- Mike Rutledge Staff Writer
Hamilton leaders made their State of the City presentation Thursday.
Here are 5 key takeaways from the presentation by City Manager Joshua Smith and Mayor Patrick Moeller:
1. City’s strengths, successes because of its people
Hamilton’s strength lies with its people, and particularly city employees and those who have helped nurture events in the city, Smith said, thanking both groups.
The city’s 17 Strong efforts, which aim to strengthen all 17 of Hamilton’s neighborhoods, are critical, and officials will continue pouring more resources into the program in future budgets, Smith said.
2. Help needed to grow middle class, fight opioid epidemic
Moeller said: “Our vision is to encourage and improve the lives of the unemployed, the under-employed, and those in the clutches of the opioid epidemic. And also, I personally have a vision that I want to grow the middle class here in this city.”
3. Main Street continues to see retail gains
Hamilton’s Main Street corridor is growing into a vibrant place for shopping, with eclectic stores that provide things that aren’t found elsewhere, said Smith, who encouraged people to shop local Nov. 25 in Hamilton.
Smith also called it “a grand slam” that Quarter Barrel restaurant from Oxford is creating a new restaurant at the southwest corner of B and Main streets that will feature rooftop dining; and the high-quality Tano restaurant also is planned for several blocks to the east, at The Marcum apartment and retail complex downtown.
Attractive street lights will be installed along Main Street next year.
4. 2018 goals set for mega sports complex project
With the proposed Spooky Nook Sports at Champion Mill project, “It is our goal to see positive construction activity on the site (of the former Champion Paper mill) in 2018,” Smith said.
He noted the federal government is talking about getting rid of historic tax credits, “which would be a huge blow to the project,” but Smith said Spooky Nook owner Sam Beiler “is a fighter” who is not giving up on the project.
5. City may create open container district
With development, Smith said, it’s important to have a grand vision, but also incremental progress, something he said the city is accomplishing.
- The Joint Economic Development District created by Fairfield Twp. and Hamilton shows great promise, Smith said.
- Following Middletown’s lead, the city may create a Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area next year, where people are allowed to stroll around carrying alcoholic drinks.
- There soon will be an announcement about who will fill the building formerly occupied by J. Austin’s Riverbank Café, at the northwest corner of Main and B streets.