Carroll County Economic Development Issues Letter of Support for Rural Industrial Park Loan Program (House Bill 98)
March 19, 2019
Carroll County Economic Development sent the following letter of support to the Ohio House of Representatives: Economic Development & Work Force Committee. Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG), Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association (OMEGA) and many other communities in our region have also sent letters of support to the Chairman.
If HB 98, which is sponsored by Don Jones, Representative for the 95th District (which encompasses all of Carroll County), reinstated and funds appropriated the program could fund further development of the County's Commerce Park.
Letter of Support
Dear Chairman Zeltwanger:
I am writing as a proponent for the pending legislation that will reinstate the Rural Industrial Park Loan program (House Bill 98). Carroll County, Ohio is the small eastern county most people have never heard of. It is a place where a stroll down the sidewalk is good for the soul. You will find familiar faces greeting you around every corner. Carroll County is a place where we open doors for each other and wish others a good afternoon. Our community is a place where you want to raise a family. Summers are spent at one of our three lakes, Friday nights in the fall are spent in the bleachers at the high school football game. We are the true definition of community. We are also a community where 52% of our workforce must travel to a neighboring county for a decent living wage. A place where mom and dad must spend an extra hour or two each day commuting to and from work due to a lack of industry.
Southern Ohio and eastern Ohio have not benefited from the economic growth that Ohio has enjoyed following the Great Recession. This, in large part, is due to a dearth in competitive sites and buildings. The site selection process, which is a major driver of economic growth, identifies sites and buildings that have the necessary utilities and studies in place to minimize risk and maximize speed for industry. Simply put, if communities do not have an inventory of sites and buildings, they do not have a product to market to site selectors and industry.
Previous state programs, such as the Rural Industrial Park Loan Program, Urban & Rural Initiatives and the Industrial Site Improvement Fund, were utilized with great success to develop speculative sites and buildings in distressed areas of Ohio. Unfortunately, there is no such program in place to fund initiatives. The Facilities Establishment Fund, which has been receiving loan repayments from previous iterations of development programs, is well-capitalized with roughly $200,000,000 in the fund.
Assistance towards the distressed areas of Ohio will have a strong return on investment for the state. In the short-term, funds will be recouped for the development costs associated with these projects and in long-term the taxes generated through commercial activity, sales and income tax will grow Ohio’s General Revenue Fund, while employing Ohioans. This program is a win-win.
Carroll County has plenty of sites for businesses. Our sites aren’t shovel ready and we lack the resources to make them shovel ready. Carroll County has a 229-acre commerce park with ready access to SR 9 and SR 171. Carroll County Transit is currently located at the park and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) plans to locate their county facility to the park. Carroll County, the Village of Carrollton, and ODOT are working collaboratively to extend water and sanitary sewer to the new ODOT facility. However, the park still lacks access roads and utilities throughout the remaining developable acreage. The Rural Industrial Park Loan Program would be the perfect resource for us to fully develop this site and provide shovel ready sites for new businesses and industries. Carroll County is strategically located to capitalize on the growing energy, petrochemical, plastics and polymers industries. Having shovel-ready sites will enable us to attract these industries and other support industries leading to a more sustainable diverse economy and providing quality jobs for our residents. Without these shovel-ready sites, we are unable to compete and may not even be aware of lost opportunities.
For these reasons, I am supportive of the reinstatement of this important tool for economic development in rural Ohio.
Christopher R. Modranski, Director