City of Tiffin

Tiffin Municipal Arts Commission approved by City Council

New city body to guide and oversee public art

The mural at City Lot 7 in Downtown Tiffin is an example of public art.

TIFFIN, OHIO – September 21, 2021 – During a meeting Monday evening, Tiffin City Council approved the creation of the Tiffin Municipal Arts Council, the first of its kind in the city’s history. The Arts Commission will promote and oversee public art in the city of Tiffin. It is the result of the work of the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership’s (TSEP) Downtown Design Committee, part of Downtown Tiffin’s Main Street program, together with Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz and the City Administration.  

Montz celebrated the development: “I am very pleased to see Tiffin continue to be proactive and progressive in enhancing the quality of life of our community. Public art is an important part our Downtown Strategic and Comprehensive Plans, and we believe it will build community pride, strengthen our downtown and tourism, and celebrate talent residing in our community.”

The Arts Commission will help develop public art sites, support artists, provide policy input, coordinate artwork installation and signage, serve as a liaison between stakeholders, serve as a resource to the City on art-related matters, develop a planning process, and other matters. The initial annual budget for the Commission to support and promote public art will be $10,000.

Ryan Poignon, local artist and member of the new Arts Commission praised the development. “Art is such an important part of the fabric of our community, and I’m truly appreciative of city leaders and volunteers working together to make this happen. I’m looking forward to working with the City and TSEP to strengthen public art and the arts in general.” Poignon also owns The Poignon Project, a downtown Tiffin art studio and shop featuring handmade artwork, glass, and live glassblowing.

The Arts Commission is the product of a year and a half of work that began last summer. Throughout 2020 and into this spring, members of the Downtown Design Committee benchmarked Ohio communities such as Athens, Yellow Springs, Marietta, and Sandusky, looking to develop a public arts policy for the City of Tiffin. Public art appears several places in the 2010 Downtown Strategic Plan, most notably in the sections on promoting the downtown to visitors (Promotion) and the appearance of the downtown (Design.) 

Tiffin’s Director of Downtown Revitalization Amy Reinhart said, “I want to express my appreciation for Mayor Montz, the city administration, and Law Director, as well as Tiffin City Council. I also appreciate Design Committee Chair Brian Perrine and the volunteers who did a lot of the work to help make it happen, in particular Mike Pinkston, Debbie Roszman and Design Committee Vice Chair Tony Consolo.”

The 2020 Comprehensive Plan has a public art strategy under Goal 6 “Strong Community & Image,” recommending the city “commission pieces of public art and install them at various locations throughout the community.” TSEP’s Tiffin Community Development Committee plans on working with the new group to support public art as part of the community’s overall community development strategy.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.tiffinseneca.org.

SCAT to begin flex route bus service Sept. 13

Shelton Shuttle to offer routes to businesses for work, recreation

TIFFIN, OHIO – September 3, 2021 – The Shelton Shuttle, a flex-route bus service provided by Seneca-Crawford Area Transportation (SCAT), is set to begin service on Sept. 13. The service has four vehicles, two purchased through a state grant and two purchased through a federal grant.

Three routes have been established to serve the City of Tiffin and portions of rural Seneca County. Until more drivers can be secured, only one route will be in operation which will connect riders to shopping and businesses on the east and west sides of Tiffin. The route will run Monday through Friday 8:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The cost to $1 per ride.

In the future, SCAT will open up other routes, with one serving government services, shopping and dining in Downtown Tiffin and another will serve the industrial parks based on shift changes. Additionally, routes may run for limited hours on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings for commercial businesses depending on demand.

Plans to establish the service began in Fall 2014, when David Shelton arranged a meeting with Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz. In the following years, Heidelberg Business Institute completed Phase I of the Feasibility Study in 2015, followed by a formal study conducted by RLS in 2018. Since then, SCAT has received grants to fund the service completely for the first 18 months through the Ohio Transit Partnership Program and federal CARES Act, including funding the four vehicles.

Mayor Aaron Montz said he was excited for the service to begin. “This is a fantastic resource for our community, bringing people to local businesses and helping to transport workers. I’m proud that we can offer this service to the people of Tiffin.”

