BY JENNIFFER WARDELL
Clipper Staff Writer
CENTERVILLE – City officials are hoping to attract companies, not shoppers.
The Centerville City Council recently approved a Community Development Agreement for the Barnard Creek area, located just north of the Megaplex movie theater. The agreement, which would shuffle property tax allocations, is expected to help the city get water lines and sewage out to the area in the hopes of developing it as a business park.
“We don’t really see retail coming in,” said Centerville City Assistant Manager Blaine Lutz. “We’d like to get some good businesses started there, or help them stay there. We’re focusing on job creation.”
Centerville took part in a similar tax agreement to get water and sewer lines out to the Legacy Crossing development, which was outside the city’s infrastructure at the time. The move keeps businesses from having to shoulder the financial burden of extending the lines.
“That area’s always been the end of the road, literally,” said Lutz. “The $60,000 cost of extra sewer line might be impossible for some businesses to overcome.”
The city estimates it will take $2.5 million dollars to make the area suitable for a businesses park.
Before the tax agreement can take effect, other taxing entities in the county such as the school district, which would give up some of its tax money, must approve it.
If that happens, work could start quickly.
“We have two property owners who would like to move forward with office or warehouse-type buildings,” said Lutz. “We also have a couple of businesses that would like to expand, but need a bigger space to do it in.”
In addition to helping local companies stay in the city, Centerville officials hope that the park will draw national companies looking for a place to make their homes. According to Lutz, the fact that the city has UTOPIA’s high-speed fiber optic network might be enough to lure in a technology-related business.
“The fact that we have fiber is kind of a big draw,” he said. “The immediate access to a major transportation route, and the visibility from Legacy, is also appealing to businesses.”
Centerville officials want to be ready to take advantage of any opportunities that come their way.
“Some of these companies decide very quickly,” he said. “The economy’s just starting to warm up, and we want to make sure we have the area prepared.”