Piqua Commission OKs S. Wayne St. demo project


By Jill Summerville

For Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission approved legislation to complete an abatement and demolition project at 130 S. Wayne St., as well as again tabled the ordinance on a proposed rental registration program, during its Sept. 5 meeting.

City Commission OK’d a resolution to authorize the city to enter into a contract with Running G Farms, a construction company in Patriot, Ohio, to complete the abatement and demolition project at 130 S. Wayne St. Development Manager Taylor Bowsher was present at the meeting to answer inquiries. Bowsher was accompanied by Director of Development Chris Schmiesing. The city of Piqua received a community development grant to complete the project in 2021, and six bids were received in 2023. Bowsher estimated the cost of the project at $52,620, but said the grant would cover the entire cost. She clarified that the cost she was quoting was lower than the budget presented to the City Commission because the budget included many of the city of Piqua’s planned building and demolition projects.

Also during the meeting, the commission took the previously tabled rental registration program off the table, but then tabled the ordinance again. The commission’s vote on the ordinance was postponed, with Mayor Cindy Pearson’s agreement. Schmiesing said he would make sure the text on the website clarified that unless someone already had a code violation, that person would not be fined. Vice Mayor Kris Lee proposed the formation of a committee including renters and landlords, so the process of implementing this ordinance could be citizen led.

In other business, the Piqua City Commission also approved a resolution for the approval of a purchase order to buy a John Deere 614M cab tractor and a Diamond 25-inch-boom mower. The current mower, used to maintain right of way, dig ditches, and clear embankments and bike trails, was purchased in 2001. The new John Deere should have a longer reach capacity, said Bowsher, making the completion of all projects more efficient. If Koenig Equipment Inc. and Kalida Truck Equipment Inc. are awarded the purchase order, the price will include a 5% contingency and the mower will be delivered in 2024. Public Works Director Brian Brookhart said the bidding was handled according to the rules of Ohio’s competitive bid process.

During the public comments portion of the meeting, Maplewood Drive resident Jeff Grimes claimed the city of Piqua had transferred ownership of lot N44-00-735 to the Piqua Improvement Coalition for $7,600 on May 18, 2022. He said the city then gave away the lot, which had been someone’s home.

Grimes said, “You work for us. You’re not working for us. You’re just, you’re not listening to us. We have these town hall meetings all worked out. I thought we were working on something too.”

Schmiesing contradicted this claim, saying the property owner had owed back taxes.

“The county sold the property to the city for $1. The city of Piqua never paid $7,600 for the property,” he said.

In the city manager’s report, Paul Oberdofer announced the city’ Municipal Government Complex’s (MGC) hours are to change starting Sept. 11. The MGC will now be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

During the commissioners’ report, Lee encouraged interested members of the public to attend the listening sessions for the rental registration program. City Commissioner Kazy Hints implored people to drive carefully around school buses to avoid causing a crash like the fatal crash that occurred in Springfield on the first day of school. City Commissioner Jim Vetter thanked the Piqua Fire Department for helping his wife. Pearson honored Hartzell Propeller for being named by Forbes Magazine, as one of its 2023 list of America’s best small employers.

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