Piqua-Caldwell Historic District holds annual meeting


For the Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — The Piqua-Caldwell Historic District Association (PCHDA) hosted their first public annual meeting on Oct. 25 at the Fort Piqua Plaza in the General Ulysses S. Grant Room. It was scheduled to happen on several different dates in 2020, but due to COVID, it never materialized. On Monday, Oct. 25, there were approximately 25 guests from the neighborhood along with seven members of the board of official officers in attendance.

Presiding President Mary Frances Rodriguez opened the meeting with a welcome and introduction of the officers. She shared that PCHD was established in 1985 when the district boundaries were identified and registered with the National Trust of Historic Places; it was not until 2017 that the association was organized.

“We were definitely a grass roots start-up as this whole venture began with neighbors with like-minded intentions about restoration and preservation began to start talking over the hedges that lined their property lines or on the corner of the block. Then people began to stop and chat while out walking. First thing you know, we were gathering the troops at each other’s homes to discuss our projects and so on. We all agreed that Piqua is home to a plethora of beautiful architecture, and it was exciting to talk about how we could bring more attention to the district,” said Rodriguez.

It was December of 2017 when the group decided to start a Historic Holiday Tour to begin raising funds and start placing cast aluminum historic markers at individual properties. This would allow neighbors and visitors to understand who built the house and the date it was established. Since that time, PCHDA has placed 26 historic markers and plans to stop no time soon. Property owners within the district can purchase their own marker, or if they participate in the Holiday Tour, PCHDA provides the marker at no charge. During the meeting, Rodriguez went on to stress the importance of a stable and thriving historic district and the overall economic value it brings to the community.

The agenda included the organization’s five long-term goals:

• Promote awareness of the historic district and the vast variety of architecture within

• Work with the city to place street signs around the perimeter of the district

• Work with the city Manager and County Tax Commission to develop a Tax Abatement Program for active restorations

• Develop a phone app that would allow self-guided tours of the district

• Work together as neighbors to support and encourage continued restoration and preservation.

The meeting also included the election of the 2022-24 board of executive officers who will take office on Jan. 1, 2022 as follows:

• President, Mary Frances Rodriguez

• Vice President, Don Smith

• Treasurer, Lori Hedberg

• Secretary, Laura Schwein

• Corresponding Secretary, Sue Smith

• Co-Chairs of Marketing, Shelley and Chuck Black

• Co-Editors, Denise and Rick Klosterman

• Co-Fundraising Chairs, Melanie Walker and Charlotte Welbaum

After a 10-minute intermission, special guest Nolan Campbell, candidate for the Ward 3 Piqua City Commission seat, addressed the group to share his intentions if elected to office. Kris Lee, mayor and candidate for that seat, also invited but was unable to attend due to a previously engaged appointment.

The final guest speaker who addressed the group was City Manager Paul Oberdorfer who spoke briefly about the city’s focus on rental inspections (interior and exterior), ongoing improvements of the Lock 9 project and the city’s attention to improving city parks.

Before ending the meeting, the floor was opened for questions and answers.

“This meeting was the first among others to come, and I’m very pleased to see the enthusiasm displayed here tonight,” said Vice President Don Smith. The meeting was adjourned by Mary Frances Rodriguez.

The next scheduled public event for the PCHDA is the Historic Holiday Tour and Illuminate the Night taking place on Saturday, Dec. 11, from 5-8 p.m. Tickets will be $25 each and will go on sale very soon at Readmore’s Hallmark in Piqua or online through Eventbrite. Six properties along North Downing, West Ash and West Greene streets will be included and sure to please.

The PCHDA aspires to encourage restoration of historic properties in an effort to increase heritage tourism within downtown Piqua. To learn more about this 501(c)3 organization, please join the Piqua-Caldwell Historic District Association page on Facebook or write to PO Box 212, Piqua, OH 45356.

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