Greene County could fund ‘game changing’ projects in Sugarcreek Twp., Bellbrook and Xenia

Three Greene County communities have requested funding from the county to make or study future improvements on roadways and buildings.

Greene County commissioners at the beginning of the year approved a new municipal grant program called the Greene County Community Investment Program. The grant program will give $750,000 annually to Greene County cities, villages and townships. This grant program is designed to provide financial assistance to jurisdictions for the development of sites and infrastructure designed to attract and sustain small businesses. The county’s goal with these funds is to encourage future economic development.

Commissioners will consider grants to go to Sugarcreek Twp., Bellbrook and Xenia.

“Each one of these projects has the potential to be a game changer in each of these communities,” said Eric Henry, director of the Greene County Development Department.

Sugarcreek Twp. has requested $100,000 for a feasibility study for Interstate 675 and Wilmington Pike improvements, Henry said.

Sugarcreek Twp. Administrator and Director of Development Barry Tiffany said the township is asking for funds to help fund the feasibility study because they are trying to plan for the next 20 years worth of improvements. Montgomery County and Centerville are also involved in this project.

“With so many different jurisdictions involved, this gets us a plan that we can all agree on,” Tiffany said.

The feasibility study would direct all the different municipalities involved on what projects need to be done, when they need to be done and how much they would cost. The I-675 and Wilmington Pike corridor need work to decrease traffic and car crashes in the area. Tiffany said the township’s main interest in fixing the corridor is making sure residents can get where they need to go safely and in a timely manner, which he said is not the case today.

The township is under contract with LJB and will move forward with the feasibility study regardless of county funding.

“We had hoped that the county would see the value in this project and become a partner in this basically,” Tiffany said.

Other aspects of this project are going through the Ohio Department of Transportation’s TRAC process right now for funding.

Bellbrook has asked the county for funds to complete a downtown streetscape project.

Bellbrook plans to contract with Kleingers Group to do a downtown streetscape design, focusing mostly on Franklin and Main streets, and has asked the county for a little less than $30,000 to help pay for the contract. Kleingers Group bid the streetscape project at about $35,000.

Bellbrook City Manager Melissa Dodd said the streetscape design should take six months. The project includes a public input phase.

The city is looking to create “vibrant, welcoming public spaces” and to enhance walkability and connectivity from residential neighborhoods to the downtown area. Dodd hopes to improve sidewalks and crosswalks downtown, too.

Xenia is seeking for state and Greene County funding to rehabilitate the building on West Third Street. Xenia applied to get $200,000 from the county for the Eavey project.

The Eavey project is also actively seeking grant funding including a JobsOhio Vibrant Communities grant for $1.9 million and state and federal historic tax credits for about $804,000. Getting the Greene County Community Investment grant would help with these other grant applications, city staff said.

Xenia City Council in March approved for an application for this project to be made to the county program. County funds are also dependent on support from those state agencies, Henry said.

Work to be done on the building includes brick rehabilitation, roof replacement, new windows and doors and fixing the electrical and plumbing systems.

The Eavey building is nearly 90,000 square feet. It has been completely vacant for about 10 years and mostly vacant for decades before then. The Eavey Building was built in 1908 and served as a wholesale grocery warehouse for Eavey and Co. It was purchased at an auction in May 2016, by Jennifer Dunn and her husband.

“Although it’s in its early planning stages, it would be instrumental to the revitalization of downtown,” Ryan Baker, Xenia’s community development coordinator told the Dayton Daily News.

The county had been automatically granting funds to municipalities based on 2010 Census data and municipalities would report back on how they spent the money. This program existed for about two years. Funds were redirected at the beginning of 2021 into a new municipal grant program, called the Greene County Community Investment Program. Greene County communities can apply for the $750,000 allotment on a rolling basis.

If all three projects are approved by commissioners, there will be about $420,000 left for other municipalities to apply for, Henry said.

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