- By Lawrence Budd Staff Writer
The Springboro City Council has committed more money to the ongoing redevelopment of the city’s central crossroads, which will total about $30 million used to recreate the downtown core when completed.
The council voted 6-0 on Thursday to move ahead with plans to build a $4.5 performing arts center anchoring redevelopment of six acres on northwest corner of Ohio 73 and Ohio 741 (Central Avenue and Main Street) in Springboro.
The council will set aside $8.2 million — $4.5 million for the center and $3.7 million for the street, water and sewer improvements — to support the redevelopment on the northwest corner of the city’s central crossroads.
The Springboro Chamber of Commerce is expected to join the Playhouse South Theater Group from Kettering and the local Center Stage Academy of the Arts as tenants of the performing arts center, where they hope to create activity that draws people to restaurants and retail businesses expected to fill out the redevelopment.
“It’s going to really take us to another level,” Mayor John Agenbroad said during a Thursday work session at which developer Jerad Barnett of Mills-Barnett Pavilion gave a presentation about the event center.
Mill-Barnett has committed to spend at least $10 million in the development in exchange for a forever lease on the six acres, formerly the Springboro IGA Plaza, purchased by the city for $3.4 million in 2015.
“We will spend more than that. That was our commitment,” Barnett said after his presentation to council.
The newest work, expected to begin in the coming weeks, follows $8 million spent on reconfiguration of the intersection and acquisition of land, some of which will be used in redevelopment of this area of central Springboro.
Springboro’s share of this project is expected to be just over $5 million. The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission funded the other $3 million in intersection improvements.
Ultimately plans are for redevelopment to spread to adjoining properties, including residual parcels from land on three of four corners acquired or taken by the city for the intersection project.
On Thursday, Councilman Stephen Harding recused himself and left the council chambers before Barnett’s presentation. Harding also abstained from votes on related issues.
There was no explanation given during the meeting. He could not be reached afterward, despite previous arrangements made to answer questions.
The center is to feature a 9,000-square-foot theater with more than 150 seats, which is smaller than previously discussed and than a new facility at Alter High School in Kettering, according to Barnett.
“Make sure it’s still usable for what we intended it to be used for,” Councilwoman Janie Ridd said during Barnett’s presentation.
The plans set aside 16,300 square feet for the theater, Chamber, Playhouse South and Center Stage, including a 3,000-square-foot waiting area and restrooms.
The Chamber, currently located on South Main Street in Olde Springboro, would lease about 2,000 square feet, including a meeting room for up to 60 people.
A 2,500-square-foot dance studio is to be leased by Center Stage, which is currently located next to the redevelopment in buildings previously adjoining the Springboro IGA.
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“This announcement is wonderful news for our business community, the redevelopment of the IGA and the construction of the new Performing Arts Center,” stated City Manager Chris Pozzuto. “The City Council has always been concerned about the use of that building during the daytime hours, with performances and events mainly being scheduled for the evenings; however with the Chamber potentially locating in that building and operating primarily during the day, that concern has been addressed.”
In a news release, Chamber President and CEO Carol Hughes said, “the potential relocation of the Chamber to the (performing arts center) can solve a lot of long term issues for us, namely we will have the ability to have more space for future expansion of our services to better serve our members, stay close to our current location and enhance our partnership with the City.”
The arts center construction cost is $1 million more than in previous plans. The city plans to issue a short-term note to pay for construction. Bonds will ultimately be used to finance the debt, to be paid off largely with funds from a tax incremental financing (TIF) district.
“The TIF, at full build-out, is proposed to generate $383,215 per year for 10 years. All other payments will come from non-tax revenues (rents, lease payments by Mills),” City Manager Chris Pozzuto said before the meeting in an email response to this news organization.
Construction is to be completed by October 2019.
Springboro has hired Ken Conaway “to oversee the project and to provide the City with independent oversight, as it relates to keeping costs down and ensuring superior building materials and craftsmanship,” Pozzuto said in a memo to the council.