CLAYTON — The Northmont Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual dinner Thursday at the Meadowbrook at Clayton.
The event included updates of events and projects taking place in Clayton, Englewood, the Miami Valley Career Technology Center, Northmont City Schools and at Sinclair Community College. Joshua Tovey with the office of Ohio Secretary of State John Husted also attended.
“Business is so vital to our state and the secretary of state’s office is where you start your business, and so we like to be involved and hear what is going on with all of the businesses in the state,” Tovey said.
Tovey will be making a presentation at the May 18 PINGS (Professional In Networking Grow Success) luncheon at Company 7 Barbecue. He will discuss what the secretary of state’s office does.
Clayton City Manager Rick Rose and Director of Development Jack Kuntz discussed various items taking place in the city. Rose discussed Clayton’s three year road improvement program that started last year.
“We sold bonds totaling $6 million to fund three years’ worth of road improvement. This is the biggest year for the project,” Rose said.
Last year the city began replacing curbs and gutters, a project that is still taking place. The city has spent $2.9 million this year towards the road improvement project.
“If you look at our residential streets you will see a lot of work going on involving curb and gutter work,” Rose stated. “We are trying to catch up with that. The city has never had a curb and gutter program but we have been getting a lot of compliments from our residents. Obviously, a lot of people don’t necessarily like to pay for curb and gutter but at the same time those that are having the work done realize what a difference it is making.”
Rose presented before and after photos of work that has taken place.
He also discussed things taking place with the police department including officers now being equipped with Narcan kits to revive overdose victims. Within two weeks of receiving the kits an officer had to use Narcan to revive a victim. The fire department added three full-time career firefighters, the first time the department has added full-time personnel since 2007. The move was needed as the pool of part-time personnel has shrunk.
Kuntz discussed business development such as the addition of the new Bone and Joint Surgeons office on State Route 48. He also discussed the city’s updated Land Use Master Plan, which was last addressed in 1998-1999.
“It was something that we needed to undertake,” Kuntz said. “We received a grant from the Montgomery County Land Bank for the majority of the funding for that project.”
He also noted that the city sought input from residents and business owners what they wanted for the future of the city. Kuntz also talked about the addition of full-time Code Enforcement Officer Darryl Swafford and his work to bring properties into compliance with city code. Due to the proactive enforcement the city has been able to demolish four properties and is working on having more blighted properties removed.
Englewood Development Director William Singer talked about many new businesses that have come to town. The Kettering Medical Center expanded by 12,000 square feet next to the Kleptz YMCA. Upgrades at the Meijer property were discussed as well the $100 million upgrade to the Interstate 70 and N. Main Street interchange.
The city also saw the addition of several new businesses such as Panera Bread, AT&T, Starbucks, Rapid Fired Pizza all recently opened and a MOD Pizza location is close to opening.
The redevelopment of old Englewood Truck site is now the Englewood Gateway shopping center and features a new Aldi store, Dollar Tree, Petco and outparcels featuring Rapid Fried Pizza, Kay Jewelers and Firehouse Subs, and Sports Clips in one building.
A Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen will also be opening in the Englewood Gateway shopping center on the remaining out lot closest to Main Street.
“I cannot get a Chick-Fil-A, but at least I get a Popeyes, which is better,” Singer quipped. “Domino’s Pizza should open in about two weeks.”
Domino’s bought and renovated the former Kentucky Fried Chicken site along State Route 48. Storybrooke Café recently opened a 556 S. Main St. and is a bookstore café that lets you experience your storybook ending how you want to.
“It is a wonderful place featuring coffee and some niche kind of things if you have little ones, they have story times and things of that nature,” Singer noted.
He also discussed city projects coming up like a potential water softening facility. Engineering and design of the facility is set to begin soon with possible construction taking place next year. The Interstate 70 project is complete but ODOT has found a few minor details it is addressing near the Englewood exit involving an expansion joint that was a little bit off and is being upgraded to meet ODOT’s standards.
“We are going to do a huge landscaping project at the I-70 / Main Street interchange,” Singer noted. “If you remember what it used to look like, it was gorgeous, so we are going to do that again. We have hired a landscape architect and we have a design in place and we are going through ODOT now to obtain permits. We are going to landscape that with stone, lights and all kinds of cool stuff. That project will start later this summer.”
