Troy Twp. site primed for industry
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor
Tuesday, 22 May 2012 09:34
It used to be that companies would sit down and negotiate with a farmer when they wanted to buy a site for a new plant. Then years later, the plant might be built.
But prospective companies don't take that slow approach any longer.
"Corporations don't have time to wait for that," said Jonathan Gemmen, location consultant with Austin Co. They want utilities ready, aerial photographs available, and studies completed saying no endangered species and no wetlands exist there.
Those type of sites are rare. But a 434-acre site in northeastern Wood County is on the very short list of "CSX Select Sites."
"There are only five sites that have made it across the finish line, and this is one of them," Gemmen said Monday during an announcement at the Wood County Economic Development Commission.
The site, called the Eastwood Commerce Center, is located at the southwest corner of Pemberville Road and U.S. 20 in Troy Township.
The CSX ranking is reserved for sites that are "shovel ready." According to Gemmen, the acreage must have more than just the potential to become an industrial park.
"We're looking for a great industrial park," he said. "This is something that's really special. We can tell the marketplace that their sites are ready to go."
The Troy Township site has natural gas, electric service with an adjacent substation, ample water, a new water storage tank nearby, a new sewer line, a railyard four miles away in Walbridge, easy access to Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike, zoning for business and access to ample population for potential employees.
"We salivate when we see something like this," Gemmen said of the site.
"This is a real milestone for Wood County," he said.
Partnering on getting utilities to the site and getting it "shovel ready" are the county economic development commission, the landowner Dominion, CSX, the Northwestern Water and Sewer District, and the Wood County Port Authority.
Steven Davis, manager of regional development for CSX, said the "select sites" rating will help market the location.
"Tools like this make my job easier," Davis said.
"Companies like to take the path of least resistance," and the completion of all the necessary utilities and studies will help, he said.
Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown said the commissioners office is "very thrilled" about the site ranking, which is "unbeatable" when it comes to marketing.
"We're looking forward to the day we are out there breaking ground and cutting ribbons," Brown said.
Blaha said large projects will be targeted for the site.
Blaha recalled when the Dominion peaking power plant first expressed interest in building at the site, about 15 years ago. That proposal was met with a lot of opposition from local residents. However, Troy Township residents seem to be pleased with the site, as well as with the revenue it has brought to the Eastwood School District, Blaha said.
Blaha said he didn't expect that type of protest to future industry at the site.
"People are ready," he said.