Commissioners add two $1 million projects to Local Share application

June 6, 2013
A sign at the entrance to the Cool Valley property

Before the application to the state Department of Community and Economic Development was due, the Washington County commissioners added two $1 million projects to their list of Local Share allocations from gambling at The Meadows Racetrack & Casino.

Included in the amendment was Washington County Airport pavement repair and micro surfacing and the development of infrastructure at Cool Valley, Cecil Township.

This brings the total local share funding for which the county is seeking DCED approval to $9,324,795.

“The commissioners are setting the priorities for the projects, and these are high priority projects,” said William McGowen, executive director of Washington County Redevelopment Authority.

“When the (Local Share Account) committee met, (the projects) were presented to the committee. There were two projects that weren’t quite ready, but that we were hoping to be able to do.”

They approved holding back $2 million from the money that could be allocated in case these projects became “ready to do.”

The “holding back” became apparent for the first time Thursday morning in the form of an addendum to the commissioners’ meeting agenda.

“Jeff Kotula, chairman of the local share committee, sent out a notice to the members, asking if they had any questions about this,” said Scott Fergus, Washington County director of administration. He called the two additions to the list of projects “noncontroversial.”

At Cool Valley, the redevelopment authority is buying 28 acres from the developer, T&R Properties Inc. of Columbus, Ohio, “so the authority can create a pad-ready site that we expect a manufacturing plant to buy,” McGowen said. “We’ve been working with them for a while to find a place for them to expand.” McGowen did not identify the firm but said it is “a company that has a presence in Washington County.”

“We have a sales agreement in place, but we have not purchased it,” McGowen said. “We hope to finalize it soon. We still have to do a survey.”

The $1 million in local share funds, if approved by DCED officials, would pay for a traffic study and engineering and design of intersections around Cool Valley so that T&R properties can obtain highway occupancy permits.

T&R, meanwhile, hopes to create additional pad-ready sites on 228 acres, McGowen said. On its Cool Valley website, it bills itself as “a regional leader in the development and management of mixed-use, residential and commercial projects” in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee and Indiana. Its sign stands near Morganza Road across from Southpointe.

At the Washington County Airport in North and South Franklin townships, the $1 million project was described as “pavement rehabilitation-runway micro surfacing.”

McGowen said, “All the surfaces at the airport need reconstruction, rehabilitation or preservation.”

The surfaces include runways, taxiways, taxi lanes and aprons.

Applying a thermoplastic compound to the runway will preserve it and extend the life of its surface for five to 10 years and “allow us to get to the larger project of extending the runway in the future,” McGowen said.

In addition to the local share and other local money, the airport expects to receive $1,094,000 from the state Bureau of Aviation, plus taxpayer dollars from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Barbara S. Miller covers politics, Washington County government and a variety of other topics for the Observer-Reporter. She is a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College, majoring in English and history. Follow her on Twitter @reporterbarb.

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