Swanton Village Council recently approved a resolution to create the Swanton Downtown Design Review Board. The resolution approved June 24 also adopted standards for rehabilitation.
Funds will be sought from the Downtown Revitalization program through the Ohio Development Services Agency. A letter of intent to participate was due July 1 from the village.
“Part of new requirements [for the program] include having a downtown design review board as well as adopting standards for rehabilitation,” said Village Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle. “Most communities are adopting the Secretary of Interior standards for rehabilitation.”
It was approved as an emergency measure due to the tight time frame.
“This kind of came up fairly quickly to identify possible projects that would be potentially good candidates for this,” said Hoelzle.
The resolution was approved unanimously, but a second resolution to support a letter of intent for the downtown revitalization program was approved only as a first reading, after concerns were voiced by Councilman Craig Rose. He said he is a big supporter of downtown revitalization but would like to see it as a broad revitalization rather than starting with a few businesses.
“I don’t agree with the way that this is going,” he said. “A lot of businesses have already put a lot of money of their own and revitalized their own businesses. They revitalized their own buildings.”
Mayor Ann Roth replied that nothing has been discounted.
“This is simply a starting point to, hopefully, get us going in the right direction,” she said. “It’s probably something that should have been done 30 or 40 years ago.”
Switchback Cafe moving into the former Elks building, and Benfield Wines moving in at the corner of Main Street and Zeiter Way, were two projects that village officials knew about when discussions began in the spring, which is part of why they were selected, according to Hoelzle.
“What we were told about this program from Columbus is there is only so much money and they are going to give money to applications that are going to have the biggest impact,” she said.
Hoelzle added that village officials acknowledge that other businesses have already committed their own money for projects in the downtown area, and mentioned the possibility of an internal program, similar to one used in Tiffin, to help fund other improvements.
With Michael Rochelle absent, there were not enough votes for an emergency measure, but the first reading of the resolution passed 4-1, with Rose voting no.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010