New Italian restaurant developing downtown

Former Fifth Third building to transform

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — A new Italian restaurant is being developed downtown in the first floor of the former Fifth Third building, located at 101 S. Ohio Ave.

Sidney City Council adopted two resolutions Monday evening in connection with the local development group, Sidney Hometown Investments LTD., which plans to re-develop the downtown landmark.

The first resolution authorized City Manager Mark Cundiff to enter into a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) tax abatement agreement with Sidney Hometown Investments for investing in real property improvements. The total new project investment is estimated at $1,735,000 for the acquisition of the property, the addition and new construction, improvements to the building and equipment and furnishings/fixtures. The Housing Council, which met on Aug. 21, recommended a 15-year, 100 percent abatement based on the amount of the investment and benefit to Sidney’s downtown and community.

Community Development Director Barbara Dulworth told Council member Ed Hamaker, when asked, the abatement is based on the total estimated increased value of the property of the $1.7 million.

The second resolution involving Sidney Hometown Investments was to grant a license for the right to install and maintain an outdoor seating area, front entrance canopy, and north-side window canopies in the city’s right of way of the building at 101 S. Ohio Ave. After approval of the license, Sidney Hometown Investments must then obtain a right of way permit from engineering to complete the process, Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Gary Clough said.

According to Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership (SSEP), in addition to the redevelopment of the first floor, the current occupants of the second story, the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Partnership and Worship Partnership, will continue to operate in the building.

When the building came on the market, the group of local developers saw it as an opportunity to further develop the restaurant and entertainment offerings in downtown Sidney, a SSEP press release said. It noted the building’s location of the square across from the historic courthouse makes it an ideal location for another high quality food venue.

“Sidney Hometown Investments is extremely excited to be a part of this community-wide partnership that works together to help bring this opportunity to our community. Sidney Hometown Investments would not have been able to pull this project together if it was not for the help and commitment of the city, Sidney Alive, SSEP, as well as our restaurant managing partner,” said Sidney Hometown Investments in a prepared statement.

Jim Hill, executive director of SSEP, said in the press release, “Private and public partnership is critical to successful economic development. When we work together, good things happen in the community. It is exciting to see all the activity and positive momentum.”

Sidney Alive Executive Director Amy Breinich said in the release, “Sidney Hometown Investments joins the growing family of building owners and entrepreneurs who are investing in downtown Sidney. A new feature is the city of Sidney’s CRA. This tool is so important for investors as they invest money to improve downtown area properties, both commercial and residential.”

During Monday’s City Council meeting, Mick Given, managing partner of Sidney Hometown Investments, praised Cundiff, Dulworth, Sidney Alive and SSEP as all being very helpful and instrumental for pulling the project together. He thanked council for the support and said he hopes the restaurant will be open for business by June 2020.

In other business, council also adopted three other resolutions, and they are:

• To confirm the appointment of Robert Guillozet and Jake Lochard to the Sidney Energy Special Improvement District (ESID) Board of Directors. The ESID was created on Aug. 26, 2019, to administer a local Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing (PACE) program. PACE financing is a tool that allows property owners to finance the costs of energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements through special assessments on their real property tax bills. Mayor Mike Barhorst is also a member of the ESID Board of Directors.

• To accept the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the county auditor.

• To authorize the drawing of a warrant in payment for a total of $43,179.25 to be paid to Limecorp Ltd. for lagoon cleanings. Finance Officer Ginger Adams told council city staff inadvertently missed encumbering the purchases, but appropriations were and are available. Since the purchase order is greater than $10,000, she said, Sidney’s purchasing manual requires council’s approval to authorize payment.

Some items discussed during the introduction of the city’s five-year plan on Sept. 3 were brought back to council for further explanation. Cundiff provided information on the following topics Monday about some questions brought up at the workshop session:

• Shelby County Health Department parking lot: City staff is currently evaluating the lot to determine a cost estimate. If the work is warranted and funds are available for the work to be completed in 2020, the project will appear as a part of the 2020 budget.

• City of Sidney impound lot: Staff scheduled a discussion of this topic in the first quarter of 2020.

• Wilkinson Avenue/Railroad Street sewer location: This sewer runs west from Wilkinson to Pomeroy Avenue.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan was absent Monday and was excused by council.

City Council also held an executive session to consider the discipline and employment of a public employee. No action was taken when council members emerged from the session.

Former Fifth Third building to transform

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.