‘ThisWeekNews’ – District: Rise in property value means ‘good things happening’

Rise in property value: For the first time in eight years, property evaluation in the Whitehall City School District has increased, according to the district’s fiscal-year tax budget for 2017.

“This is a sign of good things happening in the school district from an economic-development standpoint,” Whitehall Treasurer Steve McAfee said.

The district’s evaluation increased from $217.9 million last year to $221.8 million this year, according to the tax budget.

The rise is attributed chiefly to an increase in the value of commercial property in the district, McAfee said.

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Whitehall’s new Planet Fitness to help residents’ resolutions become reality

Whitehall PF 2A full-service Planet Fitness will open its doors later this month at the corner of Main Street and Hamilton Road in Whitehall.

The gym, the only of its kind in the city, will feature more than 100 pieces of cardio equipment, strength-training equipment, a circuit-training room, massage chairs, hydro-massage beds and tanning, among other things.

Alex Baker, the director of operations for the facility said that he envisions
Whitehall PF 1the Whitehall Planet Fitness to be a “Judgement Free,” comfortable atmosphere and a second home for members. Many Whitehall-area residents have already signed up.

“It’s a place where you can come here and see friends,” Baker said.

Planet Fitness, located at 920 S. Hamilton Road, will have nearly 20 employees, including a certified personal trainer, who will offer free training to members.

The facility will be open around the clock from Monday at 5 a.m. through Friday at 9 p.m. and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on the weekends.

This is the first Planet Fitness franchise location the Baker Group owns in Ohio. The group owns eight facilities in Indiana and two in Tennessee.

For more information about the Whitehall Planet Fitness Development, please contact Whitehall Director of Development Zach Woodruff at 614-237-8612 or via email at zach.woodruff@whitehall-oh.us. For more information about how to join Planet Fitness, please visit www.planetfitness.com or call 614-601-5556.

Maggard and City concentrate on business in 2016

Maggard and City concentrate on business: Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard said she is ready to build on the successes of her first term and address several issues that have frustrated residents, including crime.

Voters re-elected Maggard in November to a second term. As 2015 came to a close, Maggard and Development Director Zach Woodruff shared their goals for the new year.

They include continuing to build on the momentum achieved last year in commercial development and an initiative to reduce violent crime by revamping policing at the street level and asking for the community’s help in identifying criminals.

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Seafood Featured at new Shrimp Hut

Seafood Featured at new Shrimp Hut in Whitehall: Harold Ray recently returned to a profession he thought he had put in his rearview mirror 10 years ago.

After closing a restaurant in 2005, he went into the banking world, which turned out to be decidedly less stable than he expected. A casualty of a mass layoff by JPMorgan Chase & Co. last year, he looked to his family for direction.

“It was hard-hitting; you couldn’t get a job,” Ray said. “So the kids said, ‘Dad, do something you know how to do.’  ”

And he did.

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District Taxpayers save thanks to new businesses

District Taxpayers Save:

Whitehall City School District Treasurer Steve McAfee credits the city’s success at attracting new commercial development as a factor in the school district maintaining its Aa3 bond rating from Moody’s Investors Service.

McAfee said Thursday, Nov. 19, the district soon will seek to refinance about $25 million of bond debt related to the reconstruction of all five school buildings in the district, completed in 2013.

“Because we were able to maintain our (current) bond rating, we can refinance the bond debt and save our taxpayers about $2.1 million” through 2034, McAfee said.

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‘Nano brewery’ to open in Whitehall

A pair of up-and-coming craft brewers plans to make a hobby into a reality in Whitehall next spring.

2 Tone Brewing Co. will open its doors at 145 N. Hamilton Road, just north of the Broad Street/Hamilton Road intersection.

Anthony McKeivier and Tony Hill have been brewing together for about six years, since they became interested in craft beers during college.

Photo courtesy of Alan Levine.

Photo courtesy of Alan Levine.

