Middletown picks top Lakota official as new superintendent

I had the pleasure of being involved in the community side of the interview process for the new Superintendent.   I would like to commend the School Board for making a great choice for your new leader.  Marlon Style’s, Jr. showed poise and spoke with passion about how he would move the Middletown City School District forward.

Every month the President of the Chamber of Commerce and the school Superintendent and I get together for breakfast and discuss what is going on in the school district, the business community and the city and how we are impacting and partnering with each other to get the best outcomes across the board.  Rick Pearce and I look forward to meeting with Marlon to offer our assistance to help him get a running start in Middletown.

You’ve heard the old saying “it takes a village to raise a child.”   It is going to take the entire community working together to continue to rebuild Middletown to prosperity and to get our school district operating at its best level possible.  Marlon and I will need every single one of you actively in the game to make this happen.

To Marlon –  Welcome to Middletown, and I look forward to working with you closely.  You have the full support of the city as you start your tenure here.

To my friend Sam Ison –  Thank you for your service to this community and I wish you the best as you move on to new adventures in Waynesville.

If you missed the Journal article announcing Mr. Styles’ appointment, click on the link below:

Middletown picks top Lakota official as new superintendent

Midnight Basketball Returns this Summer

Midnight Basketball returns for our youth this summer.   Events will be held on

May 26, 2017

June 9, 2017

June 23, 2017

July 7, 2017

July 21, 2017 

The event is from 9p-Midnight and students must arrive no later than 9:30 p.m.

 Cost is $2.00 per student. Recently, we received word that Miami University Regionals will sponsor the events this year! 


 Support the YMCA and help to keep our kids safe and involved in productive activities! 

From the 2016 program:


City Investment in Downtown Businesses

Our friends over at Middletown USA seem fixated on the millions of dollars that we pump into downtown each year.  I thought it was important to lay out the facts and then have a discussion.   I started on this blog post yesterday and hit the wrong button and published it half written.  I apologize for the confusion if you saw the earlier posting.

Our intention was always to prime the pump for private sector commercial redevelopment and then to get out of the way.  We did that with Pendelton Arts Center and Cincinnati State and earlier with Beau Verre.   Here is our investment in downtown since I took over as City Manager in 2015:

New Businesses 2015

  1. Savorie Artisan Market & Café  (No City investment)
  2. Triple Moon Coffee Company (No City investment)
  3. eMage Signs & Graphics  (No City investment)
  4. Society (No City investment)
  5. Mockingbirds (No City investment)
  6. The Windamere (Sold city building for $140,000 for re-use*)
  7. Gallery on Clinton (No City investment)
  8. Flores Leather Works (No City investment)

New Businesses in 2016

  1. West Central Wine (No City investment)
  2. House of Lux (No City investment)
  3. @theSquare (No City investment)
  4. My Favorite Things (No City investment)
  5. Shutter Girls (No City investment)
  6. Lester’s Rock N Roll (No City investment)
  7. Bethsaida Total Body (No City investment)
  8. Haven Yoga (No City investment)
  9. Haven Kids Play Place (No City investment)
  10. Torchlight Pass (CRA Agreement**, vacated alley for outdoor seating)
  11. My Mobile (No City investment)
  12. 1214 Central Store (No City investment)
  13. Haute Fusion Studio (No City investment)
  14. SoulCraft (No City investment)
  15. MC Hair (No City investment)
  16. Canal Pub @the Landing (No City investment)
  17. Irodawgz Training Academy  (No City investment)
  18. All About You Café & Catering (No City investment)
  19. Collective Studio (No City investment)
  20. Pearl’s Tattoo Supply (No City investment)
  21. Hanavan Figurative Art Studio (No City investment)
  22. D&D Doggie Wash (No City investment)
  23. Bold Traditions Tattoo (No City investment)

New Studios/Spacesin PAC in 2016  (No further City investment in PAC)

  1. llyson Turner
  2. Creative Vibe
  3. Jelly Doodles by Cassie
  4. Bittersweet Farms
  5. Jeremy Damron
  6. Kathy Larue
  7. Jenni Salazar
  8. Jessica Trammell
  9. Margaret Sampson
  10. Michelle Harney
  11. Johnathan Sparks

