CAMDEN — Village Council members voted to join the Preble County Economic Development Partnership (PCDP) during their regular bimonthly meeting Thursday, June 3.
Economic Development Director Brenda Latanza addressed the council about the potential benefits of joining the partnership, which was formed in 2010 “to address important growth and development issues and assist in the creation of jobs and opportunities for everyone in Preble County,” according to the group’s website.
The PCDP assists businesses and large corporations with the process of relocating or expanding into Preble County, including providing information on demographics and state-funded financial incentives, and also provides small business loans to local companies.
The cities of Eaton and Lewisburg, the New Paris Chamber of Commerce, Reid Health, Bullen Ultrasonics, Mote & Associates and other local organizations already belong to the Partnership, according to Latanza. The annual cost for membership is $2.75 per resident; Camden has a population of approximately 1,800 residents.
“I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t join, and in fact it’s probably long overdue,” council member Kelly Doran said.
Mayor Karen Moss agreed, saying the Partnership would give Camden the opportunity to have “a seat at the table” in terms of participating in the county’s economic growth.
Councilman Jeff Steele officially made a motion to join the Partnership, which was approved by unanimous vote. Council member Debbie Hickman then nominated Doran to be the village’s representative on the PCDP board, which holds monthly meetings at the Eaton Youth Center.
New community center
Local resident Shannon Roden Steele addressed the council about plans to turn the former Methodist church located at 100 S. Lafayette St. in Camden into a 13,000 square foot event, meeting and retail center.
The Dover will be “Camden’s first name for work and fun,” according to the planned community center’s official Facebook page, and will include space for large events such as weddings and funerals, office space for small businesses, and meeting space for classes, workshops and other small gatherings.
The space will also include a conference room, media center, a food pantry, and a concession area offering baked goods and other snacks. The Dover’s grand opening and ribbon-cutting will take place June 19 at 10 a.m., according to Steele.
“You guys have done a fantastic job, and you’ve really moved quickly,” Moss said.
Councilman Steele, meanwhile, stressed the Dover’s purpose as “a place for the community to use.”
“We want to promote local businesses and bring more business into the community,” Steele said.
Council member Wendell Mackie expressed hope that the Dover would serve as an inspiration to local property owners.
“Others in the community might see this and start thinking about their own buildings that are sitting empty,” Mackie said.
Camden Comeback representative Debbie Mason also expressed enthusiasm for the project.
“It’s a game-changer, it really is,” she said. “It’s going to be such an asset, and it just takes a few people before others start buying in.”
“I don’t know of anything like it in the county,” Doran said.
Steele made a motion to approve an expenditure of up to $5,000 to purchase new security cameras for local parks.
Village Administrator Rusty Wilson raised the issue of “continuous vandalism” taking place in playgrounds and parks during the council’s May 20 meeting.
Police will regularly patrol the parks and review surveillance footage, according to Steele. Doran seconded the motion.
“Let’s do what it takes to secure the property,” Doran said.
Village Council meetings take place the first and third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Camden Town Hall.
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish