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Champaign seeks $160K for Rothschild expansion

Urbana, county and state team up to on deal to add 25 jobs at food business.

Champaign County commissioners have agreed to apply for a $160,000 state grant to extend a sanitary sewer line to help Robert Rothschild Farm create as many as 25 new jobs.

The expansion project at the specialty food business involves incentives from the city, county and state.

Jim Gordon, president and chief executive officer of Rothschild Farm, has said business has roughly tripled in recent years, and the sewer line extension is necessary for the company to expand.

County commissioners agreed this week to apply for a $160,000 state Community Development Block Grant to pay part of the total $787,000 costs to extend a sewer line to the company located just outside the city limits on U.S. 36.

Urbana city council members also reviewed a separate resolution this week to spend $160,000 from its sanitary sewer funds to extend the line. They could vote to approve the resolution March 12, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the city.

The business has agreed to pay the remaining $467,000 bill for additional infrastructure to complete the project.

Representatives from Robert Rothschild Farm will host a meeting March 11 to answer any questions from landowners whose property has road frontage between the business and city corporation limit. About 16 property owners will likely receive letters notifying them about the meeting, which will take place at the business, Bailey said.

Earlier this year, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 40 percent, five-year tax credit in exchange for the company adding as many as 25 jobs and agreeing to remain in Champaign County for at least eight years.

The agreement between the county, the city and the business will help create at least 16 of those 25 jobs.

The county has been competing with other states, including Indiana and Michigan for the expansion. But Gordon has said the company was founded in Champaign County, and it is his preference to remain in the current location if possible.

Rothschild Farm produces about 250 specialty food products, including mixes, dips and mustards. At a meeting with the commissioners in February, Gordon told the Champaign County commissioners that business at the facility has grown in recent years, and more growth is likely in the future.

In Urbana, city council members have said paying to extend the sewer line is a long-term investment that could eventually lead to additional jobs as more businesses tie into the line. Because of the fees Rothschild Farm will pay after tapping into the line, council members said their $160,000 investment could be repaid in as little as two years.

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