Downtown Lima projects still moving forward


By Josh Ellerbrock - jellerbrock@limanews.com



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LIMA — Despite roadblocks brought by the coronavirus outbreak, many of Lima’s downtown projects are continuing in preparation for post-virus life.

Since the Centers for Disease Control recommended limiting mass gatherings, the Rotary Club of Lima has canceled its weekly meetings, but Tracie Sanchez, one of the project leads on the downtown Rotary amphitheater project, said work is still being completed.

The first phase, which includes demolition and renovation of a downtown green space southeast of Town Square, is practically completed. Project managers are now gearing up for the engineering and design portion of the project to be completed within a year, she said.

“Basically, we’re working on being shovel ready,” Sanchez said. “Once this is all lifted and the economy improves a bit, by next spring, we will be shovel ready.”

Once funds are in place, the next construction phase will include landscaping, followed by the amphitheater itself and public restrooms.

Until that time, Sanchez said event organizers are planning on holding a number of downtown events utilizing the green space. For example, two movies in the park events, which usually take place at Faurot Park, will move to the space in June. So far, “Frozen 2” is scheduled for June 5, and “A Walk with Grace” is slated for June 27.

Future tailgates on the site are also being discussed down the road, Sanchez said.

While plans are moving forward, a potential sticking point may be the project’s funding. Initially, project managers had considered working with the State of Ohio to carry a portion of the project’s cost. With state budgets stretched thin due to the coronavirus response, that option may be off the table.

“That’s not going to stop us,” Sanchez said. “Eventually those funds will become available, or we’ll keep fundraising until we can do it all ourselves.”

Close to $1 million has been pledged to the project through fundraising so far. Without government resources, project organizers will have to raise at least twice that amount to pay for the $2.4 million project.

In related news, Sanchez said the future site of the Walter C. Potts Entrepreneur and Technology Business Incubator of Northwest Ohio is currently scheduled to begin the first stages in renovation of a downtown space close to the amphitheater project. Sanchez, who owns the building, said a three-story Central Avenue warehouse housing the new incubator space should be ready for its first tenants by January of next year.

According to earlier reports, the space will feature a co-working space, an outdoor courtyard, a coffee shop, brewery area, recording studios, a client lounge and conference rooms. The third floor will be leased to corporate tenants.

An update for another major downtown project — the Rhodes State College Center for Health Science Education & Innovation — has been recently released by Rhodes State College. In a video published in late March, the college includes new footage of what the 50,000 square-foot building will look like when it is expected to be finished in June of 2021.

The video runs through the new technologies expected to be available on each floor, such as multiple health care simulations and advanced learning tools, that students can utilize across multiple scenarios.

“It is a futuristic-looking facility demonstrating the health technologies and the advancement that has been made in health sciences over the last five years,” Rhodes State College President Dr. Cynthia Spiers said.

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By Josh Ellerbrock

jellerbrock@limanews.com

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

Read more about the pandemic’s effects at LimaOhio.com/tag/coronavirus.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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