Infrastructure work could begin this spring on a new $8 million industrial park that developers hope could bring as many as 1,000 jobs to the community.
The Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Community Improvement Corp. will begin utility and other infrastructure work at Prime Ohio II, a 250-acre industrial park located on Interstate 70 across from the Clark County Fairgrounds and the first phase of Prime Ohio Corporate Park.
Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the chamber and CIC, said it will request bids for the project once all of the easements are acquired. Then utility construction could begin in late spring or early summer. The CIC hopes to open the park in 2014.
Companies have shown lots of interest in the park, Hobbs said, and the CIC has several leads in various stages in the process at this point.
“We’re continuously getting looks,” Hobbs said. “This, along with other parks and other properties, are key assets for us, and the sooner we can get it on line, the sooner we’ll be able, with all good intention, to land some prospects in that park. We’re really doing everything we can to get the park under construction as quickly as possible. It takes some time to get all the pieces into place. We’re being diligent about that and we’re getting very, very close.”
The goal of the project is to bring jobs to the community and grow businesses already located within the community. Hobbs estimated a total of 1,000 jobs could be created through the development of the park.
“It’s going to have a significant impact on the community,” Hobbs said. “It’ll be a nice expansion to an already-full Prime Ohio I. With having direct access to I-70, or pretty close to direct access, we think it’s just another great asset to add to our list of great opportunities.”
County commissioners recently donated a tract of land to the city to allow a water main extension to be built through the fairgrounds to serve the industrial park. City commissioners will likely accept the donation at their Feb. 5 meeting.
“Gaining the easements for the infrastructure is a critical next step for the development of the park,” Hobbs said. “It’s getting us one step closer.”
The water main extension will be paid for by a nearly $500,000 federal grant.
Tom Franzen, Springfield assistant city manager and director of economic development, said the city is pleased to see progress at Prime Ohio II.
“We’ve talked for a long time in the community about how it was a priority to identify and develop some property along the I-70 corridor,” Franzen said. “We’re happy to see that process moving forward.”
Three business parks — Prime Ohio II, Champion City Business Park and AirPark Ohio — are currently all in some form of development.
Utility work is set to begin at Champion City Business Park this spring. That site is located on the former Navistar International Corp. truck plant property at Lagonda and Belmont avenues. The city used environmental cleanup grants to remediate the site.