Piqua’s State of the City brings positive news for residents


By Kathleen Leese

For Miami Valley Today

PIQUA — Piqua’s Biannual State of the City address came with lots of positive news for residents and also addressed new projects that are on the horizon as the city moves into the next few years during an address held Thursday, June 6, at Fort Piqua Plaza.

Following a welcome and the Pledge of Allegiance led by Mayor Kris Lee and the invocation by Pastor David Fishback of Piqua Christian Church, City Manager Paul Oberdorfer took the podium to share, through a series of slides, the updates, projects and other news happening in the city of Piqua. Oberdorfer began by first acknowledging the hard work of the 192 employees serving the city, whom he called, “dedicated public servants (who) take pride in providing essential services.”

One of the focal points of Oberdorfer’s address was the Lock 9 project.

“We’re a river community,” he said, adding the city wants to “maximize the use of the river.”

He shared images of the Lock 9 area before the project began and now as it nears completion. Oberdorfer said it is “more of a statement piece” and noted two bathrooms have been added to the project at no additional cost. There will also be a splash pad at Lock 9 Park for the kids to enjoy while the parents relax nearby.

Oberdorfer said there will be apartments built across the street from the Lock 9 area, which are set to get underway this year. Zolo Lofts and Market will also start construction this year and added that the Town and Country Furniture location may also play a role in downtown renovation. There is also interest in the Poling Building.

Other growth in the city continues to occur at The Pointe at Indian Ridge and Arrowhead Subdivision, Oberdorfer said.

Looking at other projects in the city, Oberdorfer said the Piqua Center is “another great development,” and added that there is big news coming regarding the former Red Roof Inn area off of US Route 36. He said the city wants to bring a major hotel chain and restaurants to that area following demolition of that site, which is all waiting on finalization.

Through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grant, the city of Piqua has been able to demolish eight condemned structures in the city at a cost of $139,198. Additionally, through the Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) program, there have been four private homes which have been able to complete repairs that were necessary. Oberdorfer said there are currently 50 condemned properties in Piqua; 171 cases are in progress.

Oberdorfer explained that getting information to city residents was a challenge when he first came to Piqua.

“We did a really bad job of getting our information out,” he said, adding Michelle Perry, public information officer for the city, whom Oberdorfer said is “doing an outstanding job,” the city is now much more connected with its residents.

With 19 committees serving the city, Oberdorfer said it “allows the community to have their voice heard.” In addition, there have been Commission Town Hall meetings, Mayor and Commission Corner meetings, special interest groups, community events, special events and veteran banner and flag programs to bring residents together. The city took over the veterans banner program from the Piqua Chamber of Commerce. There has also been a focus on highlighting the Piqua Caldwell Historic District and other historic areas of the city.

Oberdorfer said the Piqua Police Department plays an important role in community relations as well as their other duties and he announced the department will get their first K-9 unit this year.

Another challenge he identified when he came to Piqua was “very out of date” information technology (IT). Piqua is updating IT and has been addressing network security. There have been 6,793 attempted security breaches avoided through the updates.

Speaking about the utility department, which handles 160,596 transactions per year, Oberdorfer said, “My phone no longer rings off the hook” with complaints since improvements have been made.

Oberdorfer addressed public safety, calling it “The most expensive service, but also the most critical.” In addition to a new K-9 for the police department, a new ladder truck for the Piqua Fire Department will further aid the department. The 2001 ladder truck is being purchased from Clearcreek District Fire Department and should provide the department with six to seven years of service until financing can be prepared to purchase another truck.

Oberdorfer provided an update on the Piqua Public Safety Regional Training Center, noting it will allow for technical and other training for safety personnel.

Oberdorfer discussed the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA), saying “using RITA, we are identified by the IRS” which makes it hard for residents “not to pay the city what you owe.” In 2023, the city collected $15,079,139 in taxes.

The public works department is another area Oberdorfer highlighted. He said their work with refuse collection “is critical” to the city as well as providing pavement maintenance for streets and trails.

On the recreational side, Echo Hills Golf Club has also shown signs of revitalization.

“The vibe is just incredible,” Oberdorfer said.

The golf club has shown a 600% increase in revenues with the improvements.

In addition to substantial investments in Piqua’s park programs, there have been many other areas addressed throughout the city including having a reliable infrastructure, capital improvements, the new Atomic City bridge, the new shelter at Pitsenbarger Park, the new salt barn, gas turbine control upgrades, substation 3 modernization, LED street light conversions, Main Street intersection improvements, downtown tree project, pavement preservation program, dome demolition, Safe Routes to School project, the water treatment facility maintenance building, manhole replacement program and other improvements.

Oberdorfer said “through the great work of our team” the city is moving forward.

Following his presentation, Oberdorfer told Miami Valley Today, “We’re finally in a place where the community can move forward. We’ve listened. I think we have the right leadership in place.”

Lee also said to Miami Valley Today, “There’s a lot of positive things going on in Piqua. Grab hold of that. Come to Piqua. I think we’ve got a good commission. Commissioners do a good job listening to citizens.”

The writer is a regular contributor to Miami Valley Today.

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