They want to add a unique food market in Hamilton, and this old railroad freight house could be the spot

Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 5:00 AM

Abandoned freight storehouse envisioned as place for commerce, arts

A well-regarded expert on food-based developments such as farmers- and open-air markets recently visited Hamilton to determine the feasibility of such a project in the city.

Ted Spitzer, of Market Ventures Inc., based in Portland, Maine, spent the evening of Tuesday evening, Feb. 6, plus all day Wednesday meeting with various people and examining the former railroad freight house at 1000 Maple Ave. His goal was to see how successful it might be to convert the long-vacant complex into a market similar to Cincinnati’s Findlay Market or Columbus’ North Market.

RELATED: New Hamilton market could come to former rail freight warehouse

Jeff Gambrell, a member of the team seeking to create a market that also could include a theater space and other features, said Spitzer had some concerns about the project’s likelihood of success, but project advocates believe those possible hurdles can be overcome.

“The things he had reservations about were things our team had already considered,” Gambrell said.

While he was in town, Spitzer also visited other possible locations for such a market, Gambrell said. The freight house remains the primary proposed site for such a market, however.

Spitzer’s concerns included:

A group of citizens has launched an effort to create a market in Hamilton along the lines of Cincinnati’s Findlay Market in a former railroad freight house on Maple Avenue in Hamilton. The building is owned by Cohen Brothers, the recycling company, which is helping explore options for the facility’s future. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Staff Writer)

The site’s visibility is not great. Although the property is two blocks south of High Street, it is nearly invisible from one of the city’s major roadways.

“At one point, the whole gang was standing at the corner of East Avenue and High Street, because he wanted to get a good visual from the main road to see whether the market was visible or not, because that’s a big part of the study,” Gambrell said. “The market needs to be visible for people passing through.”

On the other hand, “our team has plans of having a wooden water tower there with the Freight House Market logo,” Gambrell said. “That would make it visible from High Street.”

Train traffic is so high in Hamilton, which could deter visitors.

“The freight house is almost surrounded, surrounded in three parts, by tracks,” Gambrell said.

Jungle Jim’s International Market could offer too much competition. Although Spitzer is an expert on such markets, Gambrell said he was awestruck by Jungle Jim’s.

MORE: Jungle Jim’s recognized as ‘one of the best grocery stores in America’

“He was blown away,” Gambrell said. “I don’t think he’s ever seen, in all his time, a market quite as large as that one. So he obviously has concerns about competition, but our team already knows that, and we feel they could actually complement each other.

“He checked out the building to get an idea of how much it would cost to fix the place up.”

A group of citizens has launched an effort to create a market in Hamilton along the lines of Cincinnati’s Findlay Market in a former railroad freight house on Maple Avenue in Hamilton. The building is owned by Cohen Brothers, the recycling company, which is helping explore options for the facility’s future. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Spitzer conducted one-hour sessions with various groups, including foodies, property owners and developers, neighborhood advocates, plus economic-development and planning officials, to see if there is a demand for such a facility.

Advocates of the market plan two public kick-off meetings on Wednesday, Feb. 28, at Miami University Hamilton’s Wilks Conference Center, the first from 6-7 p.m., and the other from 7-8 p.m.

One possibility for an alternative site is a vacant site in the German Village neighborhood, across the Great Miami River from the proposed Spooky Nook Sports at Champion Mill mega-sports complex, Gambrell said.

MORE: Winter softball, anyone? What huge Hamilton sports complex may offer

“In terms of visibility, that was a good location because they’re thinking of building a portion (of Spooky Nook) as a hotel,” Gambrell said. “The people who would be looking out their rooms would see the market across the river.”

Another location was in northern Lindenwald, he said.

A group of citizens has launched an effort to create a market in Hamilton along the lines of Cincinnati’s Findlay Market in a former railroad freight house on Maple Avenue in Hamilton. The building is owned by Cohen Brothers, the recycling company, which is helping explore options for the facility’s future. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Staff Writer)

Spitzer worked with billionaire and U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her husband, Dick DeVos, to create the impressive “Downtown Market Grand Rapids,” which, in addition to innovative food-related companies, also has kitchen spaces used by area students and companies that rent space in the market.

Alfred Hall, a leader of the market, announced he hopes a facility could be built out for around $3 million, not including costs of purchasing the freight house.

Neil Cohen of Cohen Brothers told advocates of the project, “It is our company’s, and my particular, interest in trying to make something happen on this property. I completely appreciate the value it could have for the community.

RELATED: Cohen buys Middletown building for new corporate office

“Whether it’s this project or any other project, we intend to contribute in any way we can, in some reasonable fashion to make sure the property is used somehow.”

Hall said he believes eventually something like the proposed market will happen, even if this current effort does not come to fruition, “and it will be a lot because of what the Cohen Brothers are doing, especially Neil.”

