Council talks Stalsworth, park

Tiffin City Council continued to mull over two pressing issues during a special council meeting, Monday night.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz gave an update about a business that is interested in the Stalsworth property, located at 25 E. Market St., that the city is considering purchasing.

He said he is not at liberty to disclose the business’ name, but it is “definitely coming to Tiffin.” The business will bring a $2.5 million-$2.8 million investment, and has a goal of opening this fall.

The business is mostly interested in coming to the downtown area because it is close to both college campuses, and the Stalsworth property is an “ideal spot.”

“It’s the kind of place that will be very popular with the college kids and young adults,” Montz said.

He said if the business is to buy the property from the city, it would not want the warehouse that was once the Nightmare Within haunted house, so the city would have to tear that building down as well.

“They have not guaranteed they will go in the (Stalsworth) location,” Montz said. “It’s still a risk; they are very interested.”

Finance Director Gwynn Reinhart said the Venture Capital Fund does not have enough money to purchase the property and demolish the buildings.

Reinhart said most of the Capital Improvement Fund has already been budgeted as well.

Councilwoman Lori Ritzler said she does not support taking any money from the General Fund to finance this project.

Councilman Mark Hayes said if the business does not buy the Stalsworth property, the city can wait to tear down the buildings and use Community Development Block Grant money from 2014.

Council President Paul Elchert said Montz needs to come up with “harder numbers” for the council to consider purchasing the property any further.

Councilman Brian Bilger said the city could use the lodging tax and the Internet cafe tax to pay for the property and demolition.

Also during the special meeting, council heard the second of three readings of an ordinance that would permit consumption of alcohol in Hedges-Boyer Park for special events such as festivals.

Trustee of the Tiffin Music and Art Festival Mark Wade gave an update on security for the festival, which includes the Tiffin Police Department and the Tiffin Fire and Rescue Division.

“We’re going to do whatever (the city administration and council) asks,” he said. “We want to see this go off, and we want it to be safe.”

Councilman Jim Roberts said he is concerned about alcohol being served to intoxicated people.

“I don’t like sloppy drunks, and I don’t think we should have a bunch of sloppy drunks roaming around in a city park,” he said. “I just think that’s the wrong image; I’m sorry. And I won’t support it, if that’s the case.”

Craig Huffman, Tiffin resident, said events like the Heritage Festival have been managed properly, and said he is “really comfortable” with alcohol being served at the Tiffin Music and Art Festival.

Wade said the festival is working with SCAT to have shuttles available for people who need a ride home from the event. He also said the Eagles will provide parking for the festival and shuttles will take people to the festival from there.

“We’re doing our best to make sure this is a safe environment,” Wade said.

Montz said the administration is going to require the festival committee to meet with department heads to find out all the details for the event.

“I think this is a great idea, but I want to make sure we get it right the first time,” he said.

City Administrator Deb Reamer said she has heard concerns from the public about noise from the festival.

Lindsay Huffman-Dilks said she has planned events similar to the festival, and she said the festival committee has done a good job putting it together.

Council is expected to vote on the purchase of the Stalsworth property and the alcohol ordinance at Monday’s meeting.