As most of you know by now, the historic structure at the corner of Third and Elm streets caught fire and was basically destroyed last week. I want to recognize the Fire Department, the Police Department, and the Public Works Department for their coordinated effort in containing the fire and its aftermath.  Great job guys! In its early days, it must have been one of the stateliest homes in Chillicothe. Later, it became a home for the elderly then, most recently, apartments. The City of Chillicothe somewhat recently took ownership when the last owner passed away. The City then issued a Request for Proposals and two local people expressed interest in the building and submitted proposals to the City. We were in the midst of negotiating Redevelopment Agreements with the two proposers when the building burnt.

So, what next? Several parties have expressed interest in retrieving architectural salvage from the remaining structure. And so, we are investigating the notion of sending out another Request for Proposals to allow such; but we have a safety concern…. The next step, regretfully, will be to demolish the building and then attempt to find a developer who would want to purchase the vacant land and build.

Speaking of development opportunities, the City is about to publish another Request for Proposals. This one is for the vacant lot just east of City Hall; at the corner of Walnut and First streets. We purchased this property and tore down some small houses in order to clear the site for future development. It’s a prime piece of property near downtown and Cutright Park, and with a river view. Its located within the Downtown TIF District making TIF funding available to a developer. If you think you might be interested, or know someone who might be, call our Economic Development Director, Rachael Parker, at City Hall. 

We heard unofficially last week that the City will be awarded a $20,000 grant that we applied for toward improvements to Fourth Street. If you read one of my previous articles, I explained that over 8,000 cars travel through Chillicothe via Fourth Street on a daily basis and, therefore, that thoroughfare serves as the main impression of our community for those passing through. We plan to use this grant money to hire a consultant to help us identify various ways we can improve the appearance of Fourth Street and, hence, the perception of Chillicothe. Stay tuned! 

That’s all for this time.  See you around town!

— Don