October 3, 2002

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A step toward business growth

The approval of a commercial development agreement by Village Council and the Miami Township trustees on Monday is a significant step forward in both boards’ efforts to bring more jobs to Yellow Springs and Miami Township and to bolster the governments’ tax bases.

By agreeing to work together on economic development issues, Council and the trustees have signaled to developers and businesses that commercial growth is welcome here, and government leaders will help make it happen. The Village manager, Rob Hillard, emphasized that the doors of commercial development are open when he said the agreement “puts us on the map in terms of economic development.” Now comes the hard part: making commercial development a reality.

Under the terms of the agreement, called a cooperative economic development agreement, or CEDA, the Village and Township would provide services to certain newly developed areas and receive tax and utility revenue from any businesses there. This growth is intended to take place on two properties bordering the west side of Yellow Springs. Only land intended for business purposes can be annexed into the village as part of the CEDA.
Council members and the trustees were vague when questioned about what happens now that the agreement is signed and about how they would go about seeking development. Council president Tony Arnett and Mr. Hillard, who made his comments after the meeting, said the Village and the Township need to get the word out that land is available for business development.

The CEDA itself does not contain a plan to achieve commercial expansion, which makes it more urgent for the Village and the Township to create some sort of road map to reach their goals. Just waiting for some developer to come around is not enough. In addition, the Village should lobby local businesses that need room to grow to consider developing in town as a part of this new deal.

Mr. Hillard said that development is both proactive and reactive. In other words, sometimes you can catch a big fish, and sometimes the fish comes to you. Having a plan, whether it involves marketing strategies or creating a zoning district for commerce parks, puts the community in a better place to catch that big fish.

Let’s hear from you

In August, we put out a call for News readers to submit commentaries about the future of Yellow Springs. Six weeks later, the response has hardly been overwhelming.
We need to receive more submissions. This endeavor cannot be successful without active participation from our readers.

The idea this time is to spark a debate about the future of Yellow Springs and the challenges we face as a community. We are offering space in the News for readers to discuss these interesting issues. Usually office holders and civic leaders are the loudest voices on these types of debates. Given the Yellow Springs Historical Society’s plans to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Yellow Springs next year, this series seems very appropriate. As the community prepares to look back on its community’s past, we are also encouraging local residents to look to the future.

Here are a few guidelines: columns should be less than 700 words; they must be signed and include a phone number and address for verification; they should be type or clearly hand-written and double-spaced. Submissions can be e-mailed to ysnews@ysnews.com, brought to our office, 253 1/2 Xenia Avenue, or mailed, P.O. Box 187, Yellow Springs, OH 45387.

— Robert Mihalek