SIDNEY — Updates on Sidney’s capital improvements and the process of creating a revitalization district downtown were presented to Sidney City Council during Monday’s workshop session.
City Manager Mark Cundiff spoke about the park and recreation department’s improvements Monday in place of its Director Duane Gaier. Other than recapping the renovating and relocating the Zenas King Bridge to Tawawa park of Amos Lake, Cundiff said the annual replacement of modular play equipment this year will be in Plum Ridge Park on Hoewisher Road. There will also be landscaping improvements at Schultz Park funded from private donations. Cundiff also told council the parks director vehicle will be replaced this year with Ford Fusion.
Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth presented the final virtual tour information about three major projects for her department. Some areas of City Hall will get new carpeting with carpet squares for easier repairers, she said. The HVAC rooftop unit and controller system must be replace. Dulworth said they opened bids last week and expect to have the work completed within 30 days. She said they are “inching toward” replacing the Ohio Building roof. They are waiting for the final report for the specifications to put together bid package. Dulworth said the good news about the building is that the structural engineer shared he did not find any issues.
In other business, Cundiff led a discussion about establishing a revitalization district downtown Sidney and explained the the following process for creating it:
• A Sidney property owner’s property must be located within the proposed district and then file an application with the mayor seeking a revitalization district designation. The application shall contain all of the following:
— Applicant’s name and address;
— A map identifying the boundaries of the district;
— A general statement of the nature and type of business currently or to be located in the proposed district;
— Time frame for the development of new businesses;
— Evidence the use of land within the district complies with the official zoning map;
— A handling and processing fee payable to Sidney in the amount determined by the city.
• Within 30 days after receiving the application, the mayor shall submit it with a recommendation of approval or denial to City Council.
• Within 30 days after receiving the application and mayor’s recommendation, council, by notice published once a week for two consecutive weeks in the local newspaper, shall notify the public the application is available on file in the city clerk’s office for public inspection.
• Within 75 days after the date the application is filed with the mayor, council, by ordinance or resolution, shall approve or deny the application.
• If City Council disapproves the application, the applicant may make changes to the application to secure council’s approval.
Only one district can be established in the city.
Establishing a revitalization district will bring in additional liquor licenses for businesses located within the district and cannot be taken out of the district, Cundiff said. If a business leaves, the license can only be transferred to another business within the district. He said the hope is that this would help free up currently held licenses of businesses already located in the district for other businesses that want to open in other areas of town. Those businesses could sell their current license and obtain a new license because of being located in the revitalization district.
Cundiff shared that a downtown property owner has offered to submit an application, but district boundaries and the application fee has yet to be established. Sidney Alive Director Amy Breinich presented council with a final draft of the map. There was questions about why various areas were within the boundary, including a salvage yard. Breinich explained the salvage yard is the last commercial space before the residential area along the river and that there is a lot of land there that could be developed or redeveloped in the future along the waterfront. The boundary lines on the map presented, Breinich said, follow the city’s current right of way paths, rather than going through parcels.
“I think it’s important to know that this overlay district is not going to change any day to day business that happens within the city and state,” Breinich said. “Even though council should choose to do the overlay district with these boundaries or different boundaries, after its submitted to the state, they still have to follow everything single thing that we already have in place. There really is no changes other than council saying ‘yes we want to designated as a revitalization district’ and OKing the Department of Commerce to allow those (liquor licenses).”
Breinich is currently working to gather information about other communities’ fee structure. After that information is compiled she will bring her findings back to council to consider how to charge for the application fee in association with establishing the district.
Breinich told council her research of other communities with revitalization districts have shown an increase in the property values of both businesses and residential properties within and around the district. She found no negative impacts on these communities.
Duting the council comments portion of the meeting, Council member Darryl Thurber asked for city staff to look into a deteriorating retaining wall on the south side of the property of 516 N. Ohio Ave.
Council member Ed Hammaker asked if staff could tend to and rid the extensive grass growing on the brick roads on Franklin Avenue and South West Avenue.
Council member Steve Wagner said they captured 31 cats and one ground hog during the recent Trap-Neuter-Release clinic. Several cats had to be euthanized due to illness. He also said one their cages was destroyed on private property after it was run over by an unknown vehicle.
Council also went into an executive session for the appointment of a public official, the discipline of a public employee and pending litigation. No action was taken when council emerged from the session.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.