PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission approved the purchase of land for Kettering Health Network (KHN) to put a helicopter land pad next to the Piqua Municipal Airport during its meeting Tuesday evening.
The commission began its meeting Tuesday by going into executive session to consider the purchase or sale of property for public purposes and to prepare for and review negotiations on compensation or other terms and conditions of employment for city personnel.
The commission later approved purchasing 2 acres of land on State Route 185, Washington Township, which is vacant land adjacent to the Piqua Municipal Airport. The land is controlled by U.S. Bank, which manages the Hartzell Trust that owns the land. The cost is $75,000.
“We have been in discussions with Kettering Health Network about locating their MedFight operation to the Piqua Municipal Airport,” City Manager Gary Huff said. “This would be a 24-7 regional emergency operation facility.”
The medical helicopter operation center would serve a five-county area.
Huff said the city will purchase the land and lease it to KHN, who would then construct their facilities on the site. By having the city own the property and lease it to KHN, the city would have control of the site in the future should KHN ever stop operating the facility. The city is still negotiating the lease with KHN.
Bill Jaqua of Piqua spoke against this purchase, saying, “I don’t know why you have to use our money.”
Jaqua suggested the lease would not be able to recover the costs the city is spending on purchasing the land. Huff said it was worth while to have the facility and service that would be provided to the community there “no matter what the price is.”
Also during its meeting, the commission authorized for the sale of city-owned property, transferring the property for $1, as the land is canal land owned by the city upon which a nearby building and parking lot improvement is encroaching. The owner of the property with the nearby building and parking lot, located at the corner of Spring and High streets, is seeking to sell this property. Community and Economic Development Director Chris Schmiesing explained that remedying this encroachment will allow for further community and economic development to occur downtown.
The commission then authorized for the following properties to be accepted into the Land Reutilization Program and conveyed to the Piqua Improvement Corporation: 823 Broadway, 428 S. Main St., 535 S. Main St., 514 Spring St., and 529 W. Water St. The Piqua Improvement Corporation will reimburse the city approximately $600 per property.
The commission also authorized applying for Safe Route to School funding for infrastructure improvements at Piqua City Schools, which include a variety of crosswalk, curb, and other walkway improvements at Washington Primary School, Piqua Central Intermediate School, and the Piqua Junior High School. The total cost of the infrastructure improvements is not to exceed $22,304, of which none the city would be responsible for zero percent of the authorized construction and other costs.
The commission also approved entering into a collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Works, Inc. (AFSCME), which represents the city’s blue collar clerical employees, for between Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2022. The agreement included a 2.5 percent cost of living wage increase.
Commissioner Thomas Fogt was absent Tuesday.