Signs point to economic growth here


New development and expansion are signs of progress in Clinton County, especially in the Wilmington area.

In the past year and we have seen, and are seeing, these forward-looking moves:

All-suites hotel opens here

Towneplace Suites by Marriott celebrated its grand opening in October in conjunction with the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce.

Located at 175 Holiday Drive, the new Towneplace Suites by Marriott is an extended-stay hotel with 94 rooms “where you can balance work and life as you like, with the comfort, flexibility and affordability you require” and featuring indoor pool fully equipped kitchens, daily free hot breakfast, Weber grills (with tools and spices) and an outdoor fire pit.

There’s also a spacious 24/7 fitness center and an indoor pool, Smart TVs with free streaming, pet-friendly rooms, and a lobby bar and “In a Pinch” Market for beverages, snacks and necessities.

Expanding into robotic surgery

Clinton Memorial Hospital now offers state-of-the-art surgical technology with their recently acquired robotic equipment.

This new surgical system features three-dimensional, high definition visualization and allows for enhanced dexterity and greater precision and control for the surgeon. Robotic-assisted surgery is minimally invasive and can reduce a patient’s recovery time after a major surgery.

Board-certified, robotically trained general surgeon Dr. Rachael Lovano, who also serves as the Chief of Surgery and Director of the Robotic Surgery Program at CMH, successfully performed the hospital’s first-ever robotic procedure in August.

“This is a significant investment for both our hospital and community,” said Lance Beus, CEO of Clinton Memorial Hospital. “By acquiring the robot, we’ve greatly expanded our surgical services for minimally-invasive surgeries. Introducing the latest technology for surgical procedures means Clinton County residents can now access the most advanced life-saving technology right here at CMH.”

Kettering Health to debut in 2023

Kettering Health representatives and local officials held a groundbreaking in April for a new medical center to be built along Rombach Avenue.

The 32,000-square-foot facility is expected to open in summer 2023. Services that will be available include: a 24/7 emergency room; outpatient services including lab and imaging; and family medicine and specialty physicians.

Work crews are renovating a space on the other side of Rombach as a “head-start” site expected to open this year in July. It will be a primary care office with six primary care providers, X-ray, and a lab.

Longtime Wilmington physician John Hollon, MD was announced as the newest addition to the Kettering Health rural health team and the newest addition to Kettering Health’s Wilmington primary care initiative.

Polaris facility is expanding

Polaris Inc. announced in March plans to expand its distribution facility in Wilmington, aimed at providing additional distribution capacity, expanding product assortment, improving delivery, customer service, and optimizing operations.

The 165,000 square-foot expansion will bring the facility footprint to 465,000 square feet, according to a news release from Polaris’ headquarters in Minneapolis.

“Polaris’ Aftermarket and PG&A businesses continue to experience tremendous growth and we expect that trend to continue. The expansion of our distribution center in Wilmington Ohio, allows us to leverage our incredible local distribution team and elevate service levels for our customers,” said Steve Eastman, president of Aftermarket and PG&A at Polaris, in the news release.

The expansion will allow for both additional rack storage and new automated material handling technology within the facility designed to improve customer responsiveness and productivity.

The expansion will create an estimated 20-25 new jobs over three years.

Aeroengine hospital at air park

GA Telesis, LLC, a global aviation services integrator, and Air Transport Services Group, Inc., announced in May they reached an agreement with the Clinton County Port Authority (CCPA), JobsOhio and the Ohio Department of Development to open a 72,000 square-foot Specialized Procedures Aeroengine Hospital (SPAH) at the Wilmington Air Park.

The SPAH is projected to open in September and will be capable of inducting more than 200 aircraft engines per year, focusing on those manufactured by General Electric and CFM International.

This investment marks the first U.S. location for a GA Telesis SPAH and will provide a variety of engine services to global aviation customers from the Wilmington Air Park location. GA Telesis also operates a SPAH in Helsinki, Finland.

The new SPAH will provide economic opportunities to the region through the creation of 50 jobs, including both administration and skilled technician roles.

County buys former SSCC

Clinton County purchased the Southern State Community College (SSCC) facility here for $1.25 million for expanded office space for county departments.

According to Clinton County commissioners, the Davids Drive building will house offices for several county departments. These include all county departments currently located at the courthouse that are not directly related to the judicial (court system) branch of government.

That means that offices of the county auditor, treasurer, recorder, commissioners, and tax map/GIS will relocate from the courthouse to the newly acquired facility.

In addition, county government offices currently housed at the County Administration (Admin) Building on East Sugartree Street across from Champion Bridge Company will also be moving to the former SSCC facility. Those include the Clinton County Title Office, Clinton County Solid Waste District/Recycling & Litter Prevention, the county coroner, and county administrator.

The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV), which is located at the County Admin Building, is anticipated to move to the new site also, although that hinges on the approval of the state because it is a state agency,

In October, Clinton County commissioners approved a $3.3 million contract with Perfection Group, the same design-build company that performed the most recent renovations to the county courthouse. This summer the county acquired the college facility and grounds for $1.25 million. A lot of the work to be done at the Southern State building will be redoing the mechanicals of the 21-year-old structure.