“I was in business school at Ohio State at the time and thought of it as a great business plan,” said McKeivier, who works fulltime as an accountant.

The two started brewing from McKeivier’s Reynoldsburg garage.

Three years ago, the small operation received local notoriety after winning Barley’s Brewing Co. Homebrew Competition with their 2 Tone American IPA, which Barley’s then featured in the restaurant.

The men’s initial goal is to brew 250 barrels of beer in their first year in their Whitehall space. They plan to operate on a 5-barrel system will brew once a week, mostly in the evenings.

McKeivier said he has talked to nearly 20 local bars and restaurants about supplying their brew after their operations are up and running. He said he’s even reached out to a few Whitehall establishments.

The company initially plans to employ between two and three people with future plans to expand to 10-15. Though their Whitehall location would not allow them to open a tasting room, they hope to use their new location as a jumping off point.

“Whitehall is close to downtown and my home,” McKeivier said. “It was convenient, the price was great and there are no other breweries in Whitehall. We wanted to be the first.”

For more information on 2 Tone, contact Whitehall Community Affairs Coordinator Gail Martineau at 614-237-8613 or Anthony McKeivier at 740-412-0845.


Commissioners approve loans to help Whitehall

Commissioners approve loans: Franklin County Commissioners approved three loans totaling $1.7 million on Tuesday for suburbs to complete infrastructure projects intended to boost economic development.

Infrastructure upgrades in Upper Arlington, Marble Cliff and Whitehall will start soon with those funds, which are the first to be distributed through a revolving loan program the county established using some of the money from a sales tax increase in 2013.

N. Hamilton Improvements


“Those sales tax dollars aren’t just disappearing into thin air,” said James Schimmer, the county’s economic development and planning director. “They’re being made to work to generate more dollars for economic development.”

Under the loans approved Tuesday, Upper Arlington will receive $1 million to install more fiber optic cable, Marble Cliff will receive $125,000 for a new water line, and Whitehall will receive $550,000 for construction on Hamilton Road. The loans carry a 1.7 percent interest rate and must be repaid over 10 years.

All three projects also are receiving state money.

When commissioners agreed to raise the sales tax in 2013 to help pay for a new jail and morgue, they said some of the money would be set aside for economic development projects. Since then, they have announced plans for the infrastructure bank, workforce development grants and green-energy projects.

The county is earmarking about $3.5 million a year over four to five years for the revolving loan fund. Officials have said the fund should become self-sustaining eventually as municipalities that receive loans start to pay them back.

Whitehall will spend about $2.8 million for an overhaul of North Hamilton Road that includes better access to a business park near the airport.

“It’s a large gateway into our city,” said Joe Ryan, economic development specialist in Whitehall. “It’s a very important commercial area.”

The county already has started to accept applications for the next round of funding through the infrastructure bank. The deadline to apply is Friday.

“We are limiting our lending to municipalities within Franklin County, but it has to be linked to economic development,” said Alex Beres, the county’s economic development program coordinator.

Read the full story in The Dispatch here.

Thisweek Community News: Design firm’s home exemplar to businesses mulling move

Whitehall Development Director Zach Woodruff says signs of the city’s continuing commercial rebirth are evident on South Hamilton Road and beyond.

With the success of Priority Designs 100 S. Hamilton Road, and the addition of Economic Development Specialist Joe Ryan to the city’s staff in July, Woodruff said the city is poised for even greater accomplishments.

“Priority Designs was a home run,” said Woodruff, whom Mayor Kim Maggard named development director in late 2011.

The city purchased the former car lot and in turn sold it to Priority Designs, which relocated from Gahanna after Whitehall and the company struck an agreement.

Read the full story in Thisweek here.


mayor at priority designs

Owners of Priority Design Paul and Lois Kolada with Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard








office priority designs

Showroom area converted into open office








priority designs open house pic

City of Whitehall employees, business owners, and citizens enjoying the open house








25th anniversary priority

A celebration of 25 years since the founding of Priority Designs