By: Jenna Lawson, WHIO
View video of the announcement on WHIO's website
There were many points in the last five years that community partners thought ‘Legacy Place’ might never happen.
It took time to capture nearly $13 million in funding sources, including historic tax credits – not to mention delays due to the pandemic. But on Thursday, partners announced the funds were released and they are able to move forward with the project. It’s possible construction could start within the next week.
‘Legacy Place’ transforms the Douglas Inn in downtown Urbana and two former elementary schools (North & South) into affordable senior housing. 51 units will be created for those 55 and older, with six of them being devoted to people with disabilities.
“It’s just a real renaissance for Urbana,” Mayor Bill Bean told News Center 7′s Jenna Lawson.
Duane Miller, with development company Flaherty & Collins and also president of F & C Legacy Place, said the project accomplishes two goals: turning three vacant properties into useful properties and filling the need for affordable senior housing in Urbana.
“I love to jump into the skin of a community that’s looking for help and looking for opportunities to spur on their own development,” he said.
The Douglas has been vacant since 2004 and has long been a large eyesore on the southwest corner of Monument Square. The building has somewhat deteriorated and was the target of multiple arson fires in 2019.
The former owner of the property, John Doss, has done work to stabilize the structure. The elementary schools, despite being about 100 years old, are in solid shape, partners said.
The timeline for the project will move quickly. Developers estimate about six months to complete both elementary schools and a little over a year to finish the Douglas. Partners are hopeful that the project will have a positive domino effect on other aspects of Urbana living including neighboring businesses and housing.
“We may see some of those seniors who may move in here and now their single family homes are available for a new families to move in,” said director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, Marcia Bailey.
Bailey added that this solution also preserves the history of all three buildings for the community to enjoy for decades to come. “Having these buildings standing as they are and being repurposed is a huge win for our community,” she said.
Other partners in the project include the City of Urbana, Urbana City Schools and Resident Supports and Services, Inc., which provides housing for seniors and adults with developmental disabilities.
Work Begins to Transform the Douglas Hotel and Former Elementary Schools into Senior Apartments
The apartments will be ready to lease next year, Miller said. The apartments in the school buildings will be ready by mid-summer and the apartments in the Douglas, by year end.
“Legacy Place is a big win for our community, and it’s the result of persistent effort by many individuals and organizations in a united public-private partnership,” Marcia Bailey, director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, said. “Legacy Place is proof of what our community can accomplish when we work together.”
Besides the CEP and project developer Flaherty & Collins, key players in the partnership are the City of Urbana, Urbana City Schools administration and Board of Education, John Doss, owner of the Douglas Hotel since 2007, and Resident Supports and Services, Inc. (RSSI). RSSI, a local nonprofit provider of housing for seniors and adults with developmental disabilities, is serving as co-developer and 25 percent owner of the project.
“Revitalizing and repurposing these historic buildings will have a tremendous impact on our economy and the attractiveness of our community and downtown,” Bailey said. The anchor of the southwest corner of Monument Square since 1870, the Douglas has stood vacant since 2004.
“I’m looking forward to further business development in Urbana, especially in the downtown, to accommodate the new Legacy Place residents.”
Another positive outcome of the project, she added, is that it will make much needed single-family housing available for new residents as seniors downsize to move into the apartments.
Miller said the project accomplishes two goals: “turning three vacant buildings back around to make them useful assets to the community and meeting Urbana’s needs for affordable senior housing.”
He added that the project, as it qualified for historic tax credits, will respect the historic nature of the buildings. Ed McCall of McCall Sharp Architecture of Springfield is the architect for the project.
The $13 million in financing for the project includes federal and state Historic Tax Credits, low income housing tax credits, an Ohio Housing Finance Agency loan, and a construction loan.
As the City of Urbana’s community development manager, Doug Crabill has been assisting Flaherty & Collins on the project for three years. He said, “Projects like this sometimes have a long horizon before the public can see the fruits of what we’ve been working for. The great thing is that everybody – the city, schools, the CEP, the developer – have been pulling in the same direction to get us where we are today.”
He added, “John Doss has helped keep the project moving forward and he’s kept the Douglas in a stable state” to make it a viable candidate for the project.
Doss had work completed to stabilize the structure and removed two small additions, which did not contribute to the historic value of the property.
“I was really happy about the city and the school board all pulling together to get this done,” Doss said. “The schools really stepped up for the community.”
Charles Thiel, superintendent of Urbana City Schools, said, “It’s been a long, long journey to get to this point. But we had faith and hope that we would get here.”
