By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Bowling Green officials approved the sale of acreage to one local industry looking to expand and to another looking to move here from Cincinnati.
The Board of Public Utilities on Monday evening voted to support the transfer of 1.56 acres to Vehtek, located on the east side of the city in the Woodbridge Industrial Park.
“They have a large amount of racking to store items in the parking lot,” said Brian O’Connell, director of the city’s public utilities. “This is going to be a big help to solve a parking problem.”
Vehtek, with approximately 700 employees, is one of Bowling Green’s largest employers. The company has plans to add another 50 employees.
The company wants to buy two parcels west of the plant. Several employees already have to park in the grass during their shifts.
“They definitely have a need for additional parking,” O’Connell said. The fire chief has had continuing concerns about employee and plant safety.
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, O’Connell said. 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.
“That parcel really has little value to anyone else besides Vehtek,” O’Connell said.
On the southeast corner of the city, three acres will be sold to a new company moving from Cincinnati to the John Quinn Innovative Tech Park off Napoleon Road. The property will be sold for $26,000 per acre.
According to Clark, the company plans to build an 18,000-square-foot manufacturing building. It currently has 10 employees, and plans on hiring 10 more by 2022.
Also at Monday’s meeting, the public utilities board approved a solar project easement and lease agreement with the Wood County Commissioners and Wood County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
The city has been looking for more property for another solar array – this one for a community solar project.
City officials are interested in the 70 acres sitting at the northeast corner of East Gypsy Lane Road and Interstate 75. The county commissioners office owns 50, and Wood Lane owns 20 acres.
The board approved a land lease agreement for a solar development on the county property. The agreement is for a three-year lease option and does not commit the city to taking any action or spending any funds. O’Connell explained that having the property under a lease option would allow the city to have more detailed discussions with solar developers.
The county currently leases the land for farming, and does not want to lose the revenue. So the solar agreement provides the county with a $300 per acre annual payment.
“The county is agreeable to this three-year option lease,” O’Connell said.