Officials break ground at Overland Industrial Park in ToledoWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Officials from the City of Toledo, Lucas County and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority broke ground May 21 to celebrate the beginning of construction at the Overland Industrial Park on the former Jeep property.
The new 1,500-foot roadway, located off Central Avenue, will serve as the main entrance into the site until the Ohio Department of Transportation completes phase two of the I-75/I-475 interchange project. At that time, a new entrance will be built to connect with Willys and Jeep Parkways near the new I-75 interchange.
The groundbreaking ceremony commemorated the next phase of redevelopment, which will prepare the site for vertical construction this summer. Construction will begin almost immediately on the roadways and infrastructure at the site with completion expected by fourth quarter 2013.
“It’s a monumental event to celebrate another milestone with the groundbreaking that represents a new beginning for this site and our region’s economy,” said Paul Toth, president and CEO of the Port Authority. “We’re excited to begin the next phase of redevelopment at Overland Industrial Park.”
“It’s a great day for our city. It will be a perfect place for jobs and it will create a lot of jobs to help this community. This spot will help turn this city around,” said Toledo Mayor Mike Bell before the ceremony.
Several speakers cited the collaboration between the port authority, city, county and state for the progress of the project.
“This is a transformative place for our city and the community with all the transformations it has seen. We’re here to celebrate another transformation and we couldn’t do it without the partnerships represented here today,” said Lucas County Commissioner Carol Contrada.
Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon-Wosniak called it “a progressive project and game-changer for Toledo.”
The event and site had special meaning for Lucas County Commissioner Pete Gerken, who said he started work at the former Jeep plant there on March 26, 1976. He said he worked there for 30 years and is among the 35,000 people now receiving pension checks for their work on the site.
Almost all of the officials who spoke at the ceremony cited the collaboration of so many different sources in the partnership on this project. That partnership included the Port Authority, City of Toledo, Lucas County, Ohio Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“It’s a testament to the cohesiveness and unity in Northwest Ohio with a new era of public-public partnerships leading the redevelopment by taking on risks to do things,” Toth said.
Overland Industrial Park is a multi-phase project planned to develop the former Jeep site with modern and energy-efficient industrial facilities. The Port Authority acquired the 111-acre site in 2010 for $95,000.
Miller Brothers Construction of Archbold will be building the roadways and sewers with a $1.2 million project that will likely involve about a dozen workers, said Scott Jaskeal, vice president of operations for the company. Workers will begin cutting out for the road next week, he said.
William Carroll, chairman of the Port Authority board of directors, reported the group has signed leases with Airgas Inc., which will become the first tenant in the development. Construction will begin later this summer, Carroll said.
The Port Authority will begin construction on a 100,000 square-foot building with Harmon Family Development. That project is expected to be ready by the end of July, said Matt Sapara, who is coordinating the Overland Industrial Park project for the Port Authority.
Sapara said the company is following up on a lot of leads for space in the development that generated increased interest since the announcement of Airgas locating there.
TTL Associates of Toledo and Mannik & Smith Group of Maumee worked together on the investigation, environmental assessment and final remediation of the site. They have finished their part of the project, said Richard Ruse, president of TTL Associates, who attended the groundbreaking.
Toth reported that more than 100,000 cars pass the Overland Industrial Park site each day and that it’s important for the community to know that progress is being made there.