Relief program aims to help small businesses

By Aimee Hancock

Miami Valley Today

TROY — The Miami County Commissioners heard from the Department of Development regarding a small business relief grant program during its regular session on Tuesday.

DOD director Richard Osgood, along with planning and zoning manager Daniel Suerdieck, presented an overview of the details.

As part of the program, DOD will be administering a small business assistance grant program on behalf of the Miami County Commissioners for businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible small businesses and local non-profits can apply for up to $10,000 to use for reimbursement of rent/mortgage, utilities, business insurance, and other COVID-19-related expenses, including masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, plexiglass, and the like.

Miami County has $250,000 of the federal CARES Act funds budgeted toward this program, and grants will be awarded on a first-come first-served basis until the funds are depleted.

According to the DOD, the purpose of this grant is to aid small businesses which have been negatively affected by COVID-19 and have not already received other assistance.

Finalized details and instruction for how businesses and non-profits can apply will become available within the upcoming weeks.

The commissioners also heard from OSU Master Gardener Club representative David Pinkerton to propose the addition of a “floral quilt” to the courthouse plaza landscape.

A floral quilt, or simply a flower garden planted in the shape of quilt blocks, will cost between $900 to $1,000, Pinkerton said, adding that should this project be approved, the cost of the flowers would be paid for by private donations and/or with a grant from the Troy Foundation.

“What I’m proposing is your permission to do that if — and there are some big ifs to this yet — the Master Gardeners take it on as a project,” Pinkerton said.

As part of Pinkerton’s proposal, the Master Gardener Club would plant the garden, but would need assistance from the county for regular maintenance including weeding and watering.

The intricate garden would also need to be removed each winter and replanted in the spring, which Pinkerton said would be done by Master Gardener Club volunteers.

Commissioner Ted Mercer expressed concern over the maintenance of the garden.

“These quilts can be beautiful if they’re maintained properly, (but) if they’re not maintained they can grow together and you won’t see the definition,” Mercer said. “You’re asking the county to buy the topsoil, dig the area out, help you weed, (and) who is going to do the fertility? Who’s going to do the watering?”

Commissioners decided to table the proposal to allow Pinkerton the opportunity to hash out more specific details as how who would be responsible for daily and weekly upkeep.

Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday, and subsequently approved proposed changes to Miami County zoning rule with regard to two properties, including the rezoning of 7.744-acre track from general agriculture to domestic agriculture. The parcel is triangular in nature and consists of 815 feet of road frontage along Monroe-Concord Road and an eastern property line of 828 feet and 1,176 frontage along I-75.

The second approved change was to rezone a 1.6-acre track from general agriculture to single family residential. The proposed 1.6 acres has 230-feet of road frontage along DeWeese Road.

Commissioners awarded a contract in the amount of $951,119.91 to Ranger Earthworks LLC, of Casstown, for the completion of the village of Casstown’s “Various Streets Reconstruction Project,” as requested by the DOD.

Commissioners also accepted a quote from Classic Concrete Design LLC, of Covington, and authorized said company to repair the courthouse east steps, for a cost not to exceed $9,850.