Officials see progress in economic development

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By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

As Franklin Township moves forward with its proposed joint economic development district (JEDD) officials are receiving positive feedback from local businesses.

“Everything is moving along nicely,” said Phil Honsey, a contracted township representative responsible for implementing the JEDD. “This is probably not a surprise, but we have decided our highest priority area is around Westland Mall, so this is the area we will concentrate on.”

The township has agreed to concentrate on the commercial property that is south of Broad Street and west of Georgesville Road.

The proposed JEDD would create more revenue for the township by collecting an income tax from businesses who agree to participate. In return for agreeing to participate, the township would use a portion of the revenue to improve the JEDD area.

“We have discussed doing smaller projects in the proposed area and then hopefully doing something more substantial in the future,” Honsey said. “We want the proposed participating businesses to know that by having their support they are part of the solution.”

Some of the improvements to the area Honsey has said the township would be interested in doing include fixing potholes and paving roads.

“Initially the JEDD isn’t going to create a large amount of resources,” Honsey said. “We need to start with small projects and then as we increase economic activity in the area and we will generate more funds then we can do larger projects.”

Besides raising funds for the township, the overall goal of the JEDD is to increase business in the area. The township hopes these improvements will result in new businesses and employees coming to the township.

Honsey was hired by the township for six months, with the goal of implementing a JEDD in that time. His contract expires in August.

“I would like to accelerate things, but also don’t want to rush business owners,” Honsey said. “We need to come to an agreement that all parties are comfortable with. I’m optimistic that will happen.”

Township officials are not sure how much money this proposed JEDD could bring to the area. A JEDD in neighboring Prairie Township has brought between $2 million and $3 million annually.

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