Despite a dismal year of budget cuts and layoffs, there was some good news for Northwood last year.
Last fall, the city learned that Norplas Industries, Inc, will expand its facility on Caple Blvd. and add 300 jobs over a three year period.
The company, which manufactures injection molded and painted automotive exterior parts, will expand its existing 400,000-square-foot building by an additional 30,000-square-feet, and add two large tonnage presses to increase injection molding capacity.
The $6.5 million project, which is also expected to help retain the company’s 496 positions, consists of $2.5 million in building investment and $4 million in machinery and equipment.
Starting pay for the new jobs will be $13.30 per hour, then reach a maximum of $17.50 after three years.
The company will receive tax credits from the state and the city as part of the expansion project.
The Ohio Tax Authority awarded the company a 55-percent Job Creation Tax Credit for a seven year term. The value of the tax credit is estimated at $498,147 over the term, and the company would be required to maintain operations at the project site for 10 years.
The city has agreed to give the company tax abatement on the increased value of the addition. Also, the city’s Job Creation Retention Grant program will rebate half of the payroll tax of the new employees for up to five years.
Norplas plans to construct the addition in the first and second quarters of this year.
Ohio was competing against several other states in an effort to keep the expansion in Ohio.
The Wood County Economic Development Commission has been instrumental in brokering the support of both Northwood and the state in keeping the expansion in Wood County.
It was also learned last year that McNerney Development LLC planned to construct a spec building in McNerney Industrial Park on McNerney Road this spring.
A spec building is used for commercial and industrial purposes to entice businesses to the area.
The company plans to construct the 20,400-square-foot building within the boundaries of a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA), provided the appropriate development incentives are available to support the economic viability of the project.
The CRA would offer a 100-percent real property tax exemption for 10 years on the new building.
City council, which must approve the CRA, tabled the measure until McNerney can appeal a Planning Commission requirement for paved lanes leading to the loading dock and Dumpster at the back of the building.
“Those are the terms of the Planning Commission - areas where there will be constant truck traffic must be paved,” City Administrator Dennis Recker told The Press last week. “McNerney is basically concerned that the requirement would affect the viability of the project in terms of raising costs and perhaps create a barrier to leasing the facility. So he has appealed the requirement to the Board of Zoning Appeals.”
The city last year also saw the opening of industrial and commercial businesses, including NWO Beverage, Henkels & McCoy, Sammy’s Joe, Woodville Skate Park, Stormin Normin’s Trade Center, Wyland’s Auction, 2020 Exhibits, F&M Sunoco, Wilson Industries, Mauder Heating & Air and First Care.
The city last year experienced industrial growth with new construction of Northwestern Water & Sewer – Clear well $1,815,000, and Pilkington North America – Solar Field - $1,600,000.
Over $5 million was spent for new construction projects in the city last year, an increase from the $3 million spent in 2009 and $1.6 million that was spent in 2008.
Approximately 332 zoning permits were issued this year for residential, commercial and industrial new construction, compared to 304 from last year, which represents an increase of 9 percent from 2009.
The city last year also saw some progress in other areas, including police services. Compared to 2009, traffic crashes were down 1 percent, the eighth year in a row showing a decrease, along with the third year in a row with no reported fatalities. Major crimes are down 3 percent, the fourth year in a row showing a decrease.
The department was awarded a Drug Abuse Resistance Education Grant from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, a Third Seat Belt Grant from the Ohio Department of Public Safety for the instruction of seat belt safety, and a Bullet Proof Partnership Grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance that funded 50 percent of the total cost for four ballistic vests.
Budgetary cuts forced a reduction in the amount of paving projects last year. However, the Street Department, in conjunction with the State of Ohio, was able to complete the Bradner Road/Curtice Road intersection improvements. In addition, the major reconstruction of the street, waterline, sanitary and storm sewers on Norma and Maryland Place were completed.