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Tuesday, October 17, 2017
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RoyG View Drop Down
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    Posted: Oct 06 2017 at 1:49am
Hello My name is Roy Gordon candidate for city council 2017.  I read a forum couple weeks back here at Middletown USA. It talk about city council members and how they were in line with the Middletown city doctrine. Those members include current, former and even some that are running for city council that are on boards at the city. I think the biggest reason why people like that keep getting elected here is that people are afraid of being politically correct. This year we can use one thing out of Donald Trump's play book. What I mean, let's quit playing nice to the same old same old politics as usual. Lets call them for what they are bobble-heads. I will speak on what I have learned and studied from following city council for 16 months. I will use the lesson from my life and how i was raised. I will not make it personal. Some of It will not be political correct, because the poor, low income and Middle Class cant afford It any More in Our Beautiful city. You don't have to Vote for me but let's quit voting for these bobble-heads. Thank You Roy Gordon.
Roy Gordon
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swohio75 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 06 2017 at 7:48am
It would be great if you offered solutions versus jabs. 
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buddhalite View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote buddhalite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 06 2017 at 4:49pm
Roy,

We'd love to vote for anyone who is against the status quo....but you'll need more of a platform.

What do you stand for?  What do you stand against? 
Where do you stand on downtown development?
Where do you stand on the Atrium/Kettering contorversy?
Where do you stand on taxes?
Where do you stand on the issues?

Put some meat on the bones - you might just have a voter!

Bob
Buddhalite - about 80 pounds short of a full buddha, but was 30 over so the diet is working! Down 90 now....long way still to go!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 09 2017 at 2:57pm
Buddhalite and VietVet -

What are the prospects of John Beagle, you both, Whistler'sMom, MiddletownScouter, SpiderJohn, swohio75,  etc., to organize a "Meet The Candidates" opportunity for the MUSA blog?  Since local elections are less than one month away, wouldn't it be important to learn of the backgrounds and qualifications of political aspirants?  And, wouldn't it also be meaningful to know what their respective campaign platforms are.  Lastly, perhaps five or so questions regarding Middletown's issues and opportunities (city council and school board) could be developed for candidate responses?  Roy Gordon is the only candidate that we've heard from thus far.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote buddhalite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 09 2017 at 3:21pm
I'm all for it - and I'm also willing to spearhead it, do whatever, even moderate it if need be - I think it would be a great idea.  I'd love for it to be sponsored by MiddletownUSA.com - it would be a great way to publicize the forums for sure and we're gonna need a space where we can do this too...John Beagle - you up for allowing the association?  Anyone know a good non-partial place to hold the event?

We've got less than a month and scheduling will be tough - but we can do it!  All input is welcome!

Bob
Buddhalite - about 80 pounds short of a full buddha, but was 30 over so the diet is working! Down 90 now....long way still to go!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 10 2017 at 10:20am


The Community Center on Lafayette might be available for a ‘meet the candidates public forum’.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 10 2017 at 12:14pm
Can't see it happening.
Probably the best approach would be to attend the Chamber forum.
1.Arrive early--reserve a spot if necessary--sit in front.
2.Submit appropriate constructive ?s that apply to situations and candidates.
3.Be respectful throughout--don't interrupt, make faces or disturb anyone/anything.

As citizens, this is YOUR forum
i hope to attend and see all of you there!
Should be interesting......
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 10 2017 at 12:45pm
Originally posted by whistlersmom whistlersmom wrote:

<p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 100%">



<p align="left" style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 100%">The
Community Center on Lafayette might be available for a ‘meet the
candidates public forum’.



\\

Senior Center as an alternative perhaps?
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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middletownscouter View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middletownscouter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 10 2017 at 1:37pm
It would definitely be nice to be able to know more about the candidates.  Since Mr. Mulligan and Ms. Bronston are either incumbents or previous council members at least there is something to know about them, their prior record, etc.

All I know about Ms. Vitori is she is from here, moved away and recently returned and is a business owner here in town, and what additional information that can be gleaned from her website or the J-N article last month.  (Side note, the sample ballot on the Butler County Board of Elections website has her listed as Amy Vitori, but every other source appears to be Ami Vitori Kimener.  Is there a typo there and hopefully not something that could lead to a disqualification because the wrong name or spelling was used).

I've seen nothing about Mr. Barker unless he happens to be the same gentleman who was a Middies basketball coach a few years back.  In which case I know that he was the Middies basketball coach for 3 years and nothing else about 

And so far all I've seen from Mr. Gordon is that he can attack the incumbents.


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swohio75 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 10 2017 at 2:18pm
Here's Ami's website


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Rhodes View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rhodes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2017 at 1:14am
Ami's invested a lot of money in the city.  She's actually putting her money where her mouth is.  Most people don't do that and people always say that's what they want, well there you have it in her.

