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Dayton business close to buying 888 Dayton Street

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Yellow Springs moved closer to welcoming a major new business into the community on Monday night when Village Council unanimously passed a resolution that approves a 10-year tax break for Dayton Mailing Services, which plans to purchase the building at 888 Dayton Street, the former home of Antioch Publishing, and move its growing business from Dayton to Yellow Springs.

“We’re incredibly excited” about the potential move, Village Council President Karen Wintrow said at the meeting.

Dayton Mailing Services owner Christine Soward, who attended the meeting, also expressed her enthusiasm about the move. The firm was started by her father in 1984, and since she purchased it 10 years ago, the company has doubled its business due to a focus on technology, she said.

“With our growth in the traditional print and the digital print business, we feel we’re a natural fit for Yellow Springs,” she said.

The closing on the sale could take place by the end of the year, according to Greene County Department of Development Director Pete Williams.

“We feel very close to the end,” Williams said on Tuesday.

The Greene County Commissioners also need to give their approval to the Enterprise Zone request, and are expected to do so at their Dec. 29 meeting, Williams said. After that approval is received, the Village, the Commissioners and the DMS owners will sign final papers.

Currently housed in a multi-story building on Keowee Street in Dayton, the company, which employs 74 workers currently, sought a single-story site that offers more space for its expanding business, Soward said. And not only the physical site but the history of the Dayton Street building as former home of Antioch Publishing added to its appeal, she said.

“If you were in the printing industry, Antioch Publishing was the standard. It was the place to work,” she said.

An additional factor in the building’s appeal is the safety of the Yellow Springs community, according to Soward. The company’s workers, mainly women, work all three shifts, and the site offers “a safe place for our staff. That’s important to me.”

Recently, the company bussed its employees to Yellow Springs to view the building and the community.
“Everyone was excited. It’s a beautiful facility,” she said, adding, “It’s a struggle looking for a new home. But you know it when you find it.”

The Dayton printing business also agreed to hire an additional 16 employees within two years as part of the Enterprise Zone agreement with the Village. The Enterprise Zone program, a state program that offers tax breaks for businesses moving into a community, will cut property taxes by 75 percent on any improvements to the property, according to Williams. Because the business plans to add $1.5 million in improvements to the site, the additional property tax of $40,000 would be cut by three quarters to $10,000 for Village coffers for the first 10 years after improvements are made. However, that $10,000 would be added to the building’s current $20,000 in property taxes to the Village and the Village would receive the total amount of $40,000 in additional property tax after the Enterprise Zone expires in 10 years. The Village will also receive income tax from all DMS workers.

Earlier this month, the Greene County Community Improvement corporation approved a $50,000 grant to DMS to assist in its move and upgrade of facilities, according to Williams.

In an earlier presentation to Council, Williams had stated that the company plans to add 30 new employees in all in the next three years. He also stated that the average wage of a DMS worker currently is about $31,000, and the jobs are mainly production, but more sales, marketing and design positions will be added in its next stage of growth.

In response to a question on Monday night, Soward said the company has no plans to displace the current businesses that occupy the building, although some modifications in space may be necessary. The building currently houses Community Physicians, Yellow Springs Primary Care, BrickForge, Laurelei Books and eHealth Data Solutions. Currently, the building is owned by Yellow Springs LLC, a group of California investors that bought the property in 2013.

In other Council business:
• Council members did not vote, but voiced approval, for an Energy Board recommendation that the Village seek bids for a solar installation on the Glass Farm. The installation would be sited on five to 10 acres of the farm and would provide one to two megawatts of solar power, with the potential that some of that power would come from solar panels owned by community members. If completed, the project would make the Village energy portfolio about 90 percent renewable energy, according to a report from the Energy Board, which also stated the project is now doable due to the work of Manager Patti Bates, Electric Consultant John Courtney and Electric Crew Head Johnnie Burns.

Wintrow raised a concern that the Glass Farm, which she sees as the Village’s best hope for more housing, is being “carved up” by smaller projects, including the current retention pond and natural area on eight acres. Wintrow said she will support the solar project because she believes the community favors it, but doesn’t want to see the Glass Farm become less attractive to potential developers because the area is too small.

However, the Glass Farm has a total of 44 acres, which even after the solar project and retention pond area, leaves about 25 acres for other development, according to Marianne MacQueen.
Village staff will bring a resolution to Council on the project soon.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution that authorizes Manager Bates to enter into negotiations with Shook Construction and Jones and Henry Engineers to design and build the Village’s proposed new water plant. The team of firms was one of two finalists for the job, and received the most points in an evaluation process, according to Bates.

• Council unanimously approved a resolution thanking outgoing Council member Lori Askeland for her eight years of service to the community. The resolution recognized the “energy, compassion and dedication” that Askeland brought to the job, and her “thoughtful and informed approach to sensitive topics.” In response, Askeland thanked Council and the community, reading a letter of thanks in which she asked villagers to appreciate the practice of democracy in Yellow Springs, which she described as “a rare and precious thing.”

• Following a review of Clerk of Council Judy Kintner in executive session, Wintrow reported that the review was highly positive and that Council is very pleased with Kintner’s work.

• Council member Marianne MacQueen reported that she is moving ahead with forming a group to address the problem of drug addiction in Yellow Springs, and asked that anyone interested in serving in such a group should contact her.

• Council unanimously approved the second reading of an ordinance that extends Yellow Springs police powers to Village-owned land outside Village limits, which are Ellis Park, the Sutton Farm and the water plant.

• Council unanimously approved an ordinance that raises the discretionary spending limit of the Village manager to $30,000 from its current limit of $15,000.

• Before the meeting, Council met in executive session for the purpose of the clerk’s annual review and to discuss potential litigation and for matters required to be kept confidential as part of an ongoing investigation

Council’s next regular meeting is Monday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m. in Council chambers.


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Dayton business close to buying 888 Dayton Street

by Diane Chiddister