New Businesses in 2017 To Date

  1. The Slice  (No City investment)
  2. Liberty Spirits (CRA Agreement **)
  3. CJ’s Game Stop (No City Investment)
  4. Central Market & Deli (No City Investment)
  5. Spoken Bicycles (No City investment)
  6. All About You 2 Café (No City investment)
  7. One Market & Eatery​​ (Sold city building for $1 and Redevelopment Agreement***)

Coming Soon in 2017

  1. Gracie’s (No City Investment)
  2. Rolling Mills Brewing Company (No City investment)
  3. The Living Tree (No City investment)
  4. Central Tap & Pint (Vacated alley for outdoor seating)
  5. Central Ave Used Furniture (No City investment)
  6. UR Antiques & Sweets (ice cream shop)(No City investment)
  7. A dance studio next to Crab Apple (no name yet)(No City investment)

The City has also provided funding for the façade grant program.  This is a reimbursable grant for exterior repairs to storefronts.   The façade grant program is funded through a HUD program from the 1980’s called UDAG.  Here is HUD’s explanation of the program:

“The Secretary is authorized to make urban development action grants to cities and urban counties which are experiencing severe economic distress to help stimulate economic development activity needed to aid in economic recovery. There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $225,000,000 for fiscal year 1988, and $225,000,000 for fiscal year 1989. Any amount appropriated under this subsection shall remain available until expended.”

We have been loaning and recycling that fund since 1989.  DMI (Downtown Middletown Inc.) currently oversees the receipt of applications and the distribution of funding for façade grants.  To date it has been used for downtown façade renovations.  The thought was to utilize the grants in a small area to make a noticeable difference in storefront appearance. We have temporarily suspended the program for 2017 and are looking at future uses for the remaining funds, including opening the program up to some other dedicated area outside of downtown.

The following grants have been made since 2015:

Year                        Owner                                                  Amount

2015                     Middletown Arts Center                     $ 1,890.00

2015                     Middletown Better Homes                $ 2,000.00

2015                     Barbara Park Realty                          $ 10,000.00

2015                     Pendleton Corp                                  $ 7,713.00

2015                     2005 Group                                         $    956.00

2015                    Art Central Foundation                    $ 1,693.00

2015                   Middletown Better Homes               $  5,000.00

2015                   Cincy by the Slice                               $ 4000.00

2015                   Denny Lumber                                   $ 4,000.00

2015                   Art Central Foundation                   $ 1,500.00

2015                   Liberty Spirits                                   $ 2,000.00

2015                   1310 Pendleton                                 $ 3,000.00

2016                   Liberty Spirits                                  $     500.00

2016                  Torchlight Pass, LLC                       $ 30,000.00

2016                 All About You Catering                   $  600.00

2016                One Market Eatery                           $ 7,926.00

2016                Gracie’s LLC                                       $20,000.00

2016                Central Y Canal Investment           $ 1,580.00

2016                West Central Wine                          $  432.00

Total:                                                                        $104,840.00

* To review the Windamere Agreement, click here:

Windamere – Sale of Bank One Bldg.

**For an explanation on CRA Agreements, see the blog post : Community Reinvestment Area Agreements Downtown

Torchlight Pass CRA Agreement:

Torchlight Pass-CRA

***To review the Liberty Spirits Agreement for One Market Eatery, click here:

Liberty Spirits development agreement – One Market

Liberty Spirits CRA Agreement for Distillery:

Liberty Spirits-CRA

In the same way we primed the pump for commercial redevelopment, we are now investing in the Goetz Tower market rate apartments with the hope to stimulate downtown residential redevelopment.  I’ve covered the Goetz Tower project in a few other posts so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here.

This is what we have invested in downtown businesses since 2015.  The façade grant program is funded  completely by 1988-1989 federal grant dollars.  You have, in fact, almost no local tax dollars invested in downtown businesses since 2015, let alone millions of dollars.



Free transit rides for bicycle commuters on Bike to Work Day

Cyclists across the Greater Cincinnati region can commute for FREE on Friday, May 19, thanks to a partnership between Metro, the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK), Clermont Transportation Connection (CTC) and Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCRTA) to celebrate National Bike to Work Day.

The transit organizations will show bicycle commuters just how easy it is to bike and ride by offering free fare on May 19 only for riders who use the easy and convenient racks to store their bicycles while riding the bus.

