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Published: Wednesday, 7/16/2008

Oregon opening land for industrial growth

BY MEREDITH BYERS
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Ken Filipiak, city administrator for Oregon, said Lucas County is "hungry for development" but that there "just isn't that much shovel-ready land available."

With that in mind, Oregon is laying the foundation for future development, today opening Cedar Point Development Park, the only publicly owned platted industrial park in the city. Located on Corduroy Road, slightly east of Lallendorf Road, the park consists of about 60 acres that are fully equipped with roads, utilities, and zoning already in place. The city is planning solely for industrial growth in the area.

The city began purchasing the land in 1998 with a $420,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Development. The city also received $500,000 from the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority for a one-third stake in the project, and continued to purchase land in 2004 and 2007.

Other investments included $130,000 for infrastructure from the Oregon Economic Development Foundation and $232,000 from city funds for sanitary sewers. The remaining amount was borrowed money which the city is repaying through tax increment financing.

The total cost of the land was about $590,000, and the infrastructure cost about $1.3 million, Mr. Filipiak said.

"The need for new growth is as necessary as ever and we're doing everything we can to make it easy for people to build in Oregon," Mr. Filipiak said.

"We own the property, we make it available at a competitive rate, and they won't have to go through all the steps you go through when you're negotiating land with a private developer," he added.

The city is working with Ed Harmon, a private developer and president of Spartan Logistics, a Columbus-based company that bundles construction, building, and design services together to make it easier for companies to build in the park.

The land in the park costs about $25,000 per acre.

So far, one company has set up shop in the park. Fresenius Medical Care, a German company that makes dialysis products, has purchased about 34 acres of land.

Fresenius has a warehouse and distribution center that has potential to create as many as 75 to 100 jobs, and a manufacturing building that will create an additional 60 to 70 jobs. The company hopes to be up and running by the end of the month.

Mr. Harmon said he has spoken with two other companies interested in purchasing land and constructing businesses in Cedar Point Development Park.

He anticipates the entire park will be developed within the next three to five years and businesses there will create as many as 600 new jobs.

Matt Sapara, the director of development for the port authority, said the agency has a good relationship with the city of Oregon.

"We recognized the need that there were worthwhile projects being developed. It's a unique investment."

Mr. Harmon believes northwest Ohio has "tremendous potential" for economic development because of relatively cheap land and the availability of the "shovel ready land," which means companies can begin constructing their projects in the park immediately.

"Oregon is "cost-effective and has the ability to bring projects with good workmanship," Mr. Harmon said. "It's easy to push the price and the time line."

Oregon Mayor Marge Brown called the project "true economic development."

Jerry Peach, a member of City Council and chairman of its economic development committee, said the park will "bring nothing but good things to the city of Oregon."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at the site will take place at 10 a.m. today followed by a short dedication program with Ms. Brown.



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