document and lead to revitalization in Sidney’s neighborhoods. The City also started work, and stakeholder meetings to launch a proposed Rental Registration, and Inspection program under the same purview.
Much of the progress happening on Sidney streets is due in part to the generosity of Sidney voters in their support of the 0.15% street maintenance levy. A total of $24.6 million in street, bridge, and traffic signal projects through 2026 is currently estimated. Potential grant funding in the amount of $10.2 million leaves the city responsible to find funding for $14.4 million in roadway needs over the next five year planning period. The ongoing levy dollars are an important part of the city’s plan for roadway projects.
In 2023 we will continue to build upon the solid foundation that is Sidney. We are a face of pride, and stabilization for the region, and we strive to become even more of a destination for businesses, and visitors alike. The city will focus on building more housing, increasing our population, enticing new shops/restaurants, cleaning up our neighborhoods, protecting our citizens, and expanding on the already great parks system in place. We live in a community full of heart, and as we start to run, I could not be more proud of the city we have in store. It all starts with a vision, and Sidney is ready to charge into this bright future.