Versailles Council discusses downtown redevelopment district proposal


By Erik Martin - emartin@aimmedianetwork.com



VERSAILLES — A proposal to establish a Downtown Redevelopment District (DRD) was the subject of discussion at the Versailles Village Council meeting Wednesday.

The Montrose Group of Columbus, Ohio, has proposed setting up one or more DRD’s for the village, which would allow tax incentives for building, remodeling and repairs in the downtown area. Montrose has also been in talks with the City of Greenville for providing similar services.

Versailles Village Administrator Rodd Hale said Versailles was hoping to “tag on” with Greenville in hopes of getting a discount.

“It wasn’t as much of a discount as I’d hoped for,” said Hale, who said the group offered the village its services for $15,000 versus the $20,000 it will charge Greenville. Greenville City Council has not yet approved a contract with Montrose.

Hale cited the Buckeye building, the old VPP building, and the old firehouse, among other properties in the downtown, that could benefit from being part of a DRD.

“It’s a heavy investment and they need some type of tax rebates to be able to do it,” said Hale. “This allows them to get supplies cheaper, it allows them to apply for grants.”

“From an economic development standpoint, it just puts another tool in your toolbelt,” said Mike Bowers, Darke County Economic Development Director.

“I think it’s money well spent to have somebody that’s done a lot of these, who knows how to do it, and gets it set up correctly,” said Hale.

Councilwoman Kim Custenborder expressed caution, saying, “I want to see something back for all this money we’re putting in. We’re spending $7,500 on a retail coach, we’re spending $15,000 on this — I know it’s not automatic we’re going to see something, but I’d like to see some return on our investment.”

“If you want to entice anybody to invest in buildings, or start the process of doing construction or even trying to purchase buildings…” said Hale. “There’s nothing at this point in time that can get [potential owners] tax rebates, a grant or anything.”

“It might be five years — who knows? But you got to have it in place, it’s no different than our CRA agreements. We have eight of those in place,” he added.

Council agreed to further consider the proposal in the near future and hoped to meet with Nate Green of the Montrose Group, who was unable to attend Wednesday night’s meeting.

In other business, council passed an ordinance establishing compensation for fire department personnel. It also passed a resolution authorizing the village administrator to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement and/or local transportation improvement programs to execute contracts as required.

Hale said the village is applying for an OPWC grant to help fund a sanitary line project on North Center Street. The deadline to apply is July 17.

Council adjourned to executive session partway through the meeting for the purpose of discussing a possible land purchase for public use. No action was taken on the issue.

By Erik Martin

emartin@aimmedianetwork.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4314. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com