By Haylee Pence
PIQUA – The Piqua City Commissioners met on Wednesday, June 8 for a general session followed by a Town Hall Meeting.
The general session included two resolutions. The second resolution was tabled for a later date. The first resolution was approved and involved authorizing the city manager to execute an agreement to settle a grievance action. The summary of the resolution stated, “A City of Piqua employee was disciplined and a grievance for arbitration was filed. All parties to the conflict believe it is in the best interest to avoid arbitration.”
The agreement involved a settlement payment to the employee, William Weaver, in the amount of $25,000 in a “one-time lump sum,” according to the agreement. Weaver also agrees to a voluntary demotion on Dec. 7, 2021, which was the date of his demotion. This agreement settles all claims made from the demotion event, which involved Weaver being demoted from lieutenant to patrol officer.
The guest speaker for the Town Hall Meeting was Community and Economic Development Director Chris Schmiesing. Schmiesing began his presentation discussing the Lock 9 Park Reconstruction Project.
“The Lock 9 Park is the center of our Downtown Revitalization Project where we recognize and plan to enhance our riverfront area as a huge asset that wasn’t being properly used,” Schmiesing stated.
The Lock 9 Park Reconstruction Project is a multiple phase project that is projected to cost around $4 million. Approximately $700,000 of the total cost has already been completed prior to the pandemic. The project was put on hold during the pandemic while additional funding was secured. The total project still needs around $1 million funded for the later phases. The next phase currently has funding in place and has been put out to bid, which will be received June 28.
“The future is bright for downtown Piqua and private investments,” Schmiesing commented.
He then discussed the current housing conditions and code enforcement. There have been 1,304 cases with 1,130 of those being resolved. Thirty of the properties are condemned properties. There has been 16 court cases involving code enforcement.
The Community Housing Impact and Preservation Program (CHIP) and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding were discussed next. The CHIP funding is federal funds the city makes available to low-to-moderate income level households for various projects that fall within the scope of parameters to be completed.
“The interest in gaining these funds for household projects and needs are always higher than the funds that are made available to us,” Schmiesing said.
The CDBG funds that the city receives are used to fund various projects around the city, and the current funds are going to help with 10 demolitions of vacant structures throughout the city. The state of Ohio released funding for cities to use to demolish vacant structures as well, and with those funds, the city of Piqua will demolish an additional 13 structures.
Schmiesing also discussed new housing development opportunities that are being discussed including developer interest in Deerfield, Indian Ridge, and a cottage court structure. There has also been developer interest for a 55-plus community structure in the city.
Following Schmiesing’s presentation, the floor was opened up for public questions and concerns. Several discussions followed including the necessity and readiness of the new Code Piqua.
Code Piqua is the set of parameters and code enforcements set to determine the appropriate structure and function of buildings. The previous set of code left a vast amount of gray area on labeling structure. The new set of code brings new dimensions to the code to look at the context of the current surrounding structures to protect the character of each area. The expected release date is around Thanksgiving of this year, according to Schmiesing.
For more information or questions, please contact the Development Department at 937-778-2049.