XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – New Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman marks his first full day on the job Friday.
His new position means he inherits Xenia’s challenges to upgrade its downtown.
Welcome to Downtown Xenia is the greeting that city leaders hope will become a mantra for the region.
“We’re facing tough financial obstacles, absolutely. Dollars are scarce,” said Merriman.
Merriman knows that enhancing the greeting is going to take a lot of convincing investors as well as residents.
“Xenia’s 10 year plan for downtown redevelopment creates great opportunities for business growth, but it also leaves room for creative ways to fund all of that.”
One of the challenges is to bring grocery and retail options to replace Kmart.
Another is to fill empty tenant spaces for several buildings.
“I think it’s a good plan, just have to wait and see. Private investment dollars will be key.”
One of the measures that can be used to pay for redevelopment is tax increment financing. That takes property taxes earmarked for the school district, using some of that money to redevelop downtown. That same tactic was used to rebuild after the Xenia tornado in 1974.
The city manager says that funding plan is a conversation that has to be had with the new superintendent and the school board.