He also discussed upgrades to the restrooms at Centennial Park and to the water feature. The pond will be dredged out and new trees planted to replace all of the ash trees that had to be removed.
“Main Street will be resurfaced,” Singed said. “This is a project that is multijurisdictional. It goes from Sweet Potato Ridge Road all the way down to Interstate 70. It will be done sometime after July 1. The city of Clayton, the city of Englewood and the city of Union all worked together to get a grant. The state of Ohio will pay for 80 percent, the local cities 20 percent and on that 20 percent we got another grant to pay for half. It is a $1.9 million dollar project to resurface all of Main Street.”
The Englewood Inn was recently demolished after a two year court battle and was paid for by the owner. The site could be redeveloped but it is up to owner and the city has not seen any plans for what might be done there. The city is also in the same process with the Red Carpet Inn, which has been cited and is now moving into the court of appeals. The city hopes to have that torn down as well.
Next to speak was Nick Weldy, superintendent of Miami Valley Career Technology Center. He discussed a bond issue that will be on the May 2 ballot in all of the 27 partner school districts across nine counties to fund a remodel, rebuild and expansion of the MVCTC’s current facilities. The state will fund approximately 47 percent of the co-fundable expenses.
The MVCTC bond will:
• Improve safety for students
• Update almost 50-year-old buildings and utility infrastructure
• Provide state-of-the-art labs, technology and equipment
• Permit more students to obtain training in a career technical field
Voters will need to provide support equal to $4.17 per month (1.43 mils) based on a home with an assessed value of $100,000.
“We are at the 50-year point where we are reaching the end of the useful life of a lot of our infrastructure, so we are starting to have roof failure, mechanical issues, plumbing and we don’t have the funds to address all of those issues,” Weldy said.
The Ohio Schools Facilities Commission approached the MVCTC and offered to fund 47 percent of the project. The campus is open six days a week, 16 hours a day providing training somewhere on campus to a variety of students. The space MVCTC operates in is approximately 60 percent of what is needed. Some of the classrooms are half the size of what the Ohio School Facilities Commission requires.
The MVCTC has not requested any separate facility money since it was built in the years 1968 to 1970. The bond would provide for needed remodeling of aging building and utility infrastructure and would enable expanded enrollment capacity to accommodate hundreds of additional students every year.
Northmont Superintendent Tony Thomas discussed things taking place in the school district.
“Let me start by saying that this is a wonderful community and because of Northmont’s ties to our local communities is why our school system is so successful,” Thomas said. “We have a great relationship with all of the communities that make up Northmont and we are appreciative of those communities as well as the businesses and the chamber that helps it work.”
Thomas said that at the end of the day Northmont’s goal is to make sure its students are moving forward.
“We want to make sure that they are in a position to maximize their potential and to be productive, responsible citizens,” Thomas said. “We have plenty of evidence that says that is exactly what we are doing.”
The district received an award showing that Northmont ranks among the top eight percent of school districts in the state for student growth. Northmont achieved this rating in every sub group that the state measures. Students enrolled in advanced placement courses scored higher than most students in the state and the district improved its score since last year and has expanded its offerings to rank in the top five percent in advanced placement.
“We would like to thank this community for setting high expectations for us,” he said. “Without those high expectations we wouldn’t be as successful as we are.”
He detailed many other accomplishments and the personnel who help make it happen.
Tyrone Curtis of Sinclair Community College was the last speaker from the Englewood Learning Center site, which has been in operation 10 years as of May 2016. He detailed all of the course offerings that enable students to transfer their credits to a four-year college.
“We have advisors that go around to the various high schools once or twice a week for about four hours a day to work with juniors and seniors to prepare them for college,” Curtis said. “The advisors get those students on track to enter college and make sure they are prepared.”
Sinclair also offers video conferencing projecting classes to other satellite learning centers while the actual class is being taught at the Englewood site. Students at the other sites can interact via this technology. Sinclair also offers college classes for students from seventh grade through 12th grade that can enable students to receive a degree before they graduate from high school.
He also discussed advantages the learning center offers such as obtaining a business administration degree which can transfer to a four year college.
The evening concluded with Kurt Klein of Englewood Florist & Gift Shoppe passing the baton to Edwin Nyberg of Gudorf Law Group as the new board chair for the Northmont Area Chamber of Commerce.