Last updated: June 05. 2014 6:04PM - 813 Views
By Heather Rutz hrutz@civitasmedia.com

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LIMA — Local governments, Rhodes State University and Downtown Lima Inc. hope to use a state grant to fund an inventory of downtown buildings and property.

Lima, Allen County, Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, Rhodes and Downtown Lima are applying for a $50,000 Local Government Innovation Fund grant that would fund a consultant’s work. Allen County commissioners approved the county’s partnership in the group Thursday.

“The prospect of Rhodes coming downtown has been a very good thing, and paired with other great momentum for the downtown, has lots of people interested in wanting to locate downtown,” Downtown Lima Inc. Executive Director Aubree Kaye said. “In preparation for Rhodes coming downtown, we want to create a baseline inventory of what buildings are worth, what their market value is, what they’re zoned, and collect that in a digital format that’s uniform.”

The study would help the group determine the viability and potential for economic development of each property, Kaye said.

Rhodes State College is securing land for a multimillion-dollar Center for Health Science Education and Innovation, west of Veterans Memorial Convention Center and south of the city Municipal Building. The vision is for the facility to bring 800 to 1,000 students, faculty and staff into Lima on a daily basis.

Land acquisition, which is still in the early stages, is being completed by the Rhodes State College Foundation and is primarily focused on properties between Market, Main, Union and Spring streets. Some parcels and areas donated by the city included a portion of Main Street, 141 Main St. and 143 Main St. and an alley between Town Square and Main Street and a second alley between Town Square and Union Street.

Downtown Lima has a general idea of what is for sale throughout downtown, but the inventory would give a detailed picture in a 16-block area, including things such as condition of a property, square footage, what a building could be used for, and existence of or capacity for Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

The application for the next round of grant awards is June 9.

Allen County and others have also sought a Local Government Innovation Fund to study the feasibility of a county-wide shared dispatch system.

The Local Government Innovation Fund is offered through the Ohio Development Services Agency. It provides communities financial assistance to create more efficient and effective service delivery. Projects are expected to facilitate improved business environments and promote community attraction with their plan for efficiency, collaboration or shared services.

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