Mike Kerschner, president of the Seneca County Board of Commissioners, said: “I’m proud to be able to work with the individuals at SCAT who have put in the time and resources to make this bus route possible to benefit the citizens of Seneca County.”

Mary Habig, Executive Director for Seneca-Crawford Area Transportation, said, “I’m grateful for the SCAT Board of Directors, SCAT employees, community leaders, Heidelberg University, Ohio Department of Transit, and State Senator Bill Reineke for their dedication and commitment in making this added service a reality.”

For more information or to apply to drive, call (567) 938-8055.

About Seneca-Crawford Area Transportation

Seneca-Crawford Area Transportation (SCAT) is a not-for-profit charitable organization that provides public transportation throughout Seneca and Crawford counties. Its mission is to serve the public by providing a safe, reliable, affordable, accessible and efficient transportation system.  For more information, visit www.senecascat.org.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.tiffinseneca.org.

Tiffin, Seneca CARES participants receive 2021 Partnership in Development Award

Winners named during TSEP Annual Meeting

Audrey Flood, TSEP Development Director (center), presents awards to (from left) Julie Vogel, Eden Township Fiscal Officer; Jim Distel, Clinton Township Trustee; Aaron Montz, Mayor of the City of Tiffin; and Tyler Shuff, Seneca County Commissioner.

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 23, 2021 – Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is proud to have named City of Tiffin; Seneca County; the villages of Bettsville and Green Springs; and Bloom, Clinton, Eden, Hopewell and Pleasant and townships for their contributions to the Tiffin and Seneca County CARES programs as the winners of the Partnership in Development Award during the 2021 Annual Meeting June 3, 2021.

In September 2020, The City of Tiffin announced and opened applications for the Tiffin CARES Small Business Relief Program, and Seneca County started its program, Seneca County CARES Small Business Relief Program, in late October. The programs made up to $10,000 in grant funding available to for- profit businesses and non-profit organizations in Tiffin and rural Seneca County and had the goal of providing financial relief from loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They took some of their funds that they got from the government to address the coronavirus epidemic and said, ‘We want to help small businesses,’” said David Zak, President and CEO of Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership.

Altogether, The City of Tiffin; Seneca County; the villages of Bettsville and Green Springs; and Bloom, Clinton, Eden, Hopewell and Pleasant and townships contributed $1.2 million in CARES Act funding to 186 businesses by the end of 2020.

“So often we talk about collaboration, but in the case of Seneca County, especially when it came to CARES Act money, so many people came together and acted so quickly, we had to make decisions quickly,” said Mike Kerschner, President of the Seneca County Board of Commissioners.

In total, the City of Tiffin contributed $574,000, and Seneca County contributed $390,000, with an additional $205,000 provided by Bloom, Clinton, Eden, Hopewell and Pleasant townships and the villages of Bettsville and Green Springs. Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership administered the programs on behalf of the City of Tiffin and Seneca County Board of Commissioners. The Fostoria Economic Development Corporation had an additional program for Fostoria businesses funded by Seneca County, and Tiffin-Seneca United Way and Great Lakes Community Action Partnership also helped get the word out to businesses about the program.

“They all did their specific jobs when it came to getting needed money to those folks who were affected adversely by the pandemic,” Kerschner said.

TSEP reported that of the businesses that received funding, 81 businesses are in Tiffin and 105 are in rural Seneca County. Participating businesses reported an average of 45 percent decline in revenue when comparing a three-month or longer period from 2019 to 2020. Significantly, more than 700 people are employed at these small businesses.

“Business obviously lost money last year, they lost a lot of revenue because of the shutdown early in the year, but also because of decreased seating capacities or just the general nature of the pandemic, and people not doing as much shopping or dining out,” said Aaron Montz, Mayor of the City of Tiffin.

“Every dollar of this went to help local businesses here in the Tiffin community, the villages of Seneca County and out in the townships” Montz continued.

“We felt that it was important to try to keep that money in the township businesses, in the township community,” said Jim Distel, Clinton Township Trustee.

Zak said the program was successful in sustaining those businesses struggling to keep their doors open, even when they weren’t able to allow customers in.

“This is the longest I’ve not had an audience in front of me in 30 years,” said Michael Strong, Executive Director of the Ritz Theatre.

