Public weighs in Piqua Nicklin Ave. project

PIQUA – The prospective Nicklin Avenue project to convert the site of the former Wilder Junior High School in Piqua into housing structures was a topic of discussion during the Piqua City Commissioners meeting on Tuesday evening.

When the floor was opened for public comments, several Piqua residents spoke about the Nicklin Avenue project.

Mark Mullen, of Nicklin Avenue, spoke about a previous meeting with Mayor Cindy Pearson and Commissioner Chris Grissom for the Nicklin Avenue project.

Grissom said, “It sounded like people wanted answers. We’re putting together some information so I can distribute it to you so that we’re all on the same page and to get you guys some answers.”

Ian Hubbard, of Walker Street, said, “You (he pointed to the commission) brought a paper with you from the development department with the number of houses, 48, on one city block in that neighborhood. That is too many. There’s a school a block away. There are cars lining that area. Put another 100 or so on one block, one block away from that school. That’s dangerous.”

He went on to discuss the issues of property values if new houses are built next door.

Grissom addressed the number of houses, saying, “I can tell you that it’s not 48. That’s why I want to get this information out to you guys.”

Tyler Fonzi, of Nicklin Avenue, said, “It was brought up that those 48 homes were to be marketed at young professionals. I would like to personally say that I, as a 24-year-young professional, I would never, ever move into any of those homes for the price that was listed around $200,000.”

Several other individuals encouraged the commissioners to think about parking and space availability when it comes to the project.

In other business, the Piqua City Commissioners awarded the Lock 9 wall improvement contract to Double Jay Construction Inc.

The cost of this contract is budgeted to be $90,000 that contains a contingency of $8,122. The scope of work involves the “installation of a retaining wall that will accommodate a grade change with the abutting property.” The abutting property is Crooked Handle Brewing Company which is undergoing renovations. In accordance with the city’s contract with the company, the Lock 9 Park must undergo renovations as well.

The entire renovation project will go out to bid in October with construction beginning in spring of 2023, according to Chris Schmiesing, director of community and economic development.

Another resolution authorized the rezoning of .31 acres from industrial to residential. The land is located on South Street and Commercial Street.

“The owner plans to continue to use the existing building as a printing shop, but would like to allow the newly subdivided lot to be sold,” the resolution stated. The commissioners approved the resolution.

Also Tuesday, City Manager Paul Oberdorfer gave his report, which included a reminder to citizens about the new website recently launched and to sign up for Piqua Alerts. He also gave an update on the resurfacing project on state Route 36. The project will wrap-up on Oct. 15.

The Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) transition was discussed next. Oberdorfer said letters have been sent out to residents regarding the transition for 2023. The tax department will be available throughout tax season by appointment to help. According to Oberdorfer, the tax process can be done online through RITA’s website following the 2023 tax season.

“The tax collections that we’ve not collected over the last eight years, which amount to a lot of money, they would increase those tax collections. They’re going to be very aggressive in their collections,” concluded Oberdorfer.

The commissioners thanked all the residents who came to the meeting to speak on the various topics for participating and voicing their concerns.