Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

New business complex coming to St. Henry

By Shelley Grieshop
A former restaurant site soon will become a small business complex in St. Henry.
Village Administrator Don Hess told village councilors Monday night that town crews recently installed new water lines to 391 N. Eastern Ave. in preparation for future construction of a commercial building. The proposed complex, called North Town, will include space for four stores, property owner Homer Stachler told the newspaper.
Stachler said he already has several potential businesses interested in setting up shop in the building. The site is currently the only open lot for commercial use along Eastern Avenue.
The property formerly was home to Devault's restaurant, a 50s-themed eatery that abruptly closed in 2000. The "shiny diny," as the silver diner was known, was removed from the property in December.
In related news, councilors approved first reading of an ordinance giving a 10-year, 100 percent real property tax abatement to Turn Four Holdings, doing business as Homestretch Sportswear in the village's industrial park. Under the community re-investment agreement, the company must create four part-time and three full-time jobs.
Homestretch owners, Hess and his wife, Donna, are adding 5,000 square feet onto their building to expand their own business and add SecureCom, a Verizon Wireless dealer to fill an adjacent storefront. The jobs will be created from both businesses, Hess said.
The tax abatement must first be approved by the St. Henry school board of education before the ordinance can be passed by village councilors. The funds diverted from the school will be reimbursed in kind, Hess said.
The community re-investment program is designed to give tax exemptions to companies for improvements to real property in order to "encourage economic stability, maintain real property values and generate new employment opportunities."
The Hess family recently was awarded a $50,000 low-interest revolving loan from Midwest Electric to help with expansion costs.
In other business, councilors:
• Listened as county economic Director Jared Ebbing explained the Grand Lake Watershed Balanced Growth Plan, which will create a program for growth and land use changes to improve local water quality. Ebbing is seeking input and resolutions of support from communities in the county, which could help obtain government funding.
Councilors subsequently passed the measure of support as an emergency resolution.
• Stated their intention to pass an emergency resolution at the next meeting Nov. 9 to object to the proposed plan to move the U.S. mail distribution center from Lima to Toledo. The move has been proposed to save money.
U.S. Postal Service representative Patrice Seaver attended the meeting to seek councilors support.
• Passed third and final reading of an ordinance to finalize the annexation of 2.903 acres of land into the village's corporation limit. The property is owned by James and Janice Broering.
• Learned that more than 50 trees were planted in North Park last week. Village crews will plant trees in the park on an annual basis, Hess said.
• Learned village crews completed crack sealing of streets for the year.
• Learned the Mercer County Community Improvement Corporation will meet for an organizational meeting at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 17.
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