BRADFORD — The Bradford Council met with a consulting team during its meeting on Thursday evening to discuss the possibility of working to develop a comprehensive plan for the vacant 30-acre former railroad property, along with steps to pursue that plan.
Kim Littleton of Burton Planning Services and Rick Stein of Urban Decision Group discussed their types of services with the council as well as different aspects of what creating a comprehensive plan for the former railroad property would include.
“One of the things that we do in our practice, we work with small communities,” Littleton said. “Our emphasis is providing primarily … planning and engineering services.”
Littleton said that they do not do the design construction-type service, but they do transportation planning, community planning, projects that require comprehensive plans, and so on.
Littleton said that they also work with vacant sites like the 30-acre former railroad property within the village. He went over how they consider the different potential uses for sites like these, help develop a conceptual plan for a potential use of the site and help determine steps that the village would need to take to pursue preparing that site for a potential developer. Their approach would include considering the market potential for that area with the market being this area, which they would define as they go along through the project, along with what the site is more conducive to including, such as housing or some type of economic development.
Littleton also went over how they include the community in this process, such as through workshops during which residents can stop in and speak with them as well as through online surveys, stakeholder meetings and other meetings.
“We offer you what we think would be some alternatives of how you could develop the community,” Littleton said.
Stein later added that, in addition to market analysis, they also consider the feasibility of a different uses for the site.
“If what you want does not match what the current conditions would provide for, then we have to ask a few questions, like is it even possible? And if it is feasible, what do we’ve got to do to make that happen,” Stein said.
Stein used the example of putting in housing units.
“If you wanted to add a hundred housing units, you would need a hundred households that want those hundred units,” Stein said. “So what do you need to do to create that situation? And generally, that’s some form of economic development. Everything generally comes back to that.”
The council also discussed completing a phase one environmental study on the former railroad property, which would identify possible contaminants of the site. Council member Jeff Wirrig asked how long an environmental study would take to complete. Stein said it could be between two to four weeks.
When Village Administrator Rick Looker asked about funding for the development of the site, such as possible grant funding, Littleton suggested beginning to look for sources of funding early in the process. As part of the comprehensive plan, they could also help the village find possible sources for grant funds.
Stein also suggested working with stakeholders in the community for possible sources of private funding to develop the site.
They also went over how they could provide short and long term scenarios with what steps to take to continue developing the site.
Council member Deb Warner later asked about the cost of Littleton and Stein’s services. They did not provide an estimate during the meeting, but Littleton said that they would work with the village on the cost and with the scheduling. Looker also said, “I think they’re within our scope.”
Council member Bob Daughtery asked about a timeframe for the project. Littleton said that it would take place within an eight-month period.
The village is expected to get a formal proposal and quotes from Littleton and Stein at a later date.
Later during their meeting, the council appointed a new member to the council, Darrell Swank, who will fill the seat vacated by former council member Sandra Miller.
Swank is a welder and a lifelong resident of the area. Swank said that he was interested in taking part on the council to learn about and take part in what is happening in the village.
The council also approved taking part in the State of Ohio Cooperative Purchasing Program, which it did in order to get a lower rate with Spectrum.
The council also approved its annual law enforcement contract with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, which included a 2 percent increase. The village current pays approximately $7,000 per month to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, and the increase would be approximately $1,699 for the year.
The village also will hold an open house for the public to see the new water treatment plant from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 13.
Board member Galen Balmert was absent.