SALEM - City Council learned Tuesday the city will receive $80,600 in state funding to make data available at a single Internet source regarding properties for development in Salem.
"This is exactly what we need," Sustainable Opportunity Development Center Executive Director Larry Kosiba said.
Kosiba gave council the good news that the city's application through the Local Government Innovation Fund through the Ohio Department of Development had been approved. City council had agreed in February to partner with the SOD Center and the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce on the application for funding the project aimed at improving the city's business attraction environment.
The project has been called Project SEED BASE, which stands for Small Community Enhanced Economic Development and Business Attraction through Integrated Information Systems.
Kosiba explained that using a web-based data base, any company looking at whether to relocate to Salem will be able to go to one site to see what the city has to offer for the property they're considering. Information available will cover: traffic flow; demographics; tax, water and sewer rates; available economic incentives at the state and local level; academic achievement ratings of local schools; zoning requirements; high speed Internet access; and workforce development.
"We'll be able to let them come in and see our assets and capabilities and they can see if we match their requirements," he said.
Mayor John Berlin said they had a lot of collaboration with the Department of Development with this second round application.
"We're all excited about the impact it may have for economic development," he said.
The total project cost was estimated at $89,600, with a match required of $6,000 from the city and $3,000 from the SODCenter. The money will be used to develop the integrated data base.
If the project goes well, Kosiba said another grant may be sought to integrate the rest of the county into a similar data base.
In other business, council approved an ordinance indicating its intent to issue tax exempt bonds on behalf of Salem Community Hospital. Attorney Glen Pratt of Peck, Shaffer & Williams, the hospital's bond counsel, explained the purpose of the proposed financing is to refund bonds issued previously in 2005 for $29 million and to secure $22 million for the hospital patient bed tower construction project.
"The city is serving as a conduit," he said.
The city will be under no obligation related to the bonds. He said they'll likely be back in mid-January for the final bond authorization.
An announcement was also made that a joint meeting of city council and the city Planning Commission will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 18 to discuss the housing project planned for the east end, off of East Pershing Street, Butcher Road and Cunningham Road. A request has been made to rezone about 6 acres off of Pershing Street from commercial to residential multi-family.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org