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NEW DETAILS: Developer plans to transform 158-year-old Oregon District church

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

We take you inside Monument Walk, a Charlie Simms development in Downtown Dayton. Video by Amelia Robinson

The developer purchasing a 158-year-old Oregon District church says the building’s next chapter might involve a restaurant, apartments and shops. 

>> MORE: Iconic church in the Oregon District being sold

As this news organization first reported, St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 239 Wayne Ave. is in the process of being sold to Weyland Ventures, the developers of The Wheelhouse project, located nearby at 210 Wayne Ave. 

>> Construction boom: 10 downtown Dayton projects

Mariah Gratz, Weyland Ventures’ CEO, said her Louisville-based company is evaluating the best use of the church, but it could be the future site of retail business and a restaurant. 

The parish hall could be used as housing, she said. 

“We have some initial concepts. We have not finalized that,” she said. “We have to finish up our market studies and analysis.” 

>> PHOTOS: Look inside the new Wheelhouse Lofts in Dayton’s Oregon District

St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church pastor Robert E. Miller confirmed that the church at 239 Wayne Ave. will close after Christmas service 2017.(Photo: Amelia Robinson)

St. Paul’s will close December 31. The church dates back to 1859. Its steeple was built around 1869, and the parish hall in 1954.

Gratz said the company plans to keep the building’s features. 

“We love historic buildings,” she said. “We try to save them, especially the ones that have good bones and and stories to tell.” 

The Wheelhouse Lofts are in the historic Weustoff and Getz building, which was constructed in 1868. 

Tom GilliamWheelhouse Lofts is the adaptive reuse of the historic Weustoff and Getz building, once used as a machine shop, tool room and assembly room for automobiles. The four-story building is being converted into 40 loft-style apartments with restaurant and retail space on the first floor. Troll Pub Under the Bridge, a 6,500 square foot bar and restaurant with a courtyard will be among the tenants.(Tom Gilliam/Tom Gilliam)

>> RELATED: City works to preserve ‘rich urban fabric’ (Aug. 12, 2015) 

That development includes a 40-unit apartment building and a Troll Pub restaurant and bar location.

Speakeasy Yoga also plans to open a second location in the Wheelhouse building, Gratz told this news organization. 

St. Paul pastor Robert E. Miller said in July that the church will close at the end of the year and was looking for a buyer.

The church now has fewer than 100 members and many are elderly. The average age of a worshiper is 73. The church can only pay 40 percent of its bills through collections. The rest comes from its dwindling investment fund. 

Earlier this week, Miller said the congregation intends to “pay it forward” by supporting charitable causes and its employees. Additional details will be released later about its plans. 

Gratz said the building’s sale is expected to be finalized by the end of the year. The building fits into the Weyland’s overall plans for development in Dayton, she said. More development is possible. 

“We always have our eye on the area,” Gratz said. “We will be looking for strategic pieces when they pop up.” 


KITTY NEWS: Fairborn getting its very own cat cafe 

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 6:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 3:46 PM

Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson recently announced the StreetCats cat cafe. The initiative is design to help address the city's stray and homeless cat issues. Photo: The City of Fairborn.
Photo: The City of Fairborn.
Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson recently announced the StreetCats cat cafe. The initiative is design to help address the city's stray and homeless cat issues. Photo: The City of Fairborn.(Photo: The City of Fairborn.)

Fairborn will soon have something to purrrr about. 

StreetCats, a volunteer-driven organization, is planning to open a “cat cafe” at 14 N. Third St. in downtown Fairborn.

>> RELATED: 22 reasons to visit Fairborn

The cafe/cat resource center is part of a tactical approach  between the city and several agencies to address the community’s stray and homeless cat population.

It will allow people a chance to play with cats, Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson said in the recent Facebook Live  message he delivered while covered in purring cats and kittens. 

>> MORE: Dayton’s first ‘catfe’ opening soon — and here are its first tenants  

“It is not only a fun thing, but also a very important thing we are trying to do,” Anderson said in the video. “Fairborn is getting creative.” 

The cat cafe is set to open in January with the hope to expand to a larger space in the future. 

In addition to cats, there will be art classes, yoga and free WiFi, plus coffee and baked goods. 

Anderson said the cat cafe is a way to address the city’s on-going issues with homeless and stray cats in a humane way. 

The organization will help find new homes for displaced house cats and offer services that will allow cats to be dropped off to be neutered and released, said Anderson, a self-proclaimed “cat person.”

“StreetCats aims to become a lightning rod for change, a clearinghouse for information and a creative place to connect interested community members,” an email to this news organization from Anderson said. 

StreetCats will be housed in city-owned property near that city’s kitchen incubator and a co-working space in the former site of Roush's Restaurant.

The initiative has the support of a number of animal groups, Elisabeth Fitzhugh of Blue’s Mews Siamese Cat Rescues told this news organization. 

“I am actually thrilled by what (Anderson) is doing,” she said.

>> RELATED: This new Fairborn store offers horrifying oddities

>> RELATED: Pepsi moving 150 jobs to Fairborn, closing Dayton, Springfield sites

Fairborn City Manager Rob Anderson recently announced the StreetCats cat cafe. The initiative is design to help address the city's stray and homeless cat issues. Photo: The City of Fairborn.(Photo: The City of Fairborn.)

