By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Bowling Green City Council agreed last week to put the sale of industrial park acreage on the fast track.
The city approved emergency action to sell three acres to a company wanting to move here from Cincinnati, and 1.56 acres to a company already here that needs more parking and storage space.
Sue Clark, director of the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation, explained the need to expedite both sales.
On the southeast corner of the city, three acres will be sold in the John Quinn Innovative Tech Park off Napoleon Road for $26,000 per acre. According to Clark, the new company plans to build an 18,000-square-foot manufacturing building. It currently has 10 employees, and plans on hiring 10 more by 2022.
“He is anxious for his concrete footers to be done before the snow flies,” Clark said of the company owner.
And in the Woodbridge Industrial Park off Dunbridge Road, Vehtek officials would like to purchase acreage in order to provide more parking for employees and storage space for racking.
Vehtek, with approximately 700 employees, is one of Bowling Green’s largest employers. The company has plans to add another 50 employees.
Several employees already have to park in the grass during their shifts. And Bowling Green Fire Chief Bill Moorman has repeatedly expressed concern about getting fire equipment up to the building in case of a fire. The added space will help, Clark said.
“So the fire chief can get the fire truck around without any problems,” Clark said.
Plans call for an improved right-of-way on East Poe Road, with the addition of a culvert crossing over the Poe Road ditch, along with widening a portion of Poe Road. These improvements will allow better truck access into and out of the facility.
For the right-of-way widening, Sue Clark, director of Bowling Green’s economic development office, has been working with the state to secure Ohio Department of Transportation funds for 75 percent of the improvements.
Normally the city would fund the other 25 percent of the project. However, the city is proposing that Vehtek pay $60,000 to the city for a strip of city property adjacent to the company’s northern property line. This will improve Vehtek’s ability to expand its site and make parking/storage improvements.
Council member Sandy Rowland initially expressed concerns about the ordinances being expedited for the two companies.
“What can we do to make this fair for everyone,” Rowland asked.
Council president Mike Aspacher assured that it’s just the sale of the land from the city to the companies that is being hastened.
“These folks will still need to go through the same planning and permitting process,” he said.
“These are pretty cut and dry real estate transfers,” Aspacher said.
The companies will still have to submit plans to the city planning commission and the county building inspection office.
Mayor Dick Edwards credited Clark with being successful in getting Vehtek to improve its site. The company is owned by Magna, one of the largest corporations in Canada.
“The time and effort you have put in on this is not short of amazing,” he said to Clark. “She really deserves a lot of credit, bringing this to fruition and making it happen.”
Also at Monday’s meeting, Edwards fulfilled the terms of a “friendly” bet made with Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz about the outcome of the BGSU-UT football game.
“Once again, we came up a little short,” Edwards said, noting it was the ninth loss in a row to Toledo. As a condition of the bet, the mayor put on a University of Toledo cap as he stood at the council chamber’s podium.
Edwards then removed the cap and gave it to UT graduate and BG councilman Bruce Jeffers. Jeffers placed the hat on his head, prompting Aspacher to say, “Not at the table please.”
Aspacher then added, “I’m confident the tide will turn.”
In other business, Tom Clemons, the executive director of the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, talked about the upcoming 1-mill levy for local services.
The levy will cost $35 a year for the owner of a house valued at $100,000, Clemons said. The funding is vital, he said, for programs fighting the opioid crisis, plus an increase in methamphetamine and cocaine abuse.
Wood County is expected to hit 30 deaths this year from opioid overdoses. The number of suicides is also on the rise, with the county trending at about 20 this year, Clemons said.
Also at the meeting:
- Council heard the first reading of an ordinance banning smoking in all city parks.
- Public Works Director Brian Craft reported that both lanes are now open on Manville Avenue.
- Craft also reported that the two new hybrid beacons for pedestrians on East Wooster Street are in operation. “It’s still a little bit of education for some folks,” he said.
- Craft announced the roundabouts at Interstate 75 and East Wooster Street are progressing, with the deck being poured on Oct. 24.
- Jeffers reported the downtown parking discussions are continuing. The committee working on the issue will bring recommendations to council soon.
- Council agreed to name the new building being planned for City Park the “Veterans Memorial Building.”
- Council member Greg Robinette reported on progress being made on the Community Action Plan.
- Council approved an ordinance establishing an Historic Preservation Commission.