Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill construction February 2020

Hamilton approves significant financing for Spooky Nook complex

In a meeting marked by coronavirus precautions — every other seat was marked as one not to be used so the audience was spaced out — City Manager Joshua Smith observed the promise of the gigantic indoor sports complex will be a rebound from when the former Champion Paper mill on North B Street permanently closed in 2012.

RELATED: Butler County coronavirus concerns affect schools, jail, voting and more

“It really takes us back to 2011, when Smart Paper, which was the successor of Champion Paper, took over the former Champion site, and I remember those days being very dark for us, as we had many conversations about what to do about what was once our largest private employer in the city of Hamilton, and that employed generations of families,” Smith said.

As a precaution, every other seat at Hamilton City Council’s Wednesday meeting was marked as a place people should not sit, as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. MIKE RUTLEDGE/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

“And to sit here today at what is the last piece of financing for the Spooky Nook mixed-use redevelopment project, it’s been a long almost 10 years to get to that point,” Smith said.

“When you think about 2011, where we were from a local-economy standpoint, in the past call it 9-10 years, with the diversification of our economy, with iMFLUX coming, which is wholly owned by Procter & Gamble; with 80 Acres developing multiple locations within the city; Infinite Acres; Salvagnini putting on a new $8 million addition as we speak; (ThyssenKrupp) Bilstein growing by over 700 employees during that same timeframe,” Smith said. “It’s really been gratifying to see our local economy become more diverse, but also more forward-looking.”

Hamilton’s annual payroll has grown by more than $300 million, he said.

The council, agreeing with actions last week by the Hamilton Community Authority, altered conditions associated with $36.1 million bonds to be sold to help fund what also will include hotels and a convention center, as well as restaurants and retail shops.

The bonds, to be purchased by an unnamed Dallas-base investor in developments, are to close March 20.

RELATED — Spooky Nook: With financing hurdle overcome, cranes to move

The city took other precautions against the virus. Among them, most heads of city departments were not present, as they usually are. Two presentations to the council were canceled. Also, the council announced the public could offer questions and comments during the meeting only about the 22 items on the agenda. Other matters would have to be sent by email.

Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.

X