Drive-in to new housing

The former drive-in theater property in Wilmington is being rezoned into a new residential single-family homes development.

Clayton Sears, Land Acquisition Manager at DDC Management, spoke to Wilmington City Council recently about rezoning the property. Sears indicated they are looking at a future subdivision at the 1057 N. Lincoln St. location, bordering North South Street and Kentucky Avenue.

The 28.6 acres would go from being zoned as a suburban neighborhood to a traditional neighborhood.

Chakeres Theatres Inc. announced in May 2016 that the Wilmington Drive-In would not be open for the 2016 summer season. At the time, a Chakeres Theatres executive told the News Journal there were two basic options: To see whether it’s feasible to convert it into a digital drive-in cinema; or to look at the possibility of marketing the facility.

General Denver celebrates all seasons

The new enclosed “four seasons dining area” is currently taking shape at the General Denver in Wilmington.

The expanded area is 33 feet by 45 feet, which was previously outdoor seating space, and the exterior will have a “stenciled EFIS brick pattern to match the existing building” according to plans filed with the City of Wilmington.

Condos eyed for Mulberry St.

A new condo development was proposed for South Mulberry Street. The site had previously been the site of a long-abandoned, large two-story building and a single-story structure, that were demolished in March 2020.

Josh Schlabach submitted the plans.

The condo residences would offer drive-in garages and a rooftop patio area. The area near the creek would be designated as a public green space with seating along the creek for people coming off the trail to use, he said.

Ole Town Tavern new and old

Ole Town Tavern at 26 N. South St. held its grand opening on Thursday after a successful soft opening earlier in the week.

“I worked for Technicolor and I would travel to New York a lot. When I was there, I’d walk around and there’d be these little bars that I would just go into,” said owner Tony Butcher. “These are cool little bars, and I thought if I ever opened one I’d like to open one like that.”

The building was purchased a few years ago with the thought that it could possibly become the bar he envisioned. In-between those years, he rented the facility to businesses, including a jewelry store.

But Butcher, from a family of longtime local residents, began the groundwork for Ole Town Tavern.

“My idea was to have it look like an old bar. So, hopefully, if you walked in — if you’re not from here — you don’t know if this has been here a couple of weeks or 50 years,” he said.

New Nutrien Ag Solutions

Nutrien Ag Solutions’ announced last July it would build a new agricultural retail facility at the intersection of Gleason and Prairie Roads northeast of Wilmington, and the complex’s construction is well under way.

The facility, on 20 acres, includes three buildings — dry fertilizer, warehouse, and office — plus a 1-million-gallon liquid fertilizer tank, along with site improvements such as a detention pond and a contained loading area.

Nutrien Ag Solutions currently operates ag retail facilities at Melvin and in Sabina.

Those sites are dated, having been built in the 1960s and ’70s, Steve Emery, division manager for Southern Ohio Nutrien, told the News Journal last year.

“We are building [the new facility] for the growers of 2030 and beyond,” Emery said.

Plans call for consolidating the Melvin and Sabina operations at the new site next to the boundary line of Union and Wilson Townships in Clinton County.

About 6.8 acres will be kept as open space, to assist in maintaining the character of the agricultural district.


The popular restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill is eyeing Wilmington for a new restaurant.

According to the City of Wilmington, a new facility that would be built across from Wal-Mart on Progress Way is in the site plan review stage with the Department of Building and Zoning this week.

Its address will be 2816 Rombach Avenue — at the corner of Progress Way and Rombach Avenue — next to Trusty Insurance and directly across from the Merchants National Bank and Skyline Chili and facing them.

The plans submitted to the city indicate that the landlord is Midland Retail in Cincinnati and the tenant will be Chipotle Mexican Grill in Columbus. The building will have 2,325 square feet, with a 771 square feet of dining room with seating for 40 people, and patio seating outside for 22.

An artist’s rendering of the Chipotle restaurant slated to open this year on Progress Way in Wilmington. artist’s rendering of the Chipotle restaurant slated to open this year on Progress Way in Wilmington. News Journal file photos

Towneplace Suites by Marriott teamed with the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce for a groundbreaking. The hotel had its grand opening in October. Suites by Marriott teamed with the Wilmington-Clinton County Chamber of Commerce for a groundbreaking. The hotel had its grand opening in October. News Journal file photos

Work is progressing on the Nutrien Ag Solutions facility on 20 acres at Prairie and Gleason Roads. The complex will include three buildings — dry fertilizer, warehouse, and office — plus a 1-million-gallon liquid fertilizer tank as well as nearly 7 acres of open space. is progressing on the Nutrien Ag Solutions facility on 20 acres at Prairie and Gleason Roads. The complex will include three buildings — dry fertilizer, warehouse, and office — plus a 1-million-gallon liquid fertilizer tank as well as nearly 7 acres of open space. News Journal file photos

News Journal staff

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