Prairie Township exploring JEDD

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Prairie Township hopes to improve the West Broad Street Corridor by establishing a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD), which will redirect taxes back to the township.

In order to develop a focused plan and assist with potential implementation of the JEDD within I-270 and Rome-Hilliard Road, known as the West Broad Street Corridor, the township elected to form a partnership with M. Arcari Associates, LLC.

Initially, the consulting firm will work in the community to gauge whether local businesses and property owners within the corridor intend to support the creation of a JEDD.

"We need to see if there is a feasibility for reinvestment in the Westside corridor," said Chairman Nicole Schlosser.

The three month petition process will cost the township $9,000.

If businesses express interest in forming a JEDD, consultants will move to a second phase to secure signatures on petitions from businesses and organizations. The phase will also involve public meetings, progress reports, and other necessary consulting required to establish a JEDD.

If necessary, progress in the second phase will require another three months and $9,000 to total no more than $18,000 for consulting services provided.

"We have to look at new ways to make the Westside more appetizing," said Schlosser. "That’s why we want these gentlemen to conduct this study."

In order to implement a JEDD, 51 percent of the business owners and 51 percent of the property owners along the corridor must agree to its development. This ultimately means that 2 percent of the income tax collected will be redirected back to the township into improvements.

"It’s not going to affect 99 percent of the residents. It will only affect those that live and work in the township," said trustee Steve Kennedy.

It is estimated that the tax will generate between $1 million and $2 million per year, said Kennedy.

The creation of a JEDD would expand the breadth of issues that the township is allowed to address. For instance, the township will be able to clean up graffiti and trash. The JEDD would also increase the amount of police in the area, establish a Community Improvement Corporation, and allow township employees to assist in the beautification and clean-up process within the corridor.

Other Prairie Township news

•As part of a reconstruction project, Inah Avenue will endure reconstruction to include sidewalks, storm sewer improvements, and other necessities.

The project will cost $1.2 million to complete, as estimated by the selected contracting company for the project, George J. Igel & Co., Inc.

The reconstruction will be funded, in part by a grant from the state, and also through an interest-free loan through a program initiated by Issue 2.

"This (Issue 2) gives us a chance to fund projects that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford," said road superintendent Dave McAninch.

•Connie Swisher of the Zoning Department announced the township received a rezoning application for the property including Jelly Doughnuts. Tim Horton’s plans to tear down Jelly Doughnuts in order to combine the adjacent property and rebuild.

•Another application was received by the Board of Zoning Appeals to install signage for Walgreen’s at the Frisch’s on Broad St. Starbuck’s also applied for signage to be placed at Frisch’s and hopes to build on the property.

The applications will be reviewed at the Board of Zoning Appeals meeting  April 8.

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