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Village Council — Home, Inc. and Township partner

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In the latest bid to acquire the former Wright State Physicians Clinic property on Xenia Avenue, Yellow Springs Home, Inc. and Miami Township are partnering on a joint venture to site both affordable senior housing and a new fire station in town. Village Council approved a letter of support at its special meeting Monday, July 20, for this effort to use the property for the dual purposes.

“There was both a figurative and literal hole left when the clinic was closed, so we’re more than pleased to know that the site is being considered for projects that are so important to this community,” Council President Karen Wintrow stated in the letter.

The preliminary conceptual plans for the property, which are entirely contingent on gaining control of the land, include a 30–40-unit senior apartment building situated on the east side (back) of the property across from Friends Care Community, according to Yellow Springs, Home, Inc. Director Emily Seibel. On the west side of the property, closer to Xenia Avenue, the Township is aiming for a 15,000-square-foot fire house with bays that fit the trucks and tankers, safe overnight sleeping acommodations, and ample space for the fire and EMS training and activities that serve the 5,000 residents of Yellow Springs and Miami Township. The building will also serve as the Township administration building, housing the board of Trustees, fiscal officer and zoning.

Wright State leaders have expressed interest in working with the community partners to promote both affordable housing and a fire station, which they see as a “value add” for the village, Seibel said during the meeting.

Miami Township made its last bid for the clinic property in 2014, but the price was too high for the Township alone. Now, Home, Inc. hopes to apply for low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency to finance the senior housing, which the local agency and a senior housing working group of local citizens have identified as a community need. The next round of LIHTC applications are due in February 2016.

As a combined force, Seibel is hopeful that Home, Inc. and Miami Township are better positioned to negotiate on the land.

“We’re hopeful that between our partnership and increased resources, we’ll be able to move forward,” Seibel said in an interview last week.

According to a spokesperson at the university, who asked not to be named because the details are not yet finalized, the university was pleased to see Village Council’s support for the development of the property and is “certainly looking foward to working with the groups as they continue to move forward with the plan.”

In other Council business:

• Village Manager Patti Bates announced that Assistant Village Manager John Yung is leaving his post to accept an urban planning job with a private firm in Cincinnati. He plans to stay with the Village until Labor Day.

Yung was hired with the Village in December 2014. He had accepted an exchange opportunity with the International City/County Management Association to work with city planners in Malaysia, where he will be for several weeks in early August.

• The Village approved a two-year solid waste management contract with Rumpke, Inc., which was the only firm to bid on the Village’s call for proposals. The contract includes a slight rate increase from the current range of $10.40–12.40 per month to $11.02–13.14 per month, depending on the service tier, with little to no change in trash service. The contract also includes public waste management (downtown and public parks) at no cost. The service formerly cost the Village $62 per month. Rumpke’s residential rates are scheduled to increase $.40 each year beginning 2017, but the Village will have the option of continuing the contract at that point. Bates drafted the contract with the help of Greene County Solid Waste District Manager Dana Storts.

• Council approved a 1 percent cost of living increase for Village employees, in addition to the 1 percent raise approved in January. The increase was made possible by a stabilized budget, aided by wide budget cuts across all departments.

• Council approved a resolution to divest the Village power portfolio of the Omega JV 2 natural gas plant for an opportunity to sign on to renewable power sources in the future. In the short-term, purchasing replacement power on the open market would cost the same, and in the long-term allow the Village to sign up with American Municipal Power, Inc.’s Napolean solar project or other solar or wind power production facilities. The Village Energy Board supported the resolution.

• For the water plant construction project, Council approved the application for a 0 percent interest Ohio Public Works Commission loan in the amount of $1,300,000. The total estimated cost of the project is $3.7 million.

• Council approved a contract with Susan Gartner as the station manager of Channel Five, the Village’s community access cable channel. The contract commits to $15 per hour for 20 hours a week. Council thanked former station manager Paul Abendroth for his volunteer service at the station since 2000.

• In response to an appeal Council had made to the Ohio House to restore local government funds, 42nd District Representative Niraj Antani wrote that he too opposed the redirection of funds but was only able to retain $2 million of the proposed $300 million from redirection to things such as state law enforcement. Council agreed to communicate same with the local representative Rick Perales.

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