Planning for development


The Delaware County Board of Commissioners and the Delaware County Finance Authority have created an economic development team to assist with growth in the Big Walnut Local School District area.

Bob Lamb, economic development director for Delaware County, said the Big Walnut Local School District is expected to see tremendous growth over the next decade. By implementing smart growth development practices, the economic development team will help attract exceptional partners to the area.

“You have a great deal of property in the Big Walnut district that is vacant or currently used for agricultural purposes,” Lamb said. “That available land, along with the announced plans for expanded sanitary sewer systems and other utilities, is a sure sign that commercial and residential investment in the area are going to increase. We will use smart growth practices to make sure it’s the right kind of development.”

Along with the communities of Sunbury and Galena, the Big Walnut Local School District serves students from the townships of Berkshire, Genoa, Harlem, Kingston, Porter and Trenton.

The economic development team recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce and the Big Walnut Local School District to assist in development planning.

Lamb said the commissioners and the finance authority have a number of economic development tools available, such as bond financing and sales tax exemptions, which will help create smart growth practices that will not negatively impact Big Walnut schools or the ability of local governments to provided services.

The services being offered by the economic development team will include:

• Facilitation of meetings for input from stakeholders;

• Development of key points important to the community, school district and stakeholders;

• Review of documents and key materials, such as comprehensive land use plans and permits, to create an overview of current economic development and zoning;

• Identification of any gaps and alignments.

• Draft potential recommendations.

“This is a very positive move for the Big Walnut Local School District,” said Bill Bishop, chairman of the Delaware County Finance Authority. “By utilizing the expertise of the Delaware County commissioners and the finance authority, everyone will win. Ultimately, we will see development that benefits the community, its citizens and the school district.”

The Delaware County Finance Authority (DCFA) is a political subdivision created by the Delaware County Board of Commissioners to assist in economic development and job creation in Delaware County. The DCFA offers numerous incentive programs and has the ability to issue tax-exempt and taxable bonds for business, developer, non-profit and governmental projects. The DCFA works in partnership with traditional lending institutions and its public partners to provide the most advantageous financing for your projects that benefit the community

Pictured is Big Walnut Intermediate School at 105 Baughman St. in Sunbury. is Big Walnut Intermediate School at 105 Baughman St. in Sunbury. Joshua Keeran | The Gazette
Team focused on smart growth practices for BWLS

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