Never discount a girl that won a brand new car on The Price Is Right in the 1990's.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2017 at 2:53am
I like her
She has my vote
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2017 at 8:50am
Rhodes, the city has also provided generous financial support of Ms. Vitori's downtown re-development as noted in the following 5-20-2016 MJ article "excerpts".

Former TV Middletown building

gets $30,000 for facelift


  • Mike Rutledge
  •   Staff Writer
10:44 a.m. Friday, May 20, 2016  Community News
MIDDLETOWN


The new owner of the former TV Middletown building will receive a $30,000 city grant to make its side

facing Central Avenue more inviting to the public.

Ami Vitori, who bought the 38,000-square-foot structure on Friday, plans to create a destination area

with an upscale comfort-food restaurant and other businesses, and spend $100,000 to $150,000 improving

the Central  face of the building at 1131 Central Ave. The building now will be known as Torchlight

Pass.

“My plans are to do renovations of the whole street level, so that I can turn it into a retail, dining,

entertainment destination, and along with that, I’m going to improve the exterior,” Vitori said.

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swohio75 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2017 at 9:09am
Here's the link to the full article.  

It was a facade grant administered by Downtown Middletown, Inc.

http://www.journal-news.com/news/local/former-middletown-building-gets-000-for-facelift/gyS5sgSFAau4f9tlC6TRWJ/

I am not at all concerned that Vitori is a smart business woman leveraging all the resources available to her to see her project to success---which benefits Middletown. 
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MattR View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MattR Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2017 at 9:32am
Thumbs UpVitori!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2017 at 12:59pm
SWOhio75 -

It seems that a city-funded grant of $30,000 for Ms. Vitori's "downtown" re-development is minor compared to the city's $1.00 give-away of the Manchester Inn, $1.00 give-away of the Snider Building, $1.00 give-away of Central Avenue/Vail Avenue building and land, various tax deferrals, etc., etc.

Ms. Vitori does have a stellar campaign website as you noted.  Her professional credentials are noteworthy. She's had high visibility involvement with the Convention and Visitor's Bureau, etc.  The support of SpiderJohn and you provides insight as she endeavors to generate voter interest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whistlersmom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 11 2017 at 9:51pm

Here’s an interesting Journal News article dated October 6, 2017

Brewery, hotel projects get grants Duke Energy money helping to finance Middletown projects.

By Ed Richter Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN — A Middletown organization received two grants to assist a pair of downtown economic development projects.

As part of its Urban Revitalization Grants program, Duke Energy presented Downtown Middletown Inc. a total of $34,100 to assist the Manchester Hotel and Snider/Sonshine Building projects. The grants were made during a presentation ceremony Thursday afternoon at the Hotel Covington, which received the grant in 2013.

According to Lee Freedman, Duke Energy spokesman, the energy company announced 10 projects that received catalyst grants totaling $307,352 to support urban redevelopment and stimulate growth, job creation and further investments in local communities in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky.

Duke has always been a great partner for Middletown development and redevelopment projects,” said City Manager Doug Adkins. “Their continued participation and investment in Middletown is greatly appreciated. The Manchester Inn and Snider buildings are exciting and challenging projects. Duke’s grants move the project one step closer to fruition.”

Property owner and developer William Grau could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Duke’s) continued participation and investment in Middletown is greatly appreciated.’
Doug Adkins, Middletown city manager

City officials said the grants will be used to aid in the planning of both projects.

The Manchester Hotel grant was for $18,700 to help redevelop the 70-room, full-service boutique hotel and conference center and to create 70 new jobs that will serve as an anchor and catalyst in redeveloping the city’s urban core. Duke Energy said the hotel will also partner with Cincinnati State so that students studying culinary arts and hospitality will be able to get hands-on experience.

The adjacent Snider Building, also known as the Son-shine Building, will receive a grant for $15,400. Plans for the building renovation include a microbrewery and taproom that would create 40 new jobs and also help to anchor the revitalization of the downtown business district. The project also plans on partnering with Cincinnati State’s new brewery program.

In 2016, DMI was awarded a $20,000 grant to help transform what was once a J.C. Penney in downtown Middletown into Torchlight Pass, a destination for dining, retail and family entertainment.

Our urban cores are the hearts of our communities,” said Jim Henning, president of Duke Energy Ohio/Kentucky. “Today, they present opportunities for positive change and prosperity. These important collaborations will create jobs, spur additional commercial activity, and serve as hubs for these communities and their residents for generations to come.”

Since 2011, Duke Energy has provided $1.88 million in Urban Revitalization funding to 58 projects in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky to help spur economic development in the region.

Contact this reporter at 513-755-5067 or email Ed.Richter@coxinc.com.