“The Ritz Theatre was very fortunate that the Seneca County Commissioners decided to disperse the CARES money the way they did to non-profits and businesses in Seneca County,” he added. “They gave us a little hope where we didn’t think we’d have any.”

Kristy Buskirk, owner of Clay Hill Organic, said that pandemic almost completely shut down some of her main sources of businesses, such as farmers markets.

“One of our largest markets went from a 22-week season to just eight weeks,” she said. “Now I feel like we’re set up very well for this 2021 season, to meet new demand and be able to give our local customers here the products that they are now asking of us and that we’re excited to be able to offer, and meet up with all this renewed energy in our local economy and local agriculture.

“I want to congratulate all of them for their ability to act so collaboratively, so quickly, to come together to satisfy the need of those folks who were affected,” Kerschner said.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.tiffinseneca.org.

Jefferson Street streetscaping project moving forward

Project to be completed by end of year

TIFFIN, OHIO – July 1, 2020 – The City of Tiffin has announced that it has selected a contractor and will begin work on streetscaping Jefferson Street between East Market and East Perry Streets including new curb and sidewalks, decorative stamped concrete between the sidewalk and curb, stamped concrete crosswalks, decorative light poles, signage, trees, and streetscaping furniture including but not limited to trash cans, bike racks, planters, hanging baskets.  The project also includes the resurfacing and striping of Jefferson Street and the resurfacing of the alley to the north of National Corner and the Frost-Kalnow Amphitheater on the East Green and to the east of the Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.

The project was awarded to Smith Paving & Excavating from Norwalk and construction is to start in the fall. The expected completion date is Dec. 31, 2020.

State Rep. Bill Reineke and State Sen. Dave Burke helped secure $300,000 for the project in the previous State Capital Budget, which was then awarded by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The grant was awarded to support the Frost-Kalnow Amphitheater on the East Green and National Corner developments in downtown Tiffin. The City Engineer’s office designed and will manage the construction administration and inspection for this project. By doing so and not using consultants, the City of Tiffin was able to maximize the grant dollars for this project.

The Downtown Tiffin Design Committee provided input on the streetscaping items and helped to coordinate with the City Engineer’s Office.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz commented, “I’m so proud to see that this project is moving forward. Thank you to City Engineer Matt Watson and his office for maximizing this grant funding and ultimately improving the look of Downtown Tiffin.”

City of Tiffin launches housing survey

Study enters next phase as city faces housing shortage

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 19, 2019 – The City of Tiffin and the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership announce today that they have officially opened an online housing survey to determine the market demand for housing. The survey is part of a City-funded study to determine what kind of housing is most needed and to attract developers to create that product. The survey can be found at tiffinsurvey.com and is expected to be open for until the end of April.

Understanding from local realtors and newcomers to the community that the housing supply has not been able to meet the current demand, the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership convened a committee of local realtors, builders, mortgage lenders, city council and administration members and plans were put together to interview multiple research firms. Dublin, Ohio-based DiSalvo Development Advisors was selected and hired at the end of last year.

The first phase of the study has unofficially revealed that there are about 60 homes for sale in the Tiffin market, and a recent apartment survey of 19 projects and more than 800 units showed there were just 3 vacancies. That is a 0.4 percent vacancy rate, compared to a healthy market which is considered 5 percent vacancy. The survey is the next step in the study process. It will be marketed to the general public, and TSEP will be working with local employers to distribute to their employees.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said he welcomes the findings that the survey may bring. “My office regularly gets requests about housing needs within the city. We hope that the information gathered from this study can be used to sell Tiffin to developers for commercial projects and new housing opportunities. It’s a key part of our overall community and economic development strategy.”

Questions in the survey range from the types of home people are interested, prices and locations within the Tiffin area they would be interested in relocating to. In addition, there are questions related to the types of businesses that people would like to see in Tiffin.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.tiffinseneca.org.

2018 Special Recognition Award – Assistant City Engineer Matt Watson

The 2018 Special Recognition Award was presented to Assistant City Engineer Matt Watson for going above and beyond his job duties to create a welcoming environment for development in Tiffin.

For the award presentation, SIEDC asked for feedback from representatives of the NRP Group, the developers behind the 52-unit Tiffin Pointe housing development. Their team members praised Watson for his diligence, and named Tiffin the most efficient and professional community they have worked with.

