Monday, June 20, 2011

A Tale of Two Manufacturing Sites

I'm watching this from afar.  It's not my fight, but I scratch my head.

Columbus Business First reported last week on the potential re-birth of two manufacturing sites in Central Ohio.

There's the tale of a former Timken manufacturing site in Columbus being redeveloped.  According to the report, state grants will be a big part of getting this site ready for future development. 

The site has superior highway access as well as rail access and many of the other attributes that brought manufacturing there in the first place.  The developer, however, predicts "likely uses include a distribution center or retail."  Not manufacturing.

Contrast that tale with the tale of re-use of a former GM manufacturing plant in Ontario, Ohio.  A silicon processing company could exceed 1,100 jobs at the site.  Manufacturing jobs.  Manufacturing re-use.

Puzzlingly, I don't see state incentives mentioned in this article.  My own research found there are ones, such as a $11 million tax credit approved in February, and other unpublished items pending PUCO and state Controlling Board approval for this $475 million project. 

The state's role, nonetheless, is lesser a percentage on the suburban manufacturing project near Mansfield than on the urban retail project in Columbus.  And the deal still needs a boost to get closed.

One project means Ohio competes for manufacturing jobs that could have gone to another state or another country. The other could mean one retail site in Columbus suffers from subsidy granted to another retail site in Columbus. Where's the growth?

Here's hoping that more policymakers are considering this tale of two manufacturing sites too. 

Again, it's not my fight, but it seems to me, during times of extremely limited state dollars, that grant funds should go to manufacturing redevelopment and re-use first.  Period.

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