Bike racks are located on the front of all Metro, TANK, CTC and BCRTA buses and can be used at all bus stops including Metro’s Government Square downtown. Each bike rack accommodates two bikes. For safety reasons, bikes are not allowed on-board buses unless they can be folded and stowed under a seat.

Metro and TANK have been recognized as “Bike Friendly Destinations” for providing advocacy and infrastructure improvements to support bicycling for employees and riders since 2011. 

About Metro

Metro is a non-profit, tax-funded public service of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, providing about 15 million rides per year. Metro’s website is www.go-metro.com.

About TANK

The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky is an integral part of the Northern Kentucky community, serving Boone, Campbell, and Kenton counties as well as downtown Cincinnati for more than 30 years. Nearly 4 million passengers each year rely on the more than 100 TANK buses throughout the region to get them where they need to be. TANK is on the web at www.tankbus.org.

 About CTC

CTC is the primary provider of public transportation in Clermont County. Founded in 1977 as CART (Clermont Area Rural Transit), CTC has continued to evolve and now offers three fixed routes in addition to its Dial-A-Ride services. Visit CTC online at http://ctc.clermontcountyohio.gov. 


Butler County Regional Transit Authority is a public agency created in 1994 to better meet the needs of Butler County residents and to improve the quality of life and economic development through public transportation solutions. Visit BCRTA’s website at www.butlercountyrta.com.


Middletown Division of Police to host RITE Training

We’re excited to share that the Middletown Division Police will be hosting and participating in Racial Intelligence Training and Engagement (RITE) training. The training will not only be for Middletown Police, but we’re inviting surrounding police departments to join us in participating as well.

RITE training is said to de-escalate 95% of police calls, using both social intelligence (SI) and emotional intelligence (EI). These skills, when used together, enhance verbal skills and help to build trust and communication between the community and local law enforcement.

This is something that both the Middletown Division of Police and the City of Middletown are passionate about bringing to Middletown. Learning social intelligence, emotional intelligence, trust-building, and resiliency for our officers are all cornerstones of what make MDP successful, and we’re looking to not only improve upon these skills internally with MDP, but we’d love to open our doors to give surrounding police departments to build with us as well.

In case you’re curious…

Emotional Intelligence: being aware of emotions, knowing that emotions drive behavior which impacts others (both good and bad).

Social Intelligence: how we effectively navigate and negotiate all outside relationships and situations.

The RITE training will be in June at the Middletown Police Department. If you are a member of local law enforcement and are interested in participating, please contact MDP or register online: training@riteacademy.com.


Family Movie Nights Are Back!

Family Movie Nights are coming back to Middletown!

Starting June 2, you’ll be able to bring your family out on Friday evenings to different locations around Middletown for a free, family-friendly film outside with your friends and neighbors. All of the movies are free, open to the public, and will start at sunset (weather permitting).

For more information, check out the Family Movie Nights page here – this is where weather updates will be shared as well (along with the City’s Facebook page too!).

For questions and concerns, please contact Jeri Lewis with Kingswell at jlewis@kingswell.us.



Check Your Smoke Detectors

As we approach the warmer months, we often forget about our smoke detectors since we’re all looking forward to spending more time outside. However, it’s important to remember to keep your smoke detector batteries up-to-date by checking the batteries and replacing them, or the smoke detector as a whole, if needed. The Middletown Division of Fire recommends that you check your batteries at least twice a year and that you consider replacing a smoke detector that is over 10 years old.

As stated this week in the Journal News, Middletown fire officials believe a working smoke detector may have saved the life of a man who died in an apartment fire this past Saturday night.

Officials: Smoke detectors could have saved Middletown man’s life

While we can never say for certain that no one will die in a fire, a working smoke detector is one of the best tools available to give you the most time to get to safety.  If you are a Middletown resident, the Middletown Division of Fire has smoke detectors that you can use in your home that have a 10-year, lithium battery inside. If you rent, please remember that your landlords are requires to have a smoke detector in your unit – but it is up to you, the tenant, to make sure it is updated with new batteries.

Please contact the Middletown Division of Fire at 513-425-7996 with any questions you may have regarding fire safety.

To acquire a smoke detector from the Middletown Division of Fire, stop by Fire Headquarters at 2300 Roosevelt Boulevard during normal business hours 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Take a few minutes, check your batteries, and stay safe Middletown!