Riverfront Development Update

Riverfront District Concept

Momentum continues on the Downtown Riverfront Development Project by both the public and private sectors.  It is tremendously encouraging to see the interest from the private sector.  The establishment of the Winans Hometown Store is a great example of the quality development that can and will take place, not only in the downtown and riverfront, but throughout the city, making Piqua a great and desired place to visit or start a business.

The City of Piqua continues to be a catalyst for encouraging both residential and commercial development.  Over the past three years, the city has acquired the Mo’s Lounge building (111 South Main), adjacent vacant lots (101 & 117 South Main), the Zollinger building (101 South Wayne Street), the DP&L substation (110 South Main), the Old Laundry building (117 East Water), and the White building (102 South Main).  The substation was eliminated and the latter two buildings were evaluated and determined to be of no redevelopment value.  Mo’s has been determined to have redevelopment potential as a restaurant, bike/canoe rental, and office space.  The Zollinger building is projected to be developed into downtown residential units.  Negotiations are currently underway with potential developers for both buildings.  The Old Laundry and White structures have since been demolished to make room for new redevelopment opportunities.  The city also has an option on the Piqua Granite property with the hopes of relocating the business to a more beneficial site to make room for connecting the downtown to the river.

Keith and Lisa Bowman recently acquired the Piqua Edison Electric Illuminating Company (aka Weaver’s) building at 114 East Water Street and are in the process of restoring the entire structure.  At this time, the Bowmans have not decided on the final use of the project but we expect it to be a great addition to the downtown.  The Piqua Milling buildings could also play a valuable role in the transition of the riverfront.  The property is currently privately owned and our hope is that the owners will convert it to a use to also benefit the riverfront and community.

iPIQUA Partnership Logo

Over the past few months, the iPiqua Partnership (imagine & invest in Piqua) has been formed to assist in the development of private properties.  In addition, the iPiqua Partnership created an iPiqua Fund a non-profit entity to assist the iPiqua Partnership in providing “gap funding” for businesses desiring to locate on the riverfront or in the downtown.

A key part of the Riverfront Development Project is the public lands which includes Lock 9 Park, the Great Miami River Trail, the PATH trail bridge, the Canal Corridor, and the Great Miami River itself.  The city has just entered into contract with Gamble Associates to design these public space areas in order to enhance and provide recreation opportunities for special events, concerts, river recreation, kayaking, canoeing, biking, tourism, and additional economic development venues.

Finally, the positive activities occurring with the Riverfront Development Project have helped encourage additional development and upkeep interest in the Downtown District.  Currently, Unity Bank and Fifth Third Bank are making interior and exterior improvements to their facilities.  New stores have opened such as Harvest Pantry, Mulligan’s Pub, 311 Draft House, Schmidlapp Library, Winans, and Can’t Stop Running.  The vacant Fifth Third Bank building on North Main and adjoining parking area on Spring Street are currently being proposed for development after sitting empty for almost 20 years.  We are seeing much development interest and expect even more.

We will continue to advance the project for the benefit of the entire Piqua community.



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City to Host Brownfield Workshop


The City of Piqua will host a FREE Brownfields Workshop offered by the Ohio EPA.  The purpose of the workshop is to inform small and rural communities of the state and federal resources available to help redevelop brownfields or blighted properties.

The workshop will be held on Tuesday, October 20, 2015 from 9:30AM until 2:30Pm at the Fort Piqua Plaza Banquet Center.  Speakers will present strategies for identifying and prioritizing brownfield properties, grants, loans, and services to help communities with redevelopment, and computer programs for brownfield management and grant writing.

Speakers from Ohio EPA, Ohio Development Services Agency, JobsOhio, U.S. EPA, Great Lakes RCAP, USDA, and the Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) Program will address the following topics:

  • U.S. EPA Brownfields Grants and Technical Assistance to Brownfields Program
  • Great Lakes Rural Community Assistance Program
  • Ohio Development Services Agency’s Brownfield Program
  • USDA Rural Development and Urban Agriculture Resources
  • JobsOhio Revitalization Program
  • Ohio EPA’s Voluntary Action Program, Small and Rural Community Brownfield Assistance, and Targeted Brownfield Assessments

You can register for the event at http://piquabrownfieldworkshop.eventbrite.com. Space is limited.

