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Published: Wednesday, 7/19/2006

Sylvania gives grant to firm for relocating

Root Learning Inc., which plans to move to Sylvania next spring, has been awarded a 10-year economic development grant by the city.

The business consulting firm, now in Maumee, plans to lease a building at 5470 South Main St. in Sylvania. The job creation and retention program grant approved by council Monday will provide Root Learning with funds equal to one-third of the annual municipal income payroll taxes paid by the company to Sylvania. The grant would be contingent on the firm hiring a minimum of 13 full-time employees at the Sylvania office in 2007. Root Learning must accept the agreement by Aug. 1, according to city officials.

When it relocates, the firm will have about 70 full-time workers with an annual payroll of about $4.2 million at the Sylvania office, but plans call for more jobs to be created there, Robin Wooddall Klein, senior vice president of Root Learning, said yesterday.

John Plock, Sylvania's finance director, said yesterday that the grant money will not be income tax money; rather, the money will come from other revenue sources, such as from fees and fines. If Root Learning, for example, pays $67,500 income tax on a $4.5 million payroll, then the grant amount would be $22,500.

Mayor Craig Stough endorsed the grant, and said that Root Learning's relocation to Sylvania would be a "great thing" for the city. He predicted the firm would bring more visitors to the city's downtown, stimulating business, such as at restaurants.

Root Learning recently was named as one of the 50 Best Small & Medium-Sized Companies to Work For in America. It was selected as one of the top 25 small firms in the annual survey by the Society for Human Resource Management and the Great Place to Work Institute.

The company has 100 employees in three locations, including offices in London and Chicago.

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