City to spend more for new park

Springfield pledges additional $564K for potential jobs at Prime Ohio II.

Construction could begin later this summer on the planned 250-acre development, located on Interstate 70 across from the Clark County Fairgrounds.

Officials are working through the process of getting approvals from different government authorities, including Springfield and Springfield Township, which also could contribute more than a quarter of a million in funding over several years.

The development has a tentative start date at no later than Sept. 22, according to Horton Hobbs, the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s CIC vice president of economic development. Construction is expected to take nine months.

“We’re doing all we can to get to that point,” Hobbs said.

On Tuesday, city commissioners voted 5-0 to approve an emergency ordinance for the park’s plat agreement.

“This is a project that’s been long coming,” said Mayor Warren Copeland. “We hope it will bring us jobs for the community.”

According to public documents, the city will pay $564,406.96 for water and sewer infrastructure upgrades. The money is expected to come out of water and sewer funds. The city previously agreed to match $250,000 for a $1 million grant through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“They had a widening gap in the project costs, so they asked us to consider additional funding in that amount,” said Tom Franzen, assistant city manager and director of economic development.

Franzen said it’s important for the city to continue to support the CIC’s efforts.

“Hopefully, it will lead to new investment and job creation for the community,” Franzen said.

Springfield Township could provide more than $260,000 for the project over a period of years, according to administrator Jeff Briner. Trustees might discuss the project at their upcoming meeting on June 11.

Once the plat is approved by Springfield Township, the CIC will have lots in place to begin marketing efforts, Hobbs said. The goal is to provide jobs and increase the community’s economy.

“It’s been many years in the making,” Hobbs said. “With every step forward like this, we’re one step closer to opening the park, which means positive activity for the community.”

The plat agreement will divide the 191 acres of usable land into four different lots, but Hobbs said those can change as different uses arise. Hobbs said the development has had several leads over the last few months.

“It’s a great project for the community,” Hobbs said.

Three business parks — Prime Ohio II, Champion City Business Park and AirPark Ohio — are currently all in some form of development.

Utility work began at Champion City Business Park this spring, and it is expected to open in August. 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, which is divided into three large lots that can be subdivided. The park will have lots of 15 acres, 10 acres and five acres, according to Franzen.

Franzen said the city has spoken to several interested parties, and he expects activity to heat up as the park gets closer to opening.

“There’s active interest in a couple of the lots now, and we expect that to continue,” Franzen said.

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