It’s agreed that receiving grants from Duke is always a plus for Middletown. But, how can the $ amount of Duke’s 2017 grants have any impact on the several million dollar projects proposed by Grau years ago, when those projects have yet to go beyond planning? Additionally, Cincinnati State’s culinary arts school in Middletown, as far as I know, was taken off the table (online classes, if they exist, aren’t quite ‘hands on experience’). Duke may have ‘misunderstood’ the situation with Grau and the city! A smaller enterprise that has shown progress and a willingness to contribute their own money and time (similar to Ms. Vitori’s Torchlight Pass) would have been a much better choice. But that’s difficult to find in Middletown.

One more point about this subject comes to mind. To whom will the checks for the grants be written? How and when will the funds be distributed? Downtown Middletown Inc. is not a government agency even though the salary of their director has been (and may be still) paid by the city. If as the article infers, DMI designates who will receive grants; shouldn’t that instead, be under the city government’s authority and direction?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing" Edmond Burke
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swohio75 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote swohio75 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 12 2017 at 11:19am
Originally posted by whistlersmom whistlersmom wrote:

It’s agreed that receiving grants from Duke is always a plus for Middletown. But, how can the $ amount of Duke’s 2017 grants have any impact on the several million dollar projects proposed by Grau years ago, when those projects have yet to go beyond planning? Additionally, Cincinnati State’s culinary arts school in Middletown, as far as I know, was taken off the table (online classes, if they exist, aren’t quite ‘hands on experience’). Duke may have ‘misunderstood’ the situation with Grau and the city! A smaller enterprise that has shown progress and a willingness to contribute their own money and time (similar to Ms. Vitori’s Torchlight Pass) would have been a much better choice. But that’s difficult to find in Middletown.

One more point about this subject comes to mind. To whom will the checks for the grants be written? How and when will the funds be distributed? Downtown Middletown Inc. is not a government agency even though the salary of their director has been (and may be still) paid by the city. If as the article infers, DMI designates who will receive grants; shouldn’t that instead, be under the city government’s authority and direction?

Torchlight Pass did receive a Duke Energy grant:


And the city doesn't not pay the directors salary.  They make a contribution to the operating fund of DMI, just like several other organizations, businesses and individuals.  I am not sure what the city's contribution to DMI is at present, but here's a list (not sure how up-to-date it is).  It's also important to know that DMI has several fundraisers that help contribute to the operating fund.


What DMI has done for the city in the past is administer facade grants in the downtown area.  I believe the city manager had indicated they are taking another look at this process with the hopes that the money can be used in other parts of Middletown as well. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 12 2017 at 3:12pm
It's been learned from applicable city staff that only $95,000+ remains for the Downtown Facade Grant Program.  As most know, an old Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) loan proceeds provide the source of these funds .

It was also recently divulged that a Facade Grant allocated for the Snider Building may have been rescinded.  Word has it that Mr. Grau's firm allegedly may have made repairs to the structure's roof rather than replacing missing brick and tuck-pointing the front facade as per the grant agreement.

Speaking of the Snider Building plus the Manchester Inn, is it really true that $34,100 in recent Duke Energy grants will be used by Mr. Grau's firm to conduct a market feasibility study for these two properties?  In the real estate re-development world, aren't market feasibility studies prepared and analyzed by prospective investors or financial institutions beforehand?  Of course, senior city staff saw fit to DISPOSE of these two properties to Mr. Grau for $1.00 each WITHOUT undertaking a comprehensive "vetting" process.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 12 2017 at 3:51pm

Update on Manchester Inn

JUNE 2, 2015   Doug Adkins

The Manchester Inn is an interesting project.  You have a historically significant hotel in disrepair that didn’t make it in a former life as a hotel.  So the question becomes, what do we do with it to preserve the history but make it viable?  Our best answer was to effectively donate it to a developer with a vision.  The only other option for the City was to demolish the structure and clear the land.  If there was a chance to save and repurpose the hotel, it made sense to us to make every effort to try.

Mr. Grau is working with a hotel management group on developing the Manchester Inn as a hotel site.  The first step in that process is to develop a business plan and feasibility study to determine what combination of rooms, renovations, etc., could be viable long term.

The plans for the hotel include a $12.7 million renovation and a $6.4 million investment in the Snider building next door to transform it into a 30 bbl Microbrewery with taproom.

Part of the feasibility of the project rests with attractive financing.  Mr. Grau is reviewing options including historic tax credits, new market tax credits and loan options for green construction techniques.  Part of the process to apply for and receive historic tax credits requires that the building plans be approved by the Ohio State Historical Preservation Office.   Mr. Grau has been working with this group for several months to get to an agreed renovation that is both viable and retains the historical aspects of the building.

While the financing and design phases move forward, Mr. Grau is working with Otis and the State to gain compliance with existing elevators.  A roofing contractor has made additional repairs on the roof to keep the water out of the building.  Duke has changed the meters out in planning for renovations.  A mowing contractor has been hired to keep the grounds clean during the summer growing season.

