Concord Township trustees met with Bob Lamb, Delaware County economic development director, in an open meeting Friday to discuss the township’s future for economic growth.
Trustees asked Lamb how to become more “business friendly” to enhance the quality of life for township residents.
“How do we attract commercial business?” asked trustee Joe Garrett.
The conversation, in part, was started as trustees talked about Jerome Village, which is adjacent to the township just across the line in Union County.
“With everything going on with Jerome Village, it got us talking,” Garrett said. “How does all that stuff work? How do you market for it?”
Jerome Village developer’s master plan showcases the upscale housing development as having two elementary schools and a middle school all located in the Dublin City School District. The plans include a commercial district in the northern portion of the village with retailers and restaurants.
Trustees said they had heard reports of the developers of the village have plans of putting a grocery store in within 3 to 5 years.
The other part of the conversation leading up to a meeting with Lamb was how does Tax Increment Financing, also known as TIFs, work?
Garrett said he had been talking with Lamb but thought it would be better if all the trustees sat down with him at the same time.
“It was more of an educational meeting,” Garrett said, “If you’re competing for this stuff you want the easy button.”
According to the 2010 census, Concord Township’s population was 9,294.
Trustee Bart Johnson said that number makes up just under 4,000 households constituting the majority of the township’s tax base. He said there are less than 15 businesses in Concord Township.
Johnson wanted to know how to attract more businesses to the township.
“Where is the sweet spot?” he asked Lamb.
Lamb told the trustees they weren’t really in the running for attracting retail business, but he suggested light industrial manufacturing along US 42 or something in line with aftermarket car parts that would play off of JEGS or Honda.
“You need to have shovel-ready sites,” Lamb said. “If you don’t have a site ready to go, you’re not going to be looked at.”
Lamb told the trustees to work with the county and developers to handle the cost of infrastructure.
“As you grow you diversify the base,” Lamb told the trustees. “At the end of the day it comes down to what is good for the community.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.