County’s highest property values? Washington Twp. now tops Kettering

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 11:38 AM
Updated: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 3:44 PM

Washington Twp. had the most 2017 gains in property values in the county. Realtor Jeff Spring stands inside a 17,000-square foot home in Washington Twp. that was for sale. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Washington Twp. had the most 2017 gains in property values in the county. Realtor Jeff Spring stands inside a 17,000-square foot home in Washington Twp. that was for sale. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

After factoring in new construction, Washington Twp. had the most 2017 gains in property values in the county, according to a final analysis by the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office.

During a tentative report on values over the summer, Kettering held the mantle. But the final triennial review shows Washington Twp. up more than $270 million, and Kettering gained $218 million. Washington Twp. also got a boost from a $15.5 million Board of Revision increase to the value of Whole Foods Plaza.

RELATED: Montgomery County property values rebound from historic drop

“We are seeing values increase countywide. That’s not true of every neighborhood, and it’s not true of every community,” said Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith. “But most communities across the county are seeing increases.”

Because of a rebound in housing sales, property values rose or held even in all but four of Montgomery County’s 28 jurisdictions, Keith told about 70 local officials Thursday.

The final values approved by the state department of taxation will determine how much money local jurisdictions and school districts can expect to receive from the unvoted portion of local taxes.

Value changes will result in about $4.1 million in more revenue spread across the county’s jurisdictions, according to the auditor’s office. School districts will see more than half that, including Centerville’s, estimated to get an additional $657,517, and Kettering, $466,554. Three districts, Dayton, New Lebanon and Trotwood-Madison are expected to see a slight decrease.

By percentage, Oakwood’s values – buoyed almost entirely by past residential sales – rose the most, nearly 13 percent.

Final values dropped in Jefferson Twp., Perry Twp., Jackson Twp. and Harrison Twp. But the values dipped in those county’s more rural townships primarily due to a change in the way agricultural land is taxed. The formula was changed to ease the burden on farmers, some who had seen taxes climb as much as 300 percent in recent years. The change resulted in about a 30 percent reduction – or $82 million – decline in agricultural land values.

RELATED: Home values have risen in all Montgomery County communities but one

The gain in values countywide will mean an increase for some in the unvoted portion of property taxes. The owner of a $100,000 house that increased in value 6 percent from the last review will pay about $19 a year more. Currently, that homeowner pays about $306. The inside millage accounts typically for about 10 percent of an overall property tax bill, according the auditor’s office.

VIDEOS: Meteor spotted in Ohio, Michigan, Canada

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 10:06 PM

Meteorite spotted over midwestern states

The meteor lit up the sky Tuesday just after 8 p.m.

>>Bitter cold temperatures to continue

The dashboard cam video was shared by Mike Austin as he was driving north on I-75 near Bloomfield Hills, north of Detroit, Michigan. 

>>2017 fireball caught on WHIO-TV weather camera

The meteor was also seen from northwest Ohio and southwest Ontario, Canada. 

It is not known whether the meteor dissipated in the atmosphere or made it to the ground or into Lake Michigan.

Dashcam video shot by WWMT/Kalamazoo photo journalist Zack Lawler in Battle Creek, Michigan.

MONTAGE: Beams of light caused by meteor in Michigan

Dayton apartment residents able to stay after judge issues order

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 1:15 PM

Judge tours building to make sure residents have heat

UPDATE @ 3:02 p.m.:

Judge Richard Skelton has issued a temporary restraining order that blocks the city of Dayton’s emergency vacate order for the Newcom building.  

Skelton said the building owner must purchase infrared heaters today for the remaining 18 tenants in the building.  He ordered that the building be available for inspection to the court.

Skelton said he will review the matter every two days and planned to inspect the building tonight.  “I will be watching this very closely,” Skelton said.

UPDATE @ 2:07 p.m.:

Judge Richard Skelton said he is willing to work with the building owner to avoid kicking residents out of their homes.

But he said he wants to know how quickly owner Howard Heck can acquire infrared heaters for the 18 residents who remain in the building. 

WATCH: Residents live in apartment building with no heat

RELATED: Dayton issues vacate order for downtown apartment building

About seven residents have moved out owing to the vacate order. 

Heck’s attorney at first said his client would order the heaters on Amazon, but Skelton said he wanted a quick and definite plan for obtaining the heaters. 

Skelton took a short recess in court to allow Heck time to try to figure out how he could get the heaters quickly. 


The roughly 50 residents of a downtown Dayton apartment building who were ordered to vacate by Tuesday if the heating system was not repaired were awaiting the results of an emergency hearing this afternoon

Last week, city of Dayton housing inspection officials issued an emergency vacate order to residents at the Newcom Building, located at 255 N. Main St.

The building’s boiler was shut off because it was releasing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, which can cause deadly poisoning.

Dayton crews discovered high levels of carbon monoxide in the boiler room after responding to a medic call at the Newcom building.

RELATED: Dayton issues vacate order for downtown apartment building

The city told the building’s ownership it had to repair or replace the boiler by Tuesday or the building would be boarded up and all residents would be required to leave.

The building is not safe to live in because it does not have a functioning heating system, officials said, and the especially cold weather poses a threat to residents.

A small number of residents had moved out by Tuesday late morning, but most do not have any place to go and moving itself would be very difficult since some residents are elderly or disabled, said Bradley Brumit, who lives in the building.