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County banks on jobs at development

Clark County is banking on a proposed industrial park near Interstate 70 to bring jobs to the area.

The county has agreed to become the guarantor of a $400,000 loan to the Community Improvement Corporation to acquire property for the $8 million Prime Ohio II industrial park, which is predicted to bring 1,000 jobs to the area.

The goal is to attract manufacturers to the industrial park, located near Interstate 70 across from the Clark County Fairgrounds. Construction is expected to begin later this summer on the planned 250-acre development.

Commissioner John Detrick said he felt it was worth the risk because the return on investment is “jobs for Clark County.”

“We need to turn around population, and if you’ve got the jobs here, that will help do it,” Detrick said. “These will be livable wage jobs.”

Horton Hobbs, the vice president of economic development for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and CIC, said the loan will be used to purchase a 20-acre portion of the land. They still have options to purchase the rest of the development.

“We have a requirement to purchase some ground,” Hobbs said. “It’s a continued show of support and commitment to the development and to the overall community. We’re very thankful for their willingness to support this project.”

Infrastructure work at the park is expected to begin no later than Sept. 20, Hobbs said. Construction is expected to take about nine months.

“We’re still on track,” Hobbs said. “It’s an exciting time for this community. There are a lot of great projects going on, both already in the light and some that can’t be talked about right now. I’m very optimistic about our future and where things are going.”

The intersection at Ohio 41 is expected to see growth in the next several years with the addition of Prime Ohio II, a hotel at the Clark County Fairgrounds and the double-sided digital sign to be added the Convention Facilities Authority.

“It will make the I-70/41 intersection the busiest intersection in Clark County in the next 20 years,” Detrick said.

Hobbs expects the intersection to grow rapidly especially as infrastructure is added at the park.

“It will be catalytic, but it’s going to leverage investment that’s already occurred and also pave the way for new (investment)” Hobbs said.

The county had previously awarded $391,000 to the Prime Ohio II project. County administrator Nathan Kennedy said it’s a six-month loan with a pretty quick turn around.

“As long as they don’t default on the loan, we don’t have to pay anything,” Kennedy said.

The city recently agreed to pay approximately $564,000 for water and sewer infrastructure upgrades. The money is expected to come out of water and sewer funds. The city also previously agreed to match $250,000 for a $1 million grant through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Springfield Twp. could provide more than $260,000 for the project over a period of years.

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