By Bethany J. Royer
PIQUA — Another game changer was announced at Tuesday’s commission meeting as city leaders and commissioners moved to executive session to discuss the purchase of properties for public purposes. Those properties or parcels, 117 E. Water St. and 111 S. Main St., were listed on the agenda under two resolutions for $48,000 and $50,000 that were adopted at the end of the meeting.
The purchase of these properties are significant given they will play a part into a planned transformation to the 26-acre Riverfront Mill District — the Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Project — that the city has steadily made progress towards.
The plan to take advantage of one of the city’s greatest asset the Great Miami River includes the area around the power plant further south on Main Street. One that has already seen some remediation that included environmental mitigation and demolition of the bag houses, ash silo, flues, bucket elevators, and stacks. Along with the removal of foundations, pump/screen houses, asphalt, and vegetation along the river, according to Gary Huff, city manager.
This progress is in thanks to a CORF (Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund) grant for the cleanup behind the plant with city leaders hoping to have the initial work completed by Memorial Day.
The power plant area will eventually be transformed into a waterfront park as the city continues to pursue grants to cover demolition and remediation of the power plant, which was built in the 1930s.
As to the properties on Water and Main Streets that commissioners approved for purchase on Tuesday, the 111 S. Main St. location has re-development potential, according to Huff. Its future may include the first floor providing a kayak/bike/canoe rental with the upper floor a possible deli/restaurant. However, the 117 E. Water St. location will be scheduled for demolition after EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) remediation which will open the area towards the river.
Bethany J. Royer may be reached at (937) 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall