The City of Piqua is in the process
of restoring the old Fort Piqua Hotel, built in 1891. The
development plan is for 45,000 sq ft of the 85,000 sq ft
structure to be occupied by the Flesh Public Library.
The project will
include restoration of the former grand ballroom into a
community banquet facility. There will also be commercial leased
space on the ground floor for two different business to provide
a restaurant or coffee shop and another business compatible with
the library and the rest of the downtown. When the restoration
of this landmark is complete, it may be the single most
spectacular structure in the city, and is certain to attract
attention from the entire region. Click here
to see architect renderings of the restored hotel building.
In addition to its architectural
grandeur the hotel has a rich history of providing shelter to
presidents and other persons of national prominence including
Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding, John
Phillips Sousa and Harry Houdini. Locally it was a meeting place
for the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and the
Anti-Saloon League, during prohibition. Later it became the site
of a 1947 NAACP staged sit-in at the lunch counter that resulted
in the end of restaurant segregation in the entire city.
The project has attracted
attention and funding from many sources, both close to home and
far away. The federal government will allow tax credits that
provide cash to the project totaling over $3 million for
historic tax credits and $3.9 million in new markets tax
credits. The State of Ohio has committed to approximately $2.26
million in state grants. In addition the local fund-raising
group has raised in excess of $3 million. This funding, combined
with city funds committed to the project as well as rent from
the library and other tenants has made it possible for a
scaled-back project to proceed. However there is still a $1
million gap to complete the 4th floor banquet room. The city has
committed to completing the project though the fund raising is
still underway and will not be completed until August of 2007.
Citizen's interested in contributing are urged to participate
the Hotel / Library Legacy Alliance's "Restoring
Piqua's Treasure" fundraising campaign.
Construction is scheduled to
begin in December of 2006. The work is scheduled to take 18
months to complete.