Tiffin City Administrator Dale Thornton also vouched for Watson’s excellence in the workplace. “Matt is an extremely valuable asset to the city and its residents,” he said.

Watson is a 2004 graduate of Tiffin Columbian High School and a 2009 graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering along with state accreditation to become a Professional Land Surveyor. Aside from his time at OSU, he has been a lifelong resident of Seneca County and active within the community.

 

About the Special Recognition Award
This award is given by the President or Chairman, at his or her discretion, to any person, business, or group whose service to the community is largely unknown.

City of Tiffin seeks community input for grant funds

cdbgThe City of Tiffin intends to apply to the Ohio Development Services Agency for funding under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Small Cities Program, a federally funded program administered by the state. The City of Tiffin is eligible for approximately $150,000 for Fiscal Years 2018-2019 CDBG funding, provided the City of Tiffin meets applicable funding requirements.

The first of two (or more) public hearings will be held on April 24, 2018 at 4 p.m. at the SIEDC office, 19 W. Market St., Suite C, in Tiffin to provide citizens with pertinent information about the CDBG program requirements. The CDBG program can fund a broad range of activities including economic development projects, street, water supply, drainage and sanitary sewer improvements, park acquisition and improvements, demolition of unsafe structures, rehabilitation of housing, neighborhood facilities, and downtown revitalization. The activities must be designed to primarily benefit low and moderate income (LMI) persons or aid in the prevention or elimination of slum and blight.

Citizens are encouraged to attend the public meetings, or submit an idea application via mail, email or fax, to provide input on the city’s CDBG program.

Click here to download the application.

Click here for a list of eligible projects.

Click here for a community project “wish list” from previous CDBG input sessions.

 

Northern Ohio & Western Railway receives CSX award for Dramatic Growth in 2017

OmniTRAXThe Northern Ohio & Western Railway, the short line rail operated by OmniTRAX on behalf of the Sandusky County-Seneca County-City of Tiffin Port Authority, received the 2017 CSX Short Line Development Award for a more than 150% growth in shipping volume.

Press release from OmniTRAX:

DENVER – OmniTRAX, Inc., one of the largest privately held transportation service companies in North America and an affiliate of The Broe Group, received the 2017 CSX Short Line Development Award for the Northern Ohio & Western Railway, LLC (NOW) at the 2018 CSX Short Line Workshop in St Augustine, FL this week. The award, which recognizes the “Cooperative efforts that generated the highest switch carrier carload percentage growth,” was received by Doug Ernstes, Vice President of Business Development at OmniTRAX.

The CSX Short Line Development Award is one of several awards given annually by the Class I railroad to its short line partners. NOW earned the honor for a switching volume increase of more than 150% in 2017, which resulted from additional covered hoppers of lime shipped from Carmeuse Lime.

“The OmniTRAX team is very pleased to earn this award from CSX. In the railroad business, it’s not easy to double your business in 10 years let alone one, so we’re very proud of the hard work and collaboration of Tim Schumm, and the entire NOW Team that made it happen,” said Kevin Shuba, CEO of OmniTRAX.

In addition to Ernstes, OmniTRAX was represented at the event by Peter Tousenard, Chief Commercial Officer; David Rohal, Senior Vice President of Customer & Class I Relations; Gord Anutooshkin, Senior Vice President of Operations; Wally Sieruga, Vice President of Operations; Steve Ward, Vice President of Engineering; Allan Thiem, Vice President of Class I Relations; Matt Despos, Vice President of Operations, and Jeff Burns, Commercial and Marketing Support Manager.

About the Northern Ohio & Western Railway, LLC
The NOW operates more than 25 miles of track southeast of Toledo, extending from Woodville to Tiffin, Ohio. The communities served by NOW are within the I-75 corridor and a growing industrial base and a plentiful supply of developable land. NOW serves customers like Ameriwood Industries, Carmeuse Lime, Kokosing, Laminate Technologies, MGQ Asphalt Terminal and National Machinery, and the primary commodities transported are limestone, lime and pressed board.

