The Fayette County Commissioners have been busy working on plans to re-certify the 1,600-acre mega-site at the U.S. 35 and I-71 interchange for awhile now.
“We’ve been working on it for probably about 15 years,” said Jack DeWeese, Fayette County Commissioner, during the commissioners’ meeting Monday in Washington C.H.
“This all started under Bob Taft as governor,” said Tony Anderson, Fayette County Commissioner, as an appeal to the manufacturing communities to say that Ohio was about jobs and to show the leadership of Ohio was doing things to attract business.
The site has gone through a series of changes and certifications. The most recent certification has been with Dayton Power & Light, and that certification is in the final stages, according to the commissioners.
A meeting in Atlanta last month revealed that the mega-site, even now, isn’t up-to-par with what it needs to be in order to attract the right kind of industry into the area.
Part of the reason is because the railroad does not go into the site.
“Our obligation now is to get that rail across the highway and to get about 200 feet of rail into the site,” said Anderson.
To do this, the Ohio Department of Transportation, along with Dave Martin, the land-owner of the site, the Ohio Development Commission, West Central Ohio Port Authority, Indiana & Ohio Rail America, and the Fayette County Prosecutor’s Office will all have to work together in order to get the rail to extend into the mega-site.
“We’re going to have some elevation challenges, we’re going to have to lower the highway, so it’s not going to be real quick,” said Anderson.
He said they are trying to stay competitive with what other states and other sites have in order to attract the right businesses to move into the area.
“Hopefully jobs will come,” said Dan Dean, Fayette County Commissioner. “There are several who have looked at the site. It’s a work in progress. The definitions for [infrastructure] are ever-changing, that’s why we keep doing re-certification.”
Reach Ashley at the Record-Herald at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton