The City of Delaware Planning Commission voted unanimously May 2 to recommend to City Council approval of a preliminary and final development plan for a 50,000-square-foot AEP service center to be built on the south side of Slack Road, just west of Liberty Road.
Planning and Community Development Director Dave Efland thanked the three members of the development group on hand, saying, “They had choices where they could move this facility. It is currently in our city, and its jobs are currently within our city … there were a number of other communities that were not the city of Delaware that they took a look at.”
Second ward representative Jim Halter expressed concerns about the condition of Slack Road and its ability to handle the increase in traffic.
“I think the city should take a real hard look and move it up on the priority list,” Halter said. “I used to travel that road. Two cars had a hard time. Some of (AEP’s) trucks are fairly good size. A car and that truck, the road may not be wide enough … I just want to make sure the city is aware that when they do something like this, there’s a responsibility we have as a city to do something about it.”
Efland said the economic development director, along with city council and the city manager, are working through some incentive agreements that would include an offsite infrastructure agreement that would see improvements made from the service center entryway, east to Liberty Road.
Included in that agreement would be improvements to the approach of the railroad tracks that cross Slack Road between the future service center and the existing AEP substation that sits on the corner of Slack and Liberty roads.
Deputy City Engineer Matt Weber said of Slack Road, “The condition of Slack (Road), it’s an ‘F.’ It’s a failed road. We have a complete lack of reliable funding for these types of improvements.”
John Ortli, of AECOM, who will head the build, said the road will be widened from 18 feet to 20 feet, and he called the project “a big win for everybody.”
Tom Wolber, a member of the City of Delaware Shade Tree Commission, was present to voice concerns over plans for tree preservation of wooded area that sits directly behind the intended site, and its effect on the tree canopy for the city.
“Our foresters are of the opinion that’s a stagnant growth — there’s no new growth in it. We intend to keep that, but we will occasionally harvest some so we get some life in that timber stand.”
City council is expected to consider the matter at its May 14 meeting.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.