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A New Local Government Management Model

Local Gov

A recent article by Ed Everett – Senior Fellow at the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement of Pepperdine University – Today’s Local Government Management Model…It’s broken, so let’s fix it, proposes a new model for local government management.

Mr. Everett states that most local governments operate under the “Bitch and Fix” model.  Residents gripe and the elected body and local government manager believe the issue has to be fixed.  As a result, local governments take on more responsibility than they should and residents do not accept their share of the responsibility to improve the quality of life of the community.

The existing model makes the following assumptions…

Local government:

  • Is responsible for the quality of life of the community
  • Must solve people’s problems
  • Requires little of residents

Elected officials:

  • Are elected to fix all problems


  • Act and feel like they should be treated as customers

Local government managers:

  • Try to make all the above happen

Under his proposed “Partnership” model, local governments need to work with residents acting like citizens.  The assumption is that local government will never be able to solve all problems without the active involvement by residents.  This doesn’t mean that local government should expect residents to pave streets, build infrastructure, or perform economic development.

The new proposed model does make the following assumptions…

Local government:

  • Can’t solve all problems and never could
  • Are partially – but not completely – responsible for the quality of life

Elected officials:

  • Set priorities and allocate resources for the most pressing issues


  • Need to act more like citizens and less like customers
  • Must take shared responsibility for the quality of life in their neighborhoods

Local government managers:

  • Facilitate cooperative problem solving rather than always trying to solve the problems themselves

Whether you agree with the “Partnership” model or not, it does bring up some very valid points.  Local government cannot solve every community issue, nor should it.  Probably one of the most glaring examples is the property maintenance issue.  Local government is required by law to follow legal requirements to take action against violating property owners.  This generally is very time consuming and frustrating for residents.  Maybe a much more effective and quicker resolution could take place if neighbors talked with property owners to persuade cooperation in maintaining their properties.  Otherwise, we go through a continual cycle of required bureaucratic process.

In Piqua, we do have lots of citizen involvement (active participation) and engagement (knowledge about community issues).  Some great examples include our Adopt-A-Park program, Neighborhood Associations, Positively Promoting Piqua, Citizens for a Better Piqua, Active Piqua, POWW, MainSteet Piqua, Piqua Church Association, Friends of Piqua Parks, and the iPiqua Partnership.  These groups are taking on issues within the community.  But more of this is needed.

I would agree that the current model does not work well in some cases.  Hopefully, we can continue to expand our Piqua partnership with residents and progress for the betterment of the community.



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Third Graders View of Piqua

High Street 3rd Grade Class2High Street 3rd Grade Class

Mrs. Zimpher’s Washington Intermediate Elementary 3rd Grade Class working on their view of Piqua.

I was recently given a copy of the Washington Intermediate Elementary 3rd Grade Class project to develop their view of the Piqua community.  It is refreshing to see that the youth of this age have such a positive desire to protect and better the community.  Here’s their view of Piqua:

The community of Piqua, Ohio is located in the Northwest side of the state.  Piqua is the center of education with three (3) new schools, and a community college.  The Piqua Indians are the fantastic football team!  P-I-Q-U-A!

We are a large community with a mall and busy downtown.  We also have a lot of churches that are beautiful and have tall steeples.  We have proud and good Americans who have the right to vote in National and local elections.  We are worried about drugs, smoking, cussing, drinking, and drunk driving.  We are scared of people texting and driving while we play in our community.  We wear seatbelts to be safe.  We need to see better driving for safety of all people.  Citizens need to take care of our nice buildings and structures.  We would like to see less litter.  We want no more graffiti.  We want citizens to show kindness, and welcome others to live and work here.  We look forward to fun places to go with our families.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all could see our community through the eyes of these children?  Thank you, Cindy Zimpfer and your 3rd Grade Class for giving us a much needed lesson!

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Many Events this Week in Piqua

Hance Pavilion sign

The Piqua Civic Band will be performing at Hance Pavilion in Fountain Park on Thursday at 7:00PM.

The Piqua Farmers Market takes place at Canal Place on Thursday from 3:30-7:00PM

The Parkridge Neighborhood Garage Sale takes place beginning Friday through Sunday.


Hovercraft Rally 2014 3

The Hovercraft Rally on the Great Miami River takes place on Friday through Sunday.

