By Amanda Amsel
The Franklin Township trustees are moving forward with a proposed joint economic development district (JEDD).
After putting a hold on the JEDD last year, the trustees approved continuing it once again in early 2016. At the time, the trustees agreed to pay Phil Honsey $2,000 a month to oversee implementation of the JEDD.
Honsey’s effort to implement the JEDD is paying off and the township hopes to make some announcements soon.
“True to form with economic development, I can’t say too much right now as we don’t want to make a premature announcement,” Honsey said. “I can say we are making progress and we have a mixture of small and large businesses that reside in the Westside that want to participate.”
Honsey said the township plans on making an announcement by early summer.
The township has previously been concentrating on soliciting businesses to join the JEDD that were located around the Westland Mall area.
As part of the JEDD, the township would be obligated to take a portion of the revenue raised from the JEDD and reinvest it in the area where the participating businesses are located. A few of the improvements discussed included repaving the streets and repairing potholes.
“Right now, we are listening to the property owners and the individual businesses and trying to determine what they need to improve their businesses,” Honsey said. “The end goal is to have a healthy more vibrant Westside.”
Honsey said the business owners who have showed an interest in participating in the JEDD have said the things they want to see improved the most are making the area more walkable, having access to police and fire services, having better landscaping and having more signage.
The township is examining all these things and determining what is possible.
“We are in the process of putting a plan together and we plan to present this plan to participating businesses,” Honsey said. “We hope they will be pleased with this plan and we can roll this out soon.”
Franklin Township has until Dec. 31, 2017 to get a JEDD into place. If they succeed, Columbus would not be able to annex the area for another 50 years.
While the township is still not sure how much money the proposed JEDD would collect, the JEDD in neighboring Prairie Township has brought between $2 million $3 million annually.
“We are very optimistic at this point and very excited about the future,” Honsey said.
For more information on the JEDD, visit www.franklin-township.com.