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2 major local projects make state list

Springfield’s hangar for drones, parking garage included in request sent to governor.

A new hangar at Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport for unmanned aerial vehicles and a new downtown parking garage on Fountain Avenue are among top-ranked projects that might receive millions of dollars in state capital funds next year.

Those made the list of 37 projects in the Miami Valley being pitched for state capital money, according to information released Monday by the Dayton Development Coalition.

Building a new 250,000-square-foot facility so a local company can expand operations tops the Miami Valley wish-list for state capital funding, according to the Dayton Development Coalition.

“Project Elwood” in Dayton, which is ranked as the highest priority, seeks $2 million in state funding toward the $55 million new facility. The facility would be leased to the undisclosed company, which would hire 260 workers over the next five years and retain 250 jobs that already exist.

The new 20,000-square-foot hangar for drones in Springfield ranks second in priority, and third is $1.5 million toward a $7 million upgrade at the National Composites Center

The $1.5 million request for the downtown Springfield parking garage ranks seventh in priority and would be used to build a $9.75 million parking facility on Fountain between Columbia and Main streets.

The Kasich administration asked business groups from across the state, including the Dayton Development Coalition, to review worthy economic development and community projects and make recommendations for funding.

The coalition culled through nearly 100 proposals and submitted 37 for consideration. All told, the group is asking for $30.7 million in state money. Roughly half of that is expected to come through since the Kasich administration indicated that regions could expect about what they received last year for economic development and community projects, said Michael Gessel of the Dayton Development Coalition.

The Kasich administration will decide which projects statewide it wants to receive state capital money. But Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, was quick to point out that lawmakers will decide what is in the capital bill.

“On the capital budget bill, it’s important to remember that this is a legislative process, this is a legislative bill. We like input from as many people as we can get and the outline that the governor has, I think, is a good start. We’re going to look to see what that means and what the numbers can be afforded in the capital bill going forward, like tradition has dictated,” he said.

Gessel said the Miami Valley’s wish list includes projects that will capitalize on technology used at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Wright State University. “I’d describe the list as heavily Wright-Patt oriented,” he said.

Highly ranked projects include new labs and testing and training centers for advanced manufacturing, unmanned aerial systems and cyberspace research. While some projects are asking the state to foot the entire bill, others are asking for relatively small contributions toward big-ticket projects. For example, Dayton Children’s Hospital is seeking $1 million in state money toward the $141 million plan to build a new eight-story patient tower.

Two other projects included:

• A $500,000 request from the Clark State Performing Arts Center, which ranked 20th on the list, and;

• A $1 million request from Community Mercy Health Partners for Springfield Urban Revitalization, which ranked 23rd on the list.

One high-profile project not on the list is the plan to refurbish 1.4 million square-feet of the former GM Moraine assembly plant. The $250 million project is not eligible for state funding since it will be owned by a private company, Gessel said.

Ohio Office of Budget and Management spokesman Jim Lynch said: “Thanks to Ohio’s improving economic health and fiscal stability, the next state capital improvements budget has room to address state and local needs in ways that will enhance our economy and the quality of life in our state. … We will be reviewing these local recommendations carefully with the General Assembly, including any projects that have been submitted directly to members of the House and Senate.”

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