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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Representatives from Ottawa and Sandusky counties, the townships of Woodville and Harris, and the Village of Elmore are scheduled to again meet this week to brainstorm ideas for the potential development of property along State Route 51 and Exit 5A of the Ohio Turnpike.

Jamie Beier Grant, Director of the Ottawa County Improvement Corporation, said the informal discussions will continue Thursday at the CIC offices in Oak Harbor.

Because the 87.6-acre piece of land straddles the two counties and townships, participants in the discussions have been in talks for possibly forming a Joint Economic Development District for the property.

The Web site of the firm marketing the property, Signature Associates, lists the sale price at $1.2 million.

“We know the property is currently on the market with Signature Associates, a commercial and industrial real estate company,” Ms. Beier Grant said. “Over the years we’ve had individuals, developers and businesses alike, inquire about the potential for development at the property – whether it be residential, commercial, or industrial.

“We recognize from a location standpoint the property is in a very attractive area with the turnpike interchange right there. The other issue is the property lies in two counties and two townships and there is no public infrastructure that currently services the property and would accommodate development out there. The Village of Elmore is at the table with us because it is the closest point where public infrastructure might be made available.”

If a JEDD is formed it would allow the participating jurisdictions to share in tax revenues generated by development of the property.

Ms. Beier Grant said, however, the discussions have been merely to share ideas and not focused strictly on forming a development district.

“We’re strictly in the exploratory stage right now,” she said. “There are a lot of  working parts to something like this. We’re looking at it from a multi-county and community partnership perspective as to the validity of doing something there. We have nothing on paper that says we are going to go in one direction. We’re strictly trying to do brainstorming to see if it is feasible.”

Ms. Beier Grant said she was unaware of  existing JEDDs that crossed county lines.

“One of the positives coming out of this is we have jurisdictions from the two counties saying they want to work together,” she said.

Rick Claar, a member of Elmore Village Council who’s been attending the meetings, said the process is still “in its infancy.” “Basically we’re throwing out ideas,” he said. “There are so many questions we have to address.”

The Sandusky County Auditor’s Web site lists Arnold Foss as the trustee of the property, which is zoned for agricultural use.

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