CRA Reinvestment area in Lordstown expands

Village council approved creation of a CRA in 1999 to provide a tax abatement to a trucking company.
LORDSTOWN -- Village officials hope an expanded reinvestment area attracts new business while maintaining those already here.
With legislation passed by council last month and effective Jan. 17, the village's Community Reinvestment Area was increased from 150 acres to 5,200 acres.
A CRA allows businesses in the 5,200-acre area to be eligible for real property tax exemptions.
In 1999, the village created the CRA to provide a tax abatement to Con-Way Transportation Services Inc., which moved its operation from Portage County to the village industrial park on Muth Road.
Rejected break: The Ohio Department of Development had rejected a 50 percent real and property tax abatement in 1999 for the company under its enterprise zone program. DOD said no financial incentive was needed to attract the company to the village.
The larger CRA consists mostly of industrially zoned area. It's bounded by the Ohio Turnpike, state Route 45, Salt Springs Road and the village's southern corporation limit.
"It's a marketing tool," said Mayor Arno A. Hill. "Once General Motors makes an announcement about the future of the plant, we want to be ready."
It's also a way for the village to look out for its financial future.
"As they're downsizing the work force at the plant, the village revenue goes down," Hill said. "If they keep outsourcing, we want to keep those jobs close to the plant and close to the plant would be in Lordstown."
The mayor said that area residential properties may qualify for the program by upgrading.
"Once it takes effect, it's another avenue we have to try to get businesses to come in or to stay in Lordstown," Hill said.
The amount and length of the abatements for which companies that are in or move into the CRA are eligible for are determined case by case.
Ronald Barnhart, village planning and zoning administrator, said a CRA allows more local control than an enterprise zone program. Both incentive programs must be approved by the state DOD.
Companies in it: Companies within the area include Con-Way, Cavalier Federal Credit Union, Lear Seating Corp., Carts of America, Taylor Steel Inc. and Protec Roofing. Oakley Industries Inc., a Michigan-based wheel and tire assembly company, built a facility within the area last fall but hasn't started operations.
The village also is working to extend sewer lines to areas that may appeal to industrial developers.
"When General Motors makes their announcement [about its new small car], I think we're going to start looking pretty darn attractive when other companies come in to take a look," the mayor added.

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