The Clean Sweep River Clean-Up sponsored by POWW takes place on Saturday.



Rock Piqua 2015

Rock Piqua! Riverfront Concert takes place on Saturday from 7:00-11:00PM.



Pack the Path 2015

Pack the Path 5K takes place on Saturday.







DARE Fun Day 2014

Piqua Activity Day takes place on Saturday at Fountain Park beginning at 9:00AM






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Piqua 4th Fest – 2016

4th Fest Feather RGB

For almost 40 years, the Piqua Fourth of July Association has sponsored and conducted a festival at Fountain Park.  Unfortunately, the association is no longer able to continue the event, so the City of Piqua has stepped forward to assume responsibility for continuing an event on this important national holiday.  This is part of an overall goal for the city to provide more new and major special events for Piqua residents to enjoy while attracting visitors to our community.  The Piqua 4th Fest will be the first of future city sponsored special events adding to the existing quality events conducted by numerous organizations.

Although we have not begun actual detailed planning for the event, I have been asked several questions regarding the 2016 Piqua 4th Fest.  So, here are some general thoughts to help everyone better understand how the event may evolve over the next months.

  • We envision big name musical entertainment in the evening that will occur at Lock 9 Park.
  • Fireworks will not actually be shot in Lock 9 Park.  However, the fireworks show will be very visible from Lock 9 Park, the downtown, and many places throughout the city.
  • Planned activities for the event may occur at different locations throughout the city including the use of indoor facilities for re-enactments, plays, performing and visual arts, etc.
  • Various types of fun-filled activities, including patriotic music, children’s games/shows, and other activities may continue to take place at Hance Pavilion/Fountain Park during the daytime.
  • Various community organizations will be encouraged to provide certain types of entertainment and events throughout the day.
  • The downtown is well-suited to handle large crowds during the day and evenings.  Over 1,ooo public and private parking spaces are available in the downtown.

City staff members are anxious to be involved and offer a wonderful event for the community.  The city’s Leadership Development Team has volunteered to help plan and manage aspects of the Piqua 4th Fest.  With city departments and resources actively involved, we hope to provide a very memorable and fun-filled holiday for all of Piqua that will become a tradition.

For those that have expressed to me doubt that the city will be able to handle such an event, the first half of my career was spent as Parks & Recreation Director for municipal governments responsible for conducting major special events.  These events ranged from attracting 20,000 – 40,000 participants per event.  With the available talent and experience of city staff, along with important city and community resources, I am extremely confident that we will be able to provide outstanding special events and make Piqua a very desired destination in Ohio and the region.

We extend our gratitude and thanks to the Piqua Fourth of July Association for the many years of service to the community and we now look forward to Piqua 4th Fest – 2016!


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Piqua Power System – One of the Best in the Nation

Piqua Power_4C

Without a question, the Piqua Power System is one of the top public power systems in the nation.  Piqua Power consistently ranks year after year as one of the top performing and reliable systems as a member of the American Municipal Power (AMP) and American Public Power Association (APPA).

Here are some of the more recent major accomplishments and recognitions:

  • 2015 APPA E. F. Scattergood System Achievement Award
  • 2014 APPA Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) – Diamond Level award
  • 2014 APPA Safety Award of Excellence
  • 2014 AMP Lineworkers Rodeo – Journeyman Category
    • Hurtman Rescue – 1st Place Dan Cline, Piqua
    • Single-Phase Pole Transfer – 1st Place Dan Cline, Piqua
    • Two-Phase Horizonal Cutout Change Out – 1st Place Dan Cline, Piqua
    • 12kV Arrestor Change Out – 1st Place Dan Cline, Piqua
    • Alley Arm Insulator Change Out – 1st Place Dan Cline, Piqua
  • 2013 APPA Robert E. Roundtree Rising Star Award – Ed Krieger, Piqua Power Director
  • 2013 APPA Reliable Public Power Provider (RP3) – Diamond Level Award
  • 2013 APPA 13th Annual Public Power Rodeo – Overall Apprentice Category
    • 2nd Place – Nate Hutchinson, Piqua
    • 5th Place – Jerry Perkins, Piqua

As you can see, the Piqua Power System consistently ranks as tops among the public power systems from across the nation.  But because of great leadership, dedication of employees, and professionalism of the department, Piqua Power is one of the best in the nation.

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