This is a project that will take months to plan, to obtain the best financing, and to design in a way that preserves the buildings while creating a viable, sustainable business moving forward.  It’s worth the wait to see if we can get a viable, useful hotel that can stay in business downtown.  To those who are frustrated… please be patient.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  We are moving forward.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 12 2017 at 3:56pm
<. style="-sizing: border-;">

Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins shared information from a recently completed feasibility study with City Council, along with other details provided by William Grau, the Illinois developer who owns the building.

The 93-year-old Manchester Inn hotel on Manchester Avenue has been closed for nearly four years. Since acquiring the hotel, Grau and his ownership group have made repairs to the building's leaking roof, treated it for mold and removed several metal awnings to prevent water damage to the structure.

Plans for the Manchester include renovating it back into a hotel with a restaurant, banquet facilities and office space.

The former hotel has been nominated to be included on the National Register of Historic Places. Grau is finalizing the hotel design with the Ohio State Historical Preservation Office to allow changes that would include expanding pre-function area outside of the ballroom with the option to partition the ballroom into three event spaces at the request of the hotel management company he will be partnering with.

A new second floor design will take up space planned for rooms and will require rooms to be added to the first floor to maintain the 70-room/suite count. To accommodate that change, five large rooms/suites will be added to the first floor that were formerly offices along with two large executive offices, according to Grau's update.

Grau also said the hotel's kitchen would be gutted during the demolition, and he is hoping to repurpose some of the equipment in another downtown building. Grau indicated that he is working with the state and an elevator company to ensure elevator compliance for the Manchester. According to the update, they have went through the building and are determining options and preparing bids to lower and seal or bring the hotel's three elevators into compliance.

As for other matters, Grau has also told the city that both buildings are being rechecked and re-secured at least monthly and a roofing contractor has been hired to make additional roof repairs to the Manchester and Snider buildings. In addition, Duke Energy has already switched out the meters at the Snider Building and is scheduled to do the same at the Manchester, according to the update.

In addition, Grau said in the update that he is also working with Patriot and Verizon to obtain permission from the State Historic Preservation Office to install cell towers on the roof of the Manchester as well as redesigning a shed to match the hotel's brick to be placed in the Manchester's courtyard.

The update also said Grau has contracted with a mowing and landscaping company to cut the grass and keep the landscaping up as well as seeking bids for tree trimming/removal as part of the streetscaping plan.

The city, who acquired the hotel, was asking $325,000 for the Manchester, but accepted Grau's $1 offer in 2014.

Adkins said Grau and the management group are also making efforts to plan for green renovation and are seeking a green 504 loan for this financing. The developers say they would be working Access Financial who has expressed interest and has the financial capacity for the project. In addition, Grau's update said he is also working with tax credit syndicators to secure New Markets Tax Credits allocations and New Market and Historic Tax Credit purchasers.

Grau also plans to submit an Ohio Historic Tax Credit application for the hotel project that is due on Sept. 31.

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Posted:  Nov. 07 2013 at 3:06 pm

What is City Hall going to do with the Sonshine Building that is located behind the Manchester? Is it going to be part of he Manchester deal? Did the City Hall ever repair the falling brick work..…hahaha
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 12 2017 at 11:11pm
Whistler'sMom -

You're correct in lauding Ami Vitori for her Torchlight Pass re-development endeavors.  The amount of city funding allocated to her pales in comparison to the taxpayer's money and property give-aways found elsewhere in the "downtown".  Maybe the city should engage the services of people like her, Steve Dillman, etc. in order to promote cost-effective and successful viable downtown development in the city?  The futile efforts of the past number of years has made Middletown the laughing-stock of the S.W. Ohio development community!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 12 2017 at 11:13pm
Whistler'sMom -

Here's a good question for Mr. Adkins to answer about "downtown" dealings:  is it really true that Liberty Spirits LLC has failed to comply with project completion provisions contained in the city's conveyance of Central Avenue and Vail Avenue land/buildings for the whopping sum of $1.00?  On what date was the contract signed and how long was Liberty Spirits LLC given to complete the project?  What, if any, are said contract's penalties for non-compliance?

The above is a good starting point for Mr. Adkins to reply.  There are others!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Analytical Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 13 2017 at 3:47am
At the July 7, 2015 meeting of the Middletown city council, second reading legislation was approved granting Manchester Inn plus Snider Building 100% tax exemptions for 12 years.

Please note:  both the June 16, 2015 and July 7, 2015 city council meeting workbooks contain some very "interesting" details about the Manchester Inn plus Snider Building tax abatement legal agreements.  One matter specifies project completion deadlines and the other the potential recission of said tax abatements, etc. for non-compliance.
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