Guernsey County Port Authority members learned on Wednesday of a potential new construction project that could expand a Larrick Road business in Cambridge or provide warehouse space for other businesses in the area.

Executive Director Norm Blanchard told members Telling Industries located on the south side of Cambridge is discussing construction of a large building to address its current needs or help other businesses in the area.

“They are looking at putting in a pretty good size building, about 200,000 square feet,” Blanchard said. “Right now, the purpose is kind of open. They are looking if they want to do a spec (building) for a warehouse, which is sorely needed, or if they possibly extend the manufacturing that they currently have at that location.”

The new building would reportedly be located on land behind the current structure that is owned by Telling Industries.

Blanchard said the company is currently completing required testing for the local flood plain and potential abandoned mines under the surface.

“It’s something we need really bad,” said Blanchard of the potential for a warehouse.

The Port Authority and Cambridge officials have been in contact with Telling Industries regarding the proposed project. Blanchard said company officials will have to decide what type of building will be built for funding options.

“We are working with them and we will be involved in that,” said Blanchard. “It’s a good project and I feel certain that it will move forward.”

The long-time director also revisited a potential construction project on 35 acres that are available at the D.O. Hall Business Center for manufacturing charcoal and charcoal pellets for industrial use.

The plant would include two towers measuring 85 to 90 feet high and concerns were it would be a problem with the Cambridge Airport nearby.

“These are some tall towers, so we met with Terry Losego and went over the height requirements,” said Blanchard. “Since that (property) lies low, it should be fine.”

Geotech studies are also underway due to underground mines in that area.

“The engineers need to look at it and see what they can do,” said Blanchard of the work necessary prior to the sale of the property.

COVID impact on bed tax revenue

Also during the director’s report, Blanchard discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the area using data from bed tax revenue and local traffic counts.

Bed tax collections in 2020 totaled $598,455 with a 43% occupancy rate, down from $884,025 in 2019 prior to the pandemic. The total for 2021 with estimates for November and December is $900,429 in bed tax revenue.

“The COVID impact on this area was significant,” said Blanchard, who added he has received calls from a couple companies potentially looking to build new hotels in the Cambridge area.

The traffic count in 2020 at the Interstate 70/77 interchange was down approximately 14,000 vehicles from the previous year.

In other business:

  • Approved the Fiscal Year 2022 budget with $282,050 in estimated expenses. Projected revenue totals $241,501, leaving the agency with projected deficit of $40,549 for the year. The current cash balance for the Port Authority, according to Treasurer Ed Wright, is $320,358.
  • Approved FY 2022 appropriations at $561,859.
  • Authorized Board President Regis Woods, Vice President Pete Mikula and Blanchard conduct Port Authority business previously approved by the board, including but not limited to, the sale sale and purchase of real estate, during 2022.
  • The schedule for Business Retention & Expansion visits by Blanchard during the first quarter of 2022 includes Telling Industries, Kerry, International Paper, Encore Plastics, Velocity Group, Quanex, Cambridge Packaging and Picoma.
  • Blanchard gave updates regarding real estate transactions involving a South 12th Street property in Cambridge and the Harper-Hutchison building on Steubenville Avenue; a congressional earmark for the D.O. Hall Business Center, which is pending before the U.S. Senate; Dunkin Donuts on Southgate Parkway; Ohio Bridge expansion plans; and the Guernsey GIG broadband initiative seeking approximately $5 million in local contributions to install fiber-optic cable to every home in the county.
  • Board approved keeping the same officers from last year for 2022. They include Woods as president, Mikula as vice president and Wright as treasurer.

The Port Authority will next meet at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 9 in the Community Improvement Corporation office on Brick Church Road south of Cambridge.

Source Google News – Read the original article

Port Authority board learns of potential building project in Cambridge – The Daily Jeffersonian

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