‘We are not out of the woods yet,’ Congressman’s aid says of TJX project

Staff report


Though officials expressed their satisfaction Wednesday with the rezoning of land needed for TJX Companies to locate a warehouse employing 1,000 people in Lordstown, there’s still another potential hurdle on the horizon.

Rick Leonard, district director of the Warren office of U.S. Rep Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th, spoke briefly about the project Wednesday at an economic-development committee meeting of the Western Reserve Port Authority.

“Last night was a huge hurdle,” Leonard said when asked to comment on the rezoning decision. “It was the first step. I think there are many more steps to go,” he said of Lordstown Village Council voting on the rezoning and other steps.

“It’s our hope that they don’t move forward with a referendum vote, which would significantly delay the project,” Leonard said of the right under Ohio law for citizens to challenge a rezoning by circulating petitions asking for it to be placed on the ballot for the voters to decide.

“Everything is moving forward. We are not out of the woods yet. It’s still going to take a unified effort: Tim [Ryan] leading the charge, your support, other civic-minded folks and elected officials,” he said of the port authority.

“We want to be pro-business in this area, but we also want to be mindful of the residents’ concerns. I think if you educate them and show them how this is going to be a win-win situation, I think it just moves a lot smoother.”

Leonard said the port authority’s economic development work in the past several years “is really helping to attract these kinds of companies” because word is out about the help the port authority’s NEO Development and Finance Agency can provide to companies.

John Moliterno, port authority executive director, commended the congressman and his staff for the time they put in “to save that project.” The port authority has worked with TJX on the financing package for the project.

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