Tiffin ABR

Two downtown Tiffin businesses receive façade grants

Total investment with the innovative program exceeds $675,000 in first year

ABR soni select

ABR discusses Soni Junction project

TIFFIN, OHIO – September 1, 2015 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review approved Façade Enhancement Grants for Select Realty Group and Soni Junction. The two projects represent more than $200,000 in investment, increasing the number of projects approved to 24 and the total amount of investment to almost $700,000.

The first project approved is a demolition and complete new construction of the Soni Junction gas station and convenience store on the south side, at 260 S. Washington St. The exciting project will place a new structure with a beautiful brick façade on the front, to complement the surrounding historic buildings. The owners purchased the property in 2008 and with the $10,000 grant, they now plan to invest more than $200,000 at the site.

The second project approved is improvements for the new Select Realty location at 23 S. Washington. The company plans restoring the exterior of the building, including scraping, repairing, and painting the front exterior, two front doors and the metal roof; masonry repair; tuck pointing; and new signage. Select Realty Partner Sara Riesen praised the program, saying “We are excited to have invested in downtown. The grant money is a great way to help offset the costs of the repairs we need to do to enhance the building. We are very appreciative.” The building formerly housed Edward Jones Investments and the Bennett Law Firm. It was purchased in June for around $100,000.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is pleased with the momentum of the Façade Enhancement Program. “Since we created the program last September, 24 projects have been approved, for a total investment of more than $675,000, more than $500,000 of that in 2015 alone. The program is only going to get bigger and I can’t wait to see what else it will accomplish.”

About SIEDC

Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) 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 at the company’s blog at www.senecasuccess.com.

Tiffin Academy of Hair Design approved for Façade Grant

More than $275,000 invested in downtown Tiffin through Façade Enhancement program

Hair AcademyTIFFIN, OHIO – July 7, 2015 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review approved a Façade Enhancement Grant for the Tiffin Academy of Hair Design at 104 East Market Street.

The project is the ninth Façade Enhancement Grant of 2015, bringing the total investment in downtown improvement to more than $275,000. Halfway through the year more than half of the yearly budget for the grant, more than $50,000, has been allocated. The academy will receive $3,750 to aid in their $7,500 project.

“We are excited to receive this grant and to give our building a new look. It is great to see the buildings downtown taken care of.” owner Therese Vogel said.

Improvements include repairing the existing trim on the front of the building and painting it with a new color scheme in keeping with historic colors. The existing railing on the balcony will be repaired and repainted black. The stucco at the front corner of the building will also be repaired.

Mayor Aaron Montz is excited about the impact of the Façade Enhancement Grant on downtown improvements. “The program has been in place for less than a year and it is already making a noticeable difference in the atmosphere downtown. It is amazing to see how many building owners are taking the opportunity to invest in downtown Tiffin.”

The building at 104 East Market is known as the “Smith Block” and was constructed in 1895 by local contractor Frank Morcher for the owners William and Laura (Bloom) Smith. There was a twin building next door with exactly the same stone facade but it was torn down to create a parking lot.

About SIEDC

Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) 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 at the company’s blog at www.senecasuccess.com.

Building history courtesy of local historian John Huss.

Fourth downtown business awarded façade grant

Reino’s Pizza and Pasta to update exteriorReino's Exterior

TIFFIN, OHIO – April 7, 2015 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review approved the fourth Façade Enhancement Grant of 2015 for Reino’s Pizza and Pasta. With an investment of nearly $6,000, the planned improvements for the building at 73 East Market Street include tuckpointing brick, replacing third floor windows, painting trim and repairing the roof.

Owner John Reino appreciated the 50 percent match to his investment. “Maintaining a nearly 150 year old building can be expensive; the Façade Enhancement Grant really helps alleviate repair costs and keep businesses in downtown Tiffin looking good.”

According to John Huss, local historian and Architectural Board of Review Chair, ground was broken on the 73 East Market Street building in May of 1867. The first restaurant to occupy the space was Frederick’s Saloon in the 1880’s and many businesses have occupied the space since, most notably, the Royal Theater from 1909 to 1915. The building was also home to Brazley Meat Market in the 1930’s and the Tiffin Jewelry Store in the 1950’s.

Reino’s was founded in 1950 by Frank Reino and was the first pizza establishment in Tiffin. Purchased by his son, John Reino, in 1983 and relocated to the 73 East Market Street building in May of 1990, Reino’s continues today as a cornerstone of the community, serving fine Italian cuisine.

This is the fourth Façade Enhancement Grant approved in 2015, bringing the total investment by downtown businesses to nearly $60,000 and the amount of grant money spent to about $20,000. Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is thrilled by the success of the program. “It’s great to see downtown business owners so enthusiastic about revitalizing the community and making Tiffin a beautiful place to live and work.”

About the Façade Enhancement Program

This City of Tiffin reimbursement grant program was started in 2014 and covers 50 percent of eligible exterior improvements on residential and commercial structures within the downtown historic district. Each building is eligible up to $10,000 per calendar year. Last year, $50,000 in available funds supported 11 projects, resulting in a total investment of more than $150,000. Learn more at senecasuccess.com (search Façade Enhancement.)

 About SIEDC

Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) 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 at the company’s blog at www.senecasuccess.com.

Tiffin’s Architectural Board of Review protects investors

Antique Warehouse on Perry St.

Antique Warehouse on Perry St.

Tiffin’s Architectural Board of Review (ABR) was created around 2002 with the mission of helping maintain design and appearance standards in the downtown (see map.) “Establishing Design & Development Guidelines” is one of the key objectives of the Downtown Strategic Plan (see pp. 46-47,) which we continue to implement as we continue to adopt a Main Street Four Point Approach. It’s important because it’s clear that higher standards mean better looking downtowns and increased property values.

The ABR does this by reviewing all exterior changes being proposed by property owners (including any demolition) to ensure that it meets the ABR Guidelines. Anyone wanting to make changes must fill out a one-page “Certificate of Appropriateness” Application, which then gets reviewed by the ABR to ensure it meets the guidelines. The ABR typically meets twice a month. And, as with fire and building guidelines and permits, if a property owner goes ahead and makes changes that are against the guidelines they will likely be asked to remedy the situation and could potentially face financial penalties and criminal sanctions.

In order to make the process painless and easy, property owners should contact Amy Reinhart, Tiffin’s Downtown Development Coordinator, first. Amy will guide them through the process and acts as a liaison to the ABR. She will help property owners evaluate what they want to do and work with them to determine if proposed changes do meet the ABR Guidelines.

Amy can be reached by cell at 419.619.5517 or by email at reinhart@senecacounty.org. See ABR Members on the City’s committee website.

Current Process

  1. Location – Verify the property falls in the Downtown Design District
  2. Discussion – Contact Amy Reinhart and discuss proposed changes
  3. Application – Fill out the Certificate of Appropriateness Application
  4. Review – Amy Reinhart reviews the application for adherence to Design Guidelines and any further changes/edits are made
  5. Submission – Amy submits final application to ABR and determines ABR meeting date for presentation & vote
  6. Approval – Amy and property owner appear at ABR, project is discussed and vote taken
  7. Certificate – Certificate of Appropriateness is given to the property owner

ReferenceTiffin City Code (Chapter 1131) on Design Review Regulations, including the ABR’s authority.