Lockland Receives Hamilton County Mini-Grant
The Lockland Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) was recently awarded a $20,000 Hamilton County Mini-Planning Grant to aid in the first phase of efforts to create a new vision and redevelop the Wyoming Avenue Business District. Wyoming Avenue runs through the center of Lockland and serves as the East-West connection from Reading Road in the City of Reading to Springfield Pike in the City of Wyoming. The revitalization will be divided into three phases:
Phase One (Fall 2016): The CIC will seek community input at several public meetings and through a mailed survey. Using community feedback, site plans will be created by consultants for the former Stearns and Foster industrial site in the center of the Wyoming Avenue Business District. A portion of this site is currently owned by Lockland. Students from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) will work on integrating design and public art into the Lockland business districts along Wyoming Avenue.
Phase Two (Spring 2017): Architectural renderings for feasible development in several key areas of the Village will be created. Funding for Phase Two was requested from Duke Energy’s Urban Revitalization Program.
Phase Three (Summer 2017): The CIC will focus on implementing the suggestions from Phase One and Two. This will likely include works of public art, signage, wayfinding, streetscaping, lighting, improvement of public properties and public events.
Lockland contracts economic development services with HCDC. Dan Ferguson, Senior Development Specialist, helped Lockland apply for the grant and will work with Planning & Development to help the village with the process.
Mike Lemon Discusses HCDC’s Economic Development Role in Columbia Township
Mike Lemon, a 30-year public service veteran and Columbia Township Administrator, sat down with HCDC to discuss the organization’s role in the economic development of Columbia Township. Lemon, a former HCDC Board Member from 2003-2012, first connected with HCDC as Mayor of Mariemont. He worked with HCDC President & CEO David Main to revitalize Mariemont’s business district and so turned to HCDC as Columbia Township Administrator to help with long-term economic development planning. “Our small staff didn’t have the time to spend on economic development. Knowing HCDC’s program and successes, I approached the organization about doing a contract with Columbia Township,” he says.
Lemon has worked with HCDC’s Senior Development Specialist, Barry Strum, for five years through a community contract with HCDC. Strum identifies available real estate and tracks down ownership/lease information that is routinely updated. He also works continuously to transition the Township from a strictly retail area to a more mixed use area.
Specifically, Strum worked with Columbia Township to repurpose an old K-Mart site. He helped the Township join the Hamilton County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) to purchase the site from the owner and sell it to belting and transmission products supplier, CBT. In addition, Strum helped the Township with Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for the project. CBT is a multimillion dollar business that can stimulate the community and attract more diverse businesses. The company is bringing 120 jobs to the region. “HCDC was very instrumental in this project,” says Lemon. “In addition, HCDC is indispensible in staying on top of what’s going on in the business district, Hamilton County, and the region, and helping us define and refine its future.”
HCDC Partners with Hamilton County Planning & Development on Sept. 15th Community Development Seminar
HCDC, Inc. and the Hamilton County Planning & Development Department will discuss a new fund to assist CDBG-eligible communities with Economic Development as well as other available programs.
When: Thursday, 9-15-16
Registration and Breakfast: 8:30-9:00 am
Program: 9:00 am-11:00 am
Where: HCDC, Conference Room 160
HCDC Small Business Coaching Spotlight: Avon Home Improvement
Avon Home Improvement‘s owner J.D. Sandipher is a general contractor, master carpenter, and strong proponent for the African-American Community in Cincinnati. He met HCDC Business Coach Bob Pickford through WEB Ventures LLC, a management consultant that provides diversity and economic inclusion services in Cincinnati’s Uptown Community. Avon specializes in the renovation of older homes to replicate the original character and integrity of the home. “When I look at a house, it speaks to the necessary design to create a seamless connection between old and new,” says Sandipher. The average age of a house Avon renovates is 80 years old.
Avon’s clients will tell you that J.D. works to achieve their vision and has a unique ability to develop understanding and communication throughout the renovation process. JD started Avon Home Improvement more than 20 years ago, and has primarily built it by word-of-mouth referrals. He says one of the keys to success is having loyal subcontractors that understand and execute his expected level of craftsmanship. Another key is having relationships with suppliers for resources/materials that can’t be found at Lowe’s or Home Depot.
Coach Pickford has been meeting with Sandipher for a number of months. “Mr. Pickford is helping bring a level of awareness to developing and reading my financial status, how to move more into my target market, and how to create a sustainable business. I would like to consider myself capable, intelligent, and business-oriented, but you don’t know what you don’t know and ignorance can be costly,” says Sandipher.