Defiance Town Hall is moving forward with a north side street extension to improve economic development opportunities.
City council approved a related ordinance at its Tuesday night meeting allowing the design of the eastward extension of Commerce Drive from near the Johns Manville Carpenter Road plant.
Four other orders were also processed, including two that would allow police and firefighters from other communities to transfer to Defiance (see related story), while the council received a presentation from two members of Fort Defiance Humane Society on Wild Cats (see related story).
The aforementioned Ordinance on Commerce Drive was approved after a third and final reading and allows for a contract with Mannik & Smith Group, Maumee, to design the extension of the road. The cost is $ 195,800.
Several million additional dollars may be needed to expand the eastward extension of Commerce Drive from the nearby Manville plant to the new Harmon Business Park developing along Domersville Road.
Chief Financial Officer John Lehner said one of the reasons the city wants to move forward now is to demonstrate its intentions to the Ohio Department of Transportation, which has pledged a $ 750,000 grant. for the extension.
“The immediate problem was to try to reassure the Ohio Department of Transportation that this thing is moving forward and not endanger the $ 750,000 that is on the table,” he said.
Other funds are being sought or considered for the extension, including funds expected to arrive from Washington, DC through the American Rescue Plan Act. The city expects to receive $ 3.26 million from this source.
But first, noted Mayor Mike McCann, the Mannik & Smith Group will need to design the road to determine how much the extension will cost.
“What that will allow us to do is finish the engineering, get an accurate cost of the construction cost,” McCann said. “This will identify the areas we need to work with for a right-of-way acquisition as well as determine where it will cross the Pioneer Rail so that we can go to common plea court to get permission to do the crossing.”
While some city councilors had expressed reservations about the progress in previous meetings, none was expressed Tuesday evening when the ordinance was adopted unanimously.
General Councilor Joe Eureste asked if the proposal would increase growth opportunities on the north side.
“Is there any advantage in having this on the books?” ” He asked.
“Yes, it helps us and there is activity all the time,” McCann said, either through the Defiance County Community Improvement Corporation office, ”or through the Harmons office on this property. making it accessible is obviously essential to any project. No one is going to build a building and open a business if there is no road to it. “
A speculative building is under construction by the Harmon company in the business park off Domersville Road. Part of the road was built there, so the extension would join the existing street near the Manville factory.