Centerville seeks outside funding for Uptown, Stubbs, Benham’s Grove

Centerville is  hiring a firm to develop a long-term plan for Benham’s Grove, the historic North Main Street site located on land settled more than 200 years ago. FILE
Caption
Centerville is hiring a firm to develop a long-term plan for Benham’s Grove, the historic North Main Street site located on land settled more than 200 years ago. FILE

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

CENTERVILLE — City officials want the Uptown plan, Benham’s Grove and Stubbs Park to become regional priorities for state or federal funding.

Centerville is also hiring a firm to develop a long-term plan for Benham’s Grove, the historic North Main Street event site located on land settled more than 200 years ago.

The city is submitting the projects to the region’s Priority Development and Advocacy Committee process (PDAC), which is overseen by the Dayton Development Coalition. That panel establishes a list of priority projects to seek state and federal funding for — projects that benefit the economic development, health, education or quality of life in the region, according to the DDC.

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The Uptown plan is a multi-year phased project to improve access, parking, business growth, green space and entertainment in the center of town.

The city is in the process of revising the $11.4 million Uptown plan’s Phase I, which the PDAC application will target.

Phase I’s “assessment is ongoing and we hope to have a recommendation before the end of this year,” Centerville Development Director Michael Norton-Smith said last week.

Officials want Uptown’s initial work to put greater focus on parking and traffic while lessening the day-to-day impact on existing businesses, he said.

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The city does not yet have any firm amounts of the funds sought for each project, officials said.

Centerville applied for $850,000 in PDAC funds for Stubbs Park and was awarded $800,000 late last year for work on part of its $3.6 million master plan. The state money will fund upgrades that include the 60-acre park’s amphitheater, restrooms and parking.

But the awarding of that Stubbs funding is not a common timeline for the process, said Norton-Smith.

“We were fortunate with the Stubbs project,” he said. “But on an annual basis there is no guarantee that a project ... would receive any funding.”

Priority projects would obtain funding when it is available through the state capital or federal budgets, Norton-Smith added.

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The city is assessing specific improvements for Benham’s Grove, said Kate Bostdorff, Centerville communications director.

“Any time you’re dealing with a structure that is historic like that, you want to be very diligent about preservation, but also make investments that make sense,” Bostdorff said.

The city last week approved a measure to contract with LWC Inc. of Dayton for $87,335 for a Benham’s Grove master plan.

The city acquired the land in 1991 and renovated its facilities, which opened the following year as a community gathering place for events ranging from weddings to art shows.

Among its features are the Gerber House, cottage, barn and gazebo, according to its website.

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