By Daniel Karell
MT. ORAB — More than five months after opening their doors, the Ashley Grove Apartments held a ribbon cutting on July 30 to celebrate their entrance into the Brown County Chamber of Commerce as well as drum up more interest in the complex.
The complex, which is home to 43 apartment or villa units for adults over the age of 55, has already filled 36 of those units, and are hoping to fill the final seven units in the coming weeks before starting a waiting list.
Senior developer Peter Schweigeraht of the Miller Valentine Group, the national real estate and property management group that runs the facility, gave a ten minute speech to those in attendance, thanking the village of Mt. Orab and its council, the Brown County Commissioners, of which Daryll Gray and Barry Woodruff were in attendance, and state representative Doug Green and state senator Joe Uecker, who was not in attendance, for making this complex possible.
Due to Ashley Grove’s mission as a home for elderly residents, the project was able to receive funding from the state of Ohio in a private-public partnership that got the complex off the ground.
“It’s been more than two years worth of effort to get to this point,” Schweigeraht said.
Schweigeraht said that the Miller Valentine Group took advantage of and received funding through the House Tax Credit program, which is a federal program that’s administered by each state. In Ohio, its administered by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.
“They’re looking for areas of need, and Mt. Orab did not have senior housing, so what an ideal opportunity,” Schweigeraht said. “Thank you OHFA for awarding us these tax credits which really put us on our way to the end result here, which is not only quality housing units but also what totals roughly seven to eight million dollars worth of total economic development.”
Schweigeraht said that he and his company are working with Doug Klingensmith, vice president of development with the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, and his team to help sell the tax credits that they were awarded with, which will then turn into equity to pay off the costs of the project.
Many members of the Chamber of Commerce were in attendance, including president Brian Elliott, Mt. Orab Police Department chief Bryan Mount, and insurance agent Tim McKeown. Mt. Orab mayor Bruce Lunsford missed out on the ribbon cutting due to a meeting in Cincinnati.
In addition to the agency officials and Chamber of Commerce members, some residents of Ashley Grove also attended the meeting, including Edna Layman.
Layman, a Mt. Orab native, was the first person to move in to the complex, sending in her application in October 2013 and eventually moving in on Valentines Day, Feb. 14, 2014.
Layman said after seeing an advertisement for the complex in the newspaper, she called the number attached to the advertisement and wound up chatting with Schweigeraht while he was in his car driving back to his office.
Schweigeraht invited Layman to an introductory meeting soon after in Mt. Orab, and Layman was the only person to show up.
“We talked for quite a long time,” Layman said.
Layman says that she’s so far satisfied with living at Ashley Grove.
“It’s very nice,” Layman said. “(My family) is real pleased with me living there. It’s secure. It’s just a nice place to be when I get old.”
Layman was invited to cut the ceremonial ribbon along with Representative Green during a photo opportunity.