Clark County commissioners approved plans to commit $800,000 to develop an industrial park that could bring 1,000 jobs, but one commissioner questions the county’s spending.
The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Community Improvement Corp. is developing the 250-acre Prime Ohio II industrial park that area leaders have been trying to build for 20 years.
Officials hope to break ground Sept. 22 on the $8.5 million project located along Interstate 70, chamber CEO Mike McDorman said.
He urged commissioners Tuesday to approve resolutions to provide nearly $400,000 toward the Prime Ohio II project for ditch and ground improvement costs, as well as guarantee a potential loan of up to $400,000 to purchase nearly 20 acres of land there.
The CIC also has tapped the city and Springfield Twp. to pay for part of the project. Springfield will give an additional $564,000 after a city commission vote last month.
Commissioners John Detrick and Rick Lohnes voted in favor of funding the project. Commissioner David Hartley was the lone dissenting vote.
“I’m not convinced that this is a wise and responsible spending of taxpayer dollars,” Hartley said.
He said he struggled with the decision to support the project but ultimately decided to fund it because it will bring jobs, benefit schools and the community.
He also said if the county, Springfield Twp. or the city decided against funding the project, it would have fallen apart and millions already invested would be lost.
Funding will come from the county’s rainy day fund. The county’s rainy day fund now has about $2.5 million, under the $3.6 million recommended by government finance officials, County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said.
County leaders said officials plan to build the rainy day fund back up after funding the CIC project.
“Like any investment, it’s a gamble,” Lohnes said. “I want the rainy day fund to be bigger. I did not support this easily. It was not easily done.”