The Community Revitalizing Paulding (CoRP) group met last week to discuss progress on downtown Paulding becoming a historic district. Among those attending were Councilman Tim Boss (left) and businessman Don Foltz. Carrie Onder/Paulding County Progress
The Community Revitalizing Paulding (CoRP) group met last week to discuss progress on downtown Paulding becoming a historic district. Among those attending were Councilman Tim Boss (left) and businessman Don Foltz. Carrie Onder/Paulding County Progress
By CARRIE ONDER

Correspondent

PAULDING – Downtown building owners gathered at Branch Christian Fellowship Jan. 29 for the second meeting hosted by CoRP (Community Revitalizing Paulding) for an update regarding the application for establishing downtown Paulding as a historic district and to learn about business incentive programs for saving energy.

David Burtch, chairman of CoRP, informed the downtown building owners that the preliminary application to become a historic district has been completed. A letter was received from the Ohio History Connection stating that Paulding was a “good candidate.”

Burtch went on to explain that on Feb. 20, CoRP will meet with Ohio History Connection for a couple of hours. Following a tour of the downtown area, a meeting will be held to discuss the boundaries of the district, which buildings will be considered contributing buildings, as well as reviewing the process needed to become a historic district.

Following that meeting, the process will proceed to the formal application, which Burtch stated is several inches thick and will require hiring a consultant. He reassured the group, “There is money available from grants to pay for that consultant.”

Burtch continued, “The historical district doesn’t stand alone; it is just one of several steps, one of several components and one of several organizations that we are attempting to bring together and all focus on this one aspect to upgrade our downtown.”

Additional components include focusing on improved entertainment and dining options, new businesses in vacant store fronts and new housing options.

“All this stuff needs to happen together,” Burtch said.

Organizations working along with CoRP include Paulding Chamber of Commerce, Paulding Economic Development, Paulding CIC (Community Investment Corporation), Paulding Village, Paulding County, Paulding County Vision Board, private investors, downtown business owners, Maumee Valley Planning Organization (MVPO) and RCAP (Rural Community Assistance Partnership).

Burtch informed the group that CoRP has a binder full of information and photos regarding the revitalization project that was completed in late 1990s when the awnings were installed along with other various improvements. That project cost $1.2 million and was completed through the Paulding Chamber of Commerce and Paulding Economic Development.

“It took them (chamber and economic development) five times to get the grants to put that package together,” Burtch said.

“This is going to cost some money and we will be looking at grants, looking at donations, looking at sponsorships.”

Burtch went on to explain that CoRP will be hiring a paid executive director who will be the driver of this process. He also stated that they will be offering individual and corporate membership programs to help raise funds.

“We need to find something to sell in the storefronts that is different from what WalMart has and can draw people to downtown,” Burtch said.

Burtch stated that they will be working with RCAP through a entrepreneurship program grant that will contain a youth component. In addition to working with RCAP, they will work with Lisa Becher of Northwest State Community College.

Attention then shifted to John Recker, community and customer experience account manager for AEP Ohio, to review energy-saving business incentive programs.

“There are three ways to tap into the long list of incentives,” said Recker.

The first way is to meet with a registered AEP electrical contractor who knows the AEP business incentive programs and is more likely willing to help complete the necessary paperwork.

The second method is to contact an AEP energy advisor to conduct an opportunity assessment. Once the opportunity assessment is complete, the advisor will provide a list of recommendations, along with what incentive programs work best for those recommendations.

Recker said the AEP energy advisor can also help complete the paperwork.

The third method is to complete a self-install where the building owner completes the energy-saving project then completes the paperwork on their own. Upon completion, they would then receive the rebate.

Recker stressed to the building owners these incentive programs are available for projects completed within the last six months and information regarding the incentive programs can be found on the AEP Ohios website under the “Save Energy” tab (www.aepohio.com/save/residential/).”

Jerry Zielke, dirctor of Paulding County Economic Development, noted when they completed work on the Small Business Innovation Center, they did the third method of self-install where they completed the paperwork for the rebates.

“If somebody needs some help we can help,” said Zielke. “There are savings to be had. I just want people to be aware that as we remodel buildings and fix buildings up, there are some incentives here that can help with the cost.”

Recker said there are some financing options available to help with cost.