Updates on current projects, potential projects, and economic development were provided at Wednesday’s meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.
The county is moving forward with seeking requests for qualifications for energy-saving projects on county buildings. Commission president Shane Wilkin said Johnson Controls previously did evaluations on county buildings and “believes there’s savings” to be had in doing some energy-saving upgrades.
Another local company has since indicated its interest in becoming involved as well, according to commissioners.
Wilkin said what it boils down to is that the savings that are had due to the improvements would pay for the improvements themselves. And if those savings don’t happen, the company that did the improvements would pay for what the savings should have been.
Wilkin reported that commissioners are trying to get “a more specific price” for phase one environmentals at the Leesburg Industrial Park, which he has said previously is an essential step in getting the park certified. Once the site is certified, the industrial park would be listed by the state of Ohio as a certified building site, and would be more visible to those looking for a place for their business.
He said commissioners are looking to get quotes for both the Leesburg and Greenfield industrial parks. The Leesburg park, Wilkin said, has about 80 acres to go through, and the Greenfield park about 180 acres.
Wilkin said the county is “still working on things” with Corvac Composites in Greenfield, but added that things “are moving along.”
The commissioner reflected on the auto industry supplier’s initial fears that the needed workforce would not be easy to come by, but a job fair in December saw 460 people turn out for a handful of jobs. Wilkin said the company is trying to get people trained. It is anticipated that Corvac will hire around 175 people over the next three years.
Wilkin also reported that the Rocky Fork Lake Area Safety and Advancement Plan (RFL-ASAP), which came about with a $100,000 grant from the Department of Justice to facilitate the development of a strategic plan to reduce crime at Rocky Fork, continues to work with the 91st Civil Affairs Battalion out of Fort Bragg, N.C.
He said the team did a blight study of the area, which was submitted to The Ohio State University for submission when the grant to implement the identified solutions is applied for.
“We’re looking at quite possibly over a million dollars we’ll be applying for,” Wilkin said.
Commissioner Jeff Duncan reported that work at the Hi-Tech Center is “coming along.” Work began over the summer has included replacing the building’s exterior, parking lot improvements, and putting in a new HVAC system.
Commissioner Tom Horst reminded the board about a public Opiate/Heroin Open Forum from 4-6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28 at the Southern State Community College Auditorium in Hillsboro. Horst said the forum is an opportunity for the public to become more informed about heroin. He said a question and answer session will be included.
Wilkin said Ohio Congressman Brad Wenstrup, who is a doctor, is speaking at the event, which is being put on by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office. It is sponsored in part by the Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition and the Paint Valley ADAMH Board.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.