Tiffin Facade Enhancement Grant Program: A step-by-step guide

The downtown Tiffin Façade Enhancement Grant Program was launched in 2014 to spur downtown revitalization by providing financial assistance for outside, street-facing building repairs. Eligible projects can receive a reimbursement of up to $10,000 in matching funds. Below is a step-by-step guide to the program.

Application process

The building owner should meet with SIEDC’s Downtown Main Street Manager, Amy Reinhart, to discuss how the program works and obtain an application. The application needs to be submitted and approved before any work has begun.

The building owner must include the following upon submission of their application:

  • Façade Enhancement Application
  • Architectural Board of Review Application  (See ABR Guidelines)
  • W9 form for City to open purchase order.
  • A minimum of two quotes from contractors on the work to be performed (if project is over $3,000 total).
  • Pictures of existing conditions.
  • Pictures or catalog cuts for the items to be purchased (awnings, doors, windows, etc.). If window replacement is recommended, a catalog cut along with dimensioned drawings of the window to be installed are required.  This will include the size of the window, any muntin bars as well as the depth and height of the frame around the window and at any corners where the windows connect.
  • If painting, the historic paint colors must be used. Please provide color samples from the historic line.  This can come from any paint company that provides a historic line, but Sherwin Williams and Ace Hardware do provide a paint discount for any building owner who receives façade approval.
  • A detailed description of the project

Applications are reviewed in the order they are received. Due to the first come first serve nature of the funding, incomplete applications will not be accepted.  When the funds run out, the program ends for the calendar year.  When determining the City budget, Council will determine if funding will be renewed for the following year.

Once the application and all above mentioned items are compiled, they should be brought to the Main Street Manager.  She will review the applications for completeness and determine if there are any issues that need to be addressed prior to submission of the application to the City.  She will work with the Chair of the Architectural Board of Review and the City Engineer’s office to determine if any additional items need to be addressed.

Once the application is reviewed and deemed complete and without any issues, the Main Street Manager will submit the application and attachments to the City to be added to the Architectural Board of Review Agenda.

Architectural Board of Review meetings take place the first and third Tuesday of each month at 3:30 in City Hall.  The owner or a representative must be present at the meeting to answer any questions that may come from the application.  The number of applications reviewed at the meeting is determined by the Chair due to the intensity of the application reviews.  To be considered for the upcoming meeting, all information must be turned in one week prior to the meeting, so proper distribution of materials can take place for Board members.  Additionally, the meeting agenda must be listed in the newspaper as it is required for all public meetings.

Beginning the project

Once the Architectural Board of Review has approved the application, work may begin on the project.  The owner will receive the certificate of appropriateness in the mail following the approval.

If any part of the project changes at any time during the work, the owner must contact the Main Street Manager for a change form.  The changes must be approved by the Architectural Board of Review, as this is a change to a contract that the owner entered into when receiving approval from the City for the funds.

Completing the project

The owner has until December of the following calendar year to complete the work.  For example: if a project is approved in March of 2016, the owner will have until December of 2017 to complete the work.  If the owner is approved in December of 2016, the work must be completed by December of 2017.

Once the work is complete, the owner will submit paid receipts from the contractor to the Main Street Manager.  The manager will complete the final inspection forms and submit those to the City Finance Director and City Engineer’s office along with the paid receipts.  The City Engineer will complete the inspection and sign off.  He will then send it to the City Finance Director who will complete the check and send it to the owner.  The check will be made out to the name on the W9 form only.

For examples of projects that have received grant funding, click here.

For the complete Façade Enhancement Program, click here.

For all questions and guidance through the process contact:

Amy Reinhart
Downtown Main Street Manager, SIEDC
419.619.5517
reinhart@senecacounty.org
M-Th, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

60+ businesses in local HR association

SCHRASeneca County Human Resource Association (SCHRA) was formed to provide professional development workshops, hear knowledgeable speakers, receive legislative updates, and networking opportunities to those professionals working in a variety of human resource capacities.

Past speakers include:

Monthly meetings are held throughout the year, generally in the Tiffin area, on the third Tuesday of the month at 11:30 a.m. The cost is $10 for members and $20 for non-members. You can fill out the 2015 SCHRA membership form here.  For more information contact Beth Hannam at bhannam@terra.edu.

Participating businesses include: