(Posted Jan. 29, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The Madison County commissioners are looking for professional guidance in putting together a master plan for development of the U.S. Route 40 and U.S. Route 42 corridors at I-70.
On Jan. 28, they approved the release of a request for proposals. The goal is to hire a planning consultant to assess the area and determine what types of businesses would make good fits, explained Rob Slane, Madison County administrator.
The county is extending water utilities along the Route 40 and Route 42 corridors with the idea of attracting new development. The commissioners want to be proactive rather than reactive about how the area develops, said Commissioner Mark Forrest.
Consultant proposals are due by Feb. 24. The commissioners plan to make a selection by March 4. They expect the master plan to be complete by Dec. 31. The consulting firm that wins the contract is expected to:
- analyze existing conditions;
- review prior planning efforts;
- analyze realistic opportunities for new development and/or redevelopment of underutilized sites;
- identify zoning and ordinance updates to promote;
- make transportation improvement recommendations;
- create an action plan with specific tasks, responsible parties, potential partners, estimated costs and fundraising strategies; and
- prepare concept plans for recommended improvements.
On Jan. 28, the commissioners accepted a petition requesting the annexation of 14.96 acres from Jefferson Township into the village of West Jefferson. The property sits along Plain City-Georgesville Road near routes 40 and 142, adjacent to land owned by Sky Ranch Properties.
The commissioners plan to enter into an agreement with First Baptist Church of London to purchase property the church owns at 30 N. Madison Rd. The property backs up to the Madison County Municipal Court. Forrest said the county has no specific plans for the property at this time.
Delinquent tax collections will not be used to help with the restoration of the clock tower at the county courthouse. Last year, Donna Landis, county treasurer, transferred $30,000 in delinquent tax funds to the county commissioners to help offset part of the project’s cost. Stephen Pronai, county prosecutor, recently issued an opinion that the project does not qualify for use of the funds. The commissioners voted to return the money to the treasurer’s office.
The county is gearing up to apply for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds–federal money administered through the state for neighborhood revitalization and critical infrastructure projects in low- to moderate-income areas.
The first public hearing to explain the grant options was held on Jan. 28. Whitaker Wright of CDC of Ohio, the county’s CDBG coordinator, will hold a meeting at 10 a.m. Feb. 25 at the commissioners’ office to review potential projects. Formal project proposals are due by March 27. Wright said he expects Mount Sterling, Midway and/or South Solon to express interest. London Mayor Patrick Closser and Tammy Braskett, the city’s parks and recreation director, attended the public hearing, as did John Mitchell, West Jefferson’s public service director.
The Madison County commissioners meet on Tuesdays at the Madison County Courthouse in London. The agenda for each week is posted on the commissioners’ page at www.co.madison.oh.us/.