County considers strategic plan for development at I-70/42

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(Posted Dec. 11, 2019)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

County officials plan to hire a consultant to create a strategic plan for development of the I-70 and U.S. Route 42 corridor.

“We’ve been getting calls from developers–industrial and commercial–who are interested in the area… People are believing in this county and what we’re doing out here,” said David Kell at the Madison County commissioners meeting on Dec. 10.

Kell is executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and Madison County Community Improvement Corp.

Kell said a plan that outlines the type of development county officials want to see along the corridor–and what they don’t want to see–would set the county up for “more successes in the future.” The plan also could address transportation needs, utility upgrades and more.

“A (strategic plan) document would be a good selling point. With these developers, they like to see a community have a plan,” Kell said.

“They like to see what’s going in around them,” added Rob Slane, county administrator.

County Commissioner Tony Xenikis said he can see having a strategic plan but doesn’t think it needs to be overly specific.

“If something’s not a fit, it won’t happen,” he said. “I think a plan can be too stringent and limit growth.”

Slane said a consultant can provide advice to make sense of what would be good fits for the corridor. A guide would allow the county to make decisions confidently and efficiently when opportunities arise, he said.

“If you don’t plan, you plan to fail,” said Mark Forrest, county commissioner. “I say we get it rolling as soon as possible.”

Kell said the cost to hire a consultant would be a minimum of $50,000. County officials need to determine how they are going to cover the cost. In some communities around Ohio, Kell said, area businesses and organizations, along with government and economic development entities, have pitched in to help cover the costs.

The county commissioners gave Kell the go-ahead to work up a request for proposals for potential consulting firms. He said he plans to run the request by the commissioners before sending it out.

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