By Jeff Kelley, WPKO/WBLL Radio (Bellefontaine, Ohio)
The Champaign Economic Partnership has now been through its first full year. Several proposed building projects are set to bring additional jobs to Champaign County.
Construction of a new 30,000 square foot Memorial Health Medical Building next to Wal-Mart on Urbana’s east side is on the horizon, and a proposed new Navistar Warehouse, with construction of an over 355,000 square foot facility at 915 Phoenix Drive just off State Route 55 near Damewood Enterprises.
The Memorial Health of Union County/Hplex project will be construction of an outpatient facility, an approximately $9 million investment, adding 12 new employees ($1.4M) while retaining the current 16 employees ($1.16M) with a total payroll of $2.56 million.
The Navistar/Damewood project will be new construction of a warehouse, around a $28 million investment, adding 13 new employees ($572,000), with 27 employees ($1.26M) being transferred here from Xenia, and retention of 114 employees ($4.95M) with a total payroll of nearly $6.8 million.
Marcia Bailey is the CEP’s Economic Development Director. She said the CEP is the sole economic development agency for Champaign County. They bring together private businesses and local government to strengthen the local economy and quality of life for Champaign County residents.
Bailey said the CEP began as a joint venture of Pioneer Rural Electric, the City of Urbana, and county commissioners, who met and decided to fund the agency as the only agency of its kind in the county with a 5-year memorandum of understanding to continue funding.
Possible future growth could be east of Urbana out to the Rothschild Berry Farm, including acreage Bailey said currently is zoned agricultural usage adjacent to the hospital project heading north that could for instance be used to build a housing project or a retail store.
Bailey discussed the current status of the property on Miami St. that used to be Johnson Manufacturing.
They have been working quite actively over the past two years to try to get possession of that property for the city of Urbana.
Bailey said that process should be finalized sometime in February. The city will take ownership of the property and they have been working on a clean-up grant and have a private developer that is working with them for that grant agreement which will get the property cleaned up and ready for redevelopment as soon as this spring.
The Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) recently provided local government officials a free workshop, “Tools for Successful Economic Development”, about the variety of tax incentives available in Ohio to promote business development.
Chris Schmenk, of counsel for Bricker and Eckler, LLP, and former director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, led the training at the Urbana office of Pioneer Electric Cooperative. City, village, township, county and school district officials attended.
The economic development tools covered provide temporary tax exemptions in return for investing in business creation or expansion and retaining or creating jobs.
CEP Director Marcia Bailey explained, “Tax incentives vary, but they typically exempt a portion of taxes on business improvements for a specific time, after which the business pays the full amount of the tax to support local government services and infrastructure. Tax incentives are designed to encourage business and job growth, which benefits Champaign County and local citizens.”
Schmenk covered the following economic development tools:
–Enterprise Zones (EZ), areas designated by municipalities and counties, in which businesses can be offered exemptions on real and personal property taxes for establishing, expanding, renovating or occupying a facility and creating or retaining jobs.
–Community Reinvestment Areas (CRA), also established by municipalities and counties, in which real estate tax abatements may be offered for revitalizing existing business or residential properties or developing new structures.
–Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts, which can be established by municipalities, counties and townships. Property owners may make payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs) that go into a TIF fund that finances public and infrastructure improvements.
–Joint Economic Development Districts (JEDD), special purpose districts created through a contract between a municipality and township to promote economic development and employment opportunities. JEDDs enable a district-wide income tax and provision of municipal services to unincorporated areas without annexation.
–Downtown Redevelopment Districts, a new economic development tool for municipalities to promote redevelopment of designated areas that must include at least one historic building. These may include property tax exemptions related to redevelopment.
The Champaign Economic Partnership in January held a 5 county (Champaign, Clark, Logan, Madison and Union Counties) regional meeting and conducted a 2017 Wage & Benefits Survey at Urbana University. You can still be a part of this helpful survey by contacting the CEP or visiting their website (contact information below).
Later this month on Thursday February 16th the CEP presents in conjunction with the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, Triad and Graham Local Schools, and Ohio Means Jobs presents “Recruiting and Retention of Your Workforce Talent”. It will be from 1-3:30 pm at the Champaign County Community Center Auditorium, 1512 S. US Hwy 68.
Please RSVP your attendance by February 13th to:
Champaign Economic Partnership
3 Monument Square
Urbana, OH 43078
For more information on this event or about the Champaign Economic Partnership, call (937) 653-7200.