He added: “I believe this can be a citizen-based, greatly citizen-financed project that will have a dramatic effect on one of the most socially, economically depressed areas of our city, and I just think it’s the right thing to do.”

In addition, it can bring “fresh, affordable food, and culture, to that site, so that we can make it a safe, warm community gathering place,” Hall said.

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Stanford students protest school, Brock Turner case

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 6:13 AM

Group holds protest at Stanford related to Brock Turner case

Students of Stanford University protested the school in connection with the Brock Turner case for the way the school planned to honor the woman he assaulted in 2015.

The group of student protesters read passages from a letter written by the woman known as “Emily Doe” to the court Friday. 

>>More dry time expected to start this week

“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety.”

A plaque in “Doe’s” honor was to be installed, but the university reportedly refused to use her chosen quotes.

A Stanford University spokesman said two quotes could not be accepted because they would be triggering to survivors of sexual violence.

Turner spent three months in jail for the assault and lives in Greene County as a registered sex offender.

He appealed his conviction and has asked for a new trial.

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High water blocks some roads; troopers urge driver safety

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 1:54 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 5:43 AM

Flooding causes driving concern in Miami Valley

Heavy rains made for tough driving conditions Saturday, but high water remains a concern through the weekend.

Lower lying and more rural roads are at a greater risk of flooding, such as Ohio 68 in Beavercreek, and Ohio 725, which is closed until further notice between Peniwit and Lower Bellbrook roads.

>> Swollen waterways prompt flood watch, warnings along Great Miami R., other spots

“We just want motorists to take a little extra time in planning where they want to go,” Sgt. Rod Murphy of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Anyone planning to head out this morning should be aware of potential flooding that could block your way.

If you see standing water in the roadway, turn around, even if the water appears shallow.

“It’s not worth the risk. It’s better to just safely turn around and find another way,” Murphy said.

Water pushing out of man holes between Xenia Avenue and Pritz Avenue in Dayton Sunday morning.

>> Kasich declares emergency over Ohio flooding

On wet roadways another concern is hydroplaning, when tires lose their grip on the pavement. Motorists in that situation are advised to “just let off the gas, slow down, and try to get to a safe area,” Murphy said.

Late Saturday and early Sunday there were reports of flooding throughout the Miami Valley.

3:27 a.m.: High water reported at Wilson Road between Fenner Road and OH-55.

3:05 a.m.: South Valley at US-35 is shut-down due to high water.

1:45 a.m.: April Lane at New Germany Trebien Road and Beavery Valley Road closed.

12:00 a.m.: Upper Bellbrook Road reported having high water.

12:00 a.m.: High water on US-68 and North at Sutton Road caused a vehicle slide off and a police cruiser was damaged.

11:30 p.m.: Hebble Creek was out of its banks in Fairborn in Greene County

11:17 p.m.: A flash flood in Lebanon in Warren County led to multiple road closures throughout the county due to high water, including Morrow-Milgrove Road, Lower Springboro and South Pioneer roads and Corwin Road.

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Dunkin' Donuts introducing Girl Scout Cookie-flavored coffees

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 5:34 AM

Girl Scout Sells More Than 300 Boxes of Cookies Near Pot Dispensary

If you like flavored coffee and Girl Scout Cookies, you might be in luck.

Dunkin’ Donuts has announced that by Monday, Feb. 26, it will be selling three new flavored coffees inspired by Girl Scout Cookies.

>> Read more trending news 

Those flavors include Thin Mints, Coconut Caramel and Peanut Butter Cookie. These flavors will not just be limited to standard coffees.

Dunkin’ Donuts said in a Friday press release that iced and hot coffee, lattes, macchiatos, frozen coffee and frozen chocolate can all have Girl Scout Cookie flavors.

People on social media seem pretty excited about the news.

You’ll have to see for yourself if a Dunkin’ Donuts near you will be participating. If so, the coffees will be around through May.

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More dry time expected to start this week

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 4:52 AM

Counties under flood advisory until 10:30 a.m.:

Butler, Preble, Wayne (In.)

Counties under flood advisory until 10:45 a.m.:

Montgomery, Greene, Clinton, Warren

A pre-dawn shower is possible early today. Aside from that, there will be decreasing clouds and more afternoon sunshine with highs in the lower 50s. It’s also going to be a windy day with winds gusting over 30 miles per hour at times.

Quick-Look Forecast:

  • Flood watch continues through 10 a.m. today.
  • More dry time to start the week.
  • Rain returns Wednesday and Thursday.

>>WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

TONIGHT: A dry and cool night is expected. Temperatures will drop into the middle 30s.

MONDAY: Mostly sunny skies are expected with highs in the lower to middle 50s.

TUESDAY: We get back into the upper 50s with mostly sunny skies.

WEDNESDAY: The chance for rain returns in the afternoon and evening. Highs will be in the upper 50s.

THURSDAY: Rain showers are expected with highs in the middle 50s.

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