Overland industrial park building a future for North Toledo - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Overland industrial park building a future for North Toledo

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More jobs may be on the way at the old Jeep plant.  One company has announced it will open business there and others are now interested in the site.

At one time, 40,000 people worked at the site just off I-75 in North Toledo.   That was 85 years ago but the site is ready to create jobs for the next 85 years.

The vacant 111-acre Jeep site will get a new tenant, later this year, and other companies are interested in moving to the property which is being developed as an industrial park.

Today, a gathering of local officials broke ground at the site.  It was a ceremonial gesture  but it was also symbolic.

The once vibrant automotive factory that turned into a brownfield will soon sprout new life thanks to coooperation from Toledo, Lucas County and economic development groups.  Paul Toth, the president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority says,  "Companies come here and they see that the community's cohesive and singing with one voice; it really shows well for us as a city."

Tuesday, the road to the future of this 111-acre site literally started construction.   That road will lead to the new building *Airgas* will put here when moves in and hires 30 new people by the end of the year.

And now, four other businesses are looking at putting down stakes, according the Matt Sapara of the TLCPA.  Supara says, "We made a lot of progress and we're very optimistic we're going to get other quality companies out here in the future."

Creating jobs was one of the drivers toward developing this site.  But another  driver was understanding the psychological impact this site has on the surrounding neighborhoods.

People who live in the neighborhoods around the old site are struggling and having a vacant brownfield close by doesn't help.

But Lucas County commissioner Pete Gerken (D),  who lived on these streets and worked at this site for 30-years, believes there's new life coming.  He told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "The people that worked here are going to go, We're back; the neighborhoods–We're going forward, our kids may have a job."

Those jobs could come to this site because foreign companies, in particular see the site's two-and-a-half mile proximity to the new Jeep plant, the seven-mile proximity to the Port of Toledo and the nine-mile proximity to the Ohio Turnpike and will be drawn to this site.

Toledo Mayor Mike Bell agrees, "It's absolutely a magnet to draw attention," he told 13abc.  "This is going to put us back on the map as being able to produce things and being able to put people back to work."

The old Jeep site is also foreign trade zone.  A company from Europe could bring in raw materials and not pay any tarrif until those materials are turned into products for sale.

That is very attractive to global companies looking at the US for investment.

And this site offers 700-thousand square foot of available space.

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