Scott DeLong, president/CEO of RSSI, said, “Our board members are excited about the project and happy we could participate and help make the project a success.” RSSI manages housing for people with developmental disabilities in Champaign, Preble, Shelby and Union counties. Six of the 51 Legacy Place apartments will be designated for people with disabilities.
Story and photos submitted by CEP (Champaign Economic Partnership).
Photos taken by Gary Schenkel.
This event has been postponed
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From Urbana Daily Citizen- Staff Report
The city of Urbana announced on Thursday that R.B. Jergens Contractors and subcontractors will start completing remaining work on the Monument Square/roundabout project at the intersection of U.S. routes 68 and 36 on Wednesday, July 29. City officials said the contractor will post no-parking signs as needed prior to work phases and that daytime road closures may be necessary during the paving phase.
Tasks to be completed are repairing asphalt; striping roadway markings, parking lines and crosswalks; manhole adjustment; and water valve adjustment.
The contractor was scheduled to start the completion of roundabout tasks on July 8, however, that did not happen.
On Wednesday, city Director of Administration Kerry Brugger told the Daily Citizen that since April the city and the Ohio Department of Transportation had been discussing with R.B. Jergens “pavement failures from 2019 deemed unacceptable by the city and ODOT.
“The city has been patiently waiting for RBJ to share its plan to correct the issues,” Brugger said, adding that on July 2 it was agreed the contractor would begin completing final roundabout tasks on July 8.
“But on Tuesday, July 7, they suddenly backed out of their commitment without any clear explanation,” he said.
Brugger said the contractor requested another meeting, but that the subsequent July 13 meeting provided no clear reason for pavement failures and provided no solutions.
A call to R.B. Jergens on Monday, July 20, and back and forth emails resulted in a commitment to complete pavement work starting Wednesday, July 29, Brugger said.
Click here to read full article on Urbana Daily Citizen.
Many businesses mentioned they were running low on items and the costs to maintain necessary PPE has continued to put a strain on their finances.
A partnership between the Dayton Development Coalition and JobsOhio provided the donation of PPE kits as a way to assist small businesses in Ohio. . Each Toolkit includes 100 3-ply masks, 10 KN-95 masks and a 24-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer.
“Small and medium sized businesses make up the backbone of Ohio’s economy and with grit and determination, they and their employees have persevered through unprecedented economic and health challenges during this pandemic. JobsOhio is pleased, along with our network partners, to provide them with PPE toolkits, to aid them in their efforts to get back to work and operate safely.” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “While we don’t know what the future holds, we are optimistic that Ohio businesses will succeed and continue to play an essential role in Ohio’s economic recovery.”
NACE is a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional association in its 64th year, representing over 3,000 county road officials and related professionals in the U.S. and Canada. In the U.S., local roads account for about 75% of highways and roads, or 2.93 million miles. Counties manage 1.74 million miles of those roads. Counties also own 231,000 bridges and operate one-third of the nation’s transit systems.
Champaign County Engineer Stephen McCall is in his 30th year of service with Champaign County, and first elected as County Engineer in 2012. Stephen has served on many County Engineers Association of Ohio committees, including the Ways and Means, Public and Local Support, Legislative and CEAO Handbook Co-Chair committees. In 2015, McCall served as President of the Professional Land Surveyors of Ohio. Locally he has served as the president of the Logan-Union-Champaign Planning Commission.
He credits the launch of this podcast to local sponsors including Berry Digital Solutions, Your Hometown Techs and Champaign Works.
This month he's interviewed Urbana's Fire Chief, Dean Ortlieb. The interview discusses a variety of topics including adapting during COVID-19 and all the new things happening within the department. The first episode can be streamed HERE or by searching “We Spend Local Network” on your favorite podcast player.
Vicki Deere-Bunnell, MSD Board President, volunteers many hours in the morning, evenings and weekends keeping the flowers watered and maintained. This system will save her along with other MSD volunteers time that can be used to work on other community projects.
The City of Urbana has also assisted in this local project with the installation of flower baskets on the downtown poles, along with allowing Monument Square District access to water systems on the square to ease their watering process.
To learn more about MSD or what's happening #OnTheSquare, click here!
A public Open House Celebration to tour the facility and meet staff and Cobblestone executives will be announced in about 45 days.
The three-story, 54-room hotel is located intersection of 68 & 55 on the south end of Urbana.
Click here to learn more about the project and what it will mean for Champaign County!