to provide funds for commerce park effort
The effort to bring a commerce park to Yellow Springs progressed significantly
last week, when Village Council agreed to provide seed money to Community
Resources to secure property and promote it for development.
Though both Council and Community Resources have been discussing the commerce
park concept since 1999, this latest action is important because Council
said that it is willing to use public funds to get a controlling interest
in a development site, and because Community Resources will begin pursuing
Council president Tony Arnett, who proposed the partnership to both groups,
called it a big step forward.
The Community Resources board agreed to Arnetts proposal at a meeting
Feb. 10, two board members said.
Noting that the groundwork for a commerce park has been laid, Sam Bachtell,
a Community Resources board member who has been active in the commerce
park effort, said that Community Resources is ready to move forward. Its
a big job but there was no hesitation from the board, he said.
Dan Young, vice president of Community Resources and a member of a subcommittee
working on the park concept, said the decision by both Council and Community
Resources acknowledges that this is the right time to make a Yellow
Springs park happen.
At its meeting Feb. 18, Council unanimously agreed to commit an unspecified
amount of money from the Village Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund,
which Community Resources will use to acquire land, or an option to purchase
land, for a development site. The Village would also use the loan fund
to support administrative, legal and marketing costs.
Community Resources, a local community improvement corporation that has
been working on economic issues, including the commerce park concept,
would market and sell the property to commercial developers. The groups
commerce park subcommittee will spearhead this effort, Bachtell said.
Both Council and Community Resources will sign an agreement, solidifying
Village Manager Rob Hillard said that he fully supported the
proposal. I think its a good plan, he said.
After the meeting, Chris Mucher, president of the Township Board of Trustees
who put the CEDA together, said that he was encouraged by the Council-Community
Resources partnership. Its how I envisioned the hopeful cooperation
between the Village and Miami Township for identifying property,
Community Resources would try to secure land designated for commercial
development in the Cooperative Economic Development Agreement, or CEDA,
which Council and the Miami Township trustees approved last year. The
CEDA names two areas as available: 46 acres of farmland on the northwest
corner of East Enon and Dayton-Yellow Springs roads, which is owned by
Vernay Laboratories, and almost 40 acres of farmland on the east side
of East Enon, which is part of the Pitstick farm. Both properties border
the village limits on the west and any land developed under the CEDA would
be annexed into Yellow Springs.
Bachtell said Community Resources would determine which of the properties
in the CEDA would be best for this purpose.
The developer would be responsible for building a commercial facility
and finding tenants to fill it, Bachtell said. The developer would follow
the steps outlined in the CEDA, including annexation and rezoning processes.
Arnett, echoing a theme he and other Council members have stressed recently,
said that working with Community Resources would keep Council out of the
business of real estate.
Bachtell said the commerce park subcommittee began working on this effort
this week and that Community Resources hoped to secure an agreement with
a developer by September.
The Pitsticks have asked the Township trustees to rezone nearly eight
acres of land included in the CEDA so the family can build a house. The
trustees will consider the request at their meeting March 3. If the request
is granted, 32 acres of the Pitstick property, which neighbor The Antioch
Company, would still be available for commercial development.
Approved last September, the CEDA says that both the Village and the Township
would provide services, such as utilities and police and fire protection,
to the designated properties and receive tax and utility revenue.
The agreement also says Council and the trustees must agree to provide
to a developer any incentives, including tax abatements, that would affect
the Townships revenue from the CEDA. Arnett said that the CEDA places
the trustees front and center for discussions about incentives.
Acknowledging that it is still early in the process, Mucher
said that the trustees would happily participate if we can.
In his proposal, Arnett said that Council would discuss what incentives
the Village is willing to offer potential developers. These incentives
could include providing utilities to a site and tax abatements. The revolving
loan funds granted to Community Resources could also be used as an incentive,
and not returned to the Village, Arnett said. He said the discussion would
involve the trustees, the Yellow Springs school board and the public.
Arnett said that Council must decide to what extent and how
the Village would encourage development. Laying this out would help Community
Resources leverage a contract with a developer, he said.
In addition, Council and Hillard said that the Village must review the
Revolving Loan Fund to make sure it can be used to secure land for commercial
development. The loan fund has been used as gap financing to help existing
businesses in Yellow Springs.
Council members in the past have been noticeably frustrated with under
use of the loan fund. Only two businesses are currently enrolled in the
program. Weve had a lousy track record over the last eight
years, Council member Denise Swinger said of the fund. Lets
try something different.
In his proposal, Arnett said that by using revolving loan funds the Village
would not have to draw money from the general fund, which supports most
of the Villages programs and activities, except the utilities.