Centerville business growth efforts include new retail, restaurant and commercial developments

CENTERVILLE — Economic development is a key part of Centerville’s continued growth.

That’s why the city’s development department is engaged in several efforts, including an Uptown Action Plan and a revitalization of the community’s historic core, both of which have been “a major priority,” according to spokeswoman Kate Bostdorff.

The city completed a comprehensive visioning process for Uptown in 2019 with a focus group of more than a dozen stakeholders representing businesses, residents, government partners and community groups, Bostdorff said.

The Uptown Action Plan highlights six focus areas: improving walkability and reducing traffic congestion, improving parking, scheduling and organizing new events, focusing on business development, developing branding and increasing greenspace, she said.

“Right now, our development team is focusing on connecting the public parking areas. It requires getting each business owner to sign a lease agreement, so the process takes time and effort,” Bostdorff said.

The city also has made several strategic property purchases, she said.

Work has also begun on Cornerstone of Centerville South, a mixed-use development in its preliminary phase. In October, Centerville City Council approved dividing the project into three separate parcels — one 63-acre parcel between Clyo Road and Wilmington Pike and two smaller 3-acre and 0.8-acre parcels on the opposite side of Clyo Road.



The city also has two medical developments in the works. Centerville Place along Main Street will soon be home to the new Kettering Health building. Cincinnati Children’s will open Cincinnati Children’s Centerville to offer subspecialty medical care in the 6500 block of Clyo Road next March.

Also part of the economic development growth have been several new restaurants that have opened, such as Whit’s Frozen Custard, Rachel Bakes and Greek Street.

Manna, Agave & Rye, Five Guys and the Brunch Pub were announced to be opening in the city, but have not yet disclosed exact opening dates.

Bostdorff said attracting unique businesses – including restaurants – is “critical” to the vibrancy of the district.

“It’s also the reason the state created an entertainment district in Uptown, which expanded the number of liquor licenses available in this area,” she said.

The person who soon will be working to attract businesses will be someone who served in the same role for Montgomery County for more than two decades.

Erik Collins, who starts with Centerville as development director in January, since 1999 has led the day-to-day functions of building regulations, community development, planning and economic development as the county’s director of Community and Economic Development.

Collins, in his position with Centerville, will be paid an annual salary of $134,348.

His predecessor, Michael Norton-Smith, who was hired in 2019, left the position Oct. 21 to become city manager of Madeira, a Cincinnati suburb.

Collins made a career of “exceptional service, developing millions of square feet of manufacturing, e-commerce, retail and service space and crafting an internationally-recognized business retention programs with proven success,” the city said in a release.

“Bringing Erik Collins to the Centerville staff is a huge victory, not only for his deep roots in economic development, but also because his values align with the city,” City Manager Wayne Davis said in a statement. “He is focused on making communities stronger by supporting business owners and incentivizing growth.”

Collins, who resides in neighboring Washington Twp., helped to develop the county’s BusinessFirst! retention and expansion program, which since 2001 has been implemented in 30 communities and counts more than 10,000 local companies visited and approximately 100 regional resource partners. The project to revitalize Uptown in Centerville, for example, was launched as the result of a BusinessFirst! business walk, a tool to create conversations between business owners and local leaders, city officials said.

Collins also serves in several board and leadership roles, including the Entrepreneurs’ Center (Board of Directors), Greater Dayton Foreign Trade Zone (chair, Board of Directors) former Board Member I-70/75 Development Association (past president), the Dayton/Montgomery County Port Authority and the Ohio Economic Development Association (past board member).

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