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In closed sessions over the last few months , the YSDC considered counter-offers to purchase Miami Township's soon-to-be-vacated fire station on Corry Street, to resell for economic development. The two parties have yet to agree to the terms of a sale. (Photo by Reilly Dixon)

Yellow Springs Development Corporation talks collaboration

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The Yellow Springs Development Corporation, or YSDC, heard a presentation from a potential community partner; established a temporary, forgivable, business loan fund; and spent time in two executive sessions discussing separate real estate matters at its monthly meeting Tuesday, May 5, conducted through the Zoom video conferencing site.

The recently formed local economic development group includes representatives from the Village, Township and YS School district’s governing bodies and administrations, as well as Antioch College, the Chamber of Commerce and Yellow Springs Community Foundation.

The noon meeting began with a presentation by villager Toni Dosik, director of the local nonprofit Livable/Equitable/Age Friendly Yellow Springs. The group’s purpose is “to build a community where people of all ages, races, incomes and abilities can thrive,” Dosik said.

She said her reason in coming to the economic development group was to encourage collaboration between the two entities, whose goals seemed aligned, and to share information about some of her organization’s efforts that could help inform the YSDC’s decision-making.

“We want our mutual work to be connected,” Dosik said.

Dosik said her group has identified eight “domains” to consider in pursuing its community-building efforts: 

  • outdoor space and buildings, 
  • transportation,
  • housing,
  • social participation,
  • respect and social inclusion,
  • civic participation and employment, 
  • communication and information, and 
  • community support and health services.

She explained that Yellow Springs’ designation as a Livable/Equitable/Age Friendly Community, one of more than 1,000 municipalities identified as such by AARP and the World Health Organization, opens a wider network of funding opportunities for local capital projects, programs and services.

She also told the YSDC that her group would be undertaking an intensive three-to-five year “community engagement, planning and action process” to identify resources, strengths and needs within the village. The nonprofit not only wants to work with the YSDC in that effort, but also feels that the results will be of value to future economic development planning.

“This is a significant moment in time,” she said, noting that as we get past the COVID-19 pandemic, the community will be redefining how we want to live and what we want the village to look like.

YSDC members agreed that at least two of its members will serve as “stakeholders” with the Livable Yellow Springs group — with those two identified as Marianne MacQueen and Karen Wintrow. YSDC President Lisa Abel also invited Dosik or another group representative to attend future YSDC meetings, noting, too, that the group’s meetings are public and all community members are welcome to attend.

In other business:

The group agreed to set aside $30,000 of the previously adopted revolving business loan fund for temporary, forgivable loans connected to staying in business amid the coronavirus crisis. The loans, specified for businesses within the village’s Central Business District, will be overseen by the Yellow Springs Credit Union.

Corrie Van Ausdal, who is one of Miami Township’s two representatives, said the action not only would help struggling local business, but also is an opportunity “for the community to get to know the YSDC as a generous and caring organization.”

After an approximately 30-minute executive session to discuss a possible agreement with Miami Township for the transfer of real estate to the YSDC for sale or development, specifically the fire station property on Corry Street, the group returned to an open forum and accepted a proposal for Township approval.

The contents of the proposal were not made public. Recusing themselves from the executive session and subsequent vote were Chamber of Commerce President Karen Wintrow, Township Trustee Don Hollister and Township representative Van Ausdal.

At a subsequent meeting of the Township Trustees on Monday, May 18, Hollister reported that the township had since made a counter-proposal, which is back in the YSDC’s hands.

The group also went into a second executive session to discuss a YSDC-facilitated grant request concerning discussions between Yellow Springs Schools and Antioch College in which college property is involved. The YSDC declined to make the grant letter public, but the News obtained a copy from the school district through a public records request.

According to the document, grant money is being sought to study and explore the possibilities of creating a preK–16 “Education District/Commons” on and/or adjacent to the Antioch campus involving potential partnerships between Yellow Spring Schools, the college, the Yellow Springs Community Children’s Center and Community Solutions’ Agraria project. The News will be following up further as discussions unfold.

Regular meetings of the YSDC are held on the first Tuesday of the month, beginning at noon. To participate, the Zoom login information is:

 
Meeting ID: 864 9258 7350
Password: 45387
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,86492587350#,,1#,45387# US (Germantown)
+13126266799,,86492587350#,,1#,45387# US (Chicago)

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