The last six months have produced some great economic news for the city of Aurora, as a handful of companies are planning big projects, and residents should be thankful for that.
The Advocate reported the latest news last week, as Trelleborg Sealing Profiles Inc., which has two facilities in Aurora and one in Streetsboro, is considering the possibility of consolidating them into a $16 million facility here.
City Council is mulling real estate tax abatement and income tax incentive agreements to entice the firm to consolidate here. The facility could be up and running by the end of 2018.
Although the income tax agreement would provide a savings for Trelleborg of 33 percent for a five-year period, the estimated 64 jobs which the firm plans to move from Streetsboro would still amount to more income tax money for the city and schools.
And the company is proposing to add about two dozen new jobs within three years of the consolidation. A few thousand dollars of added tax revenue always is welcome for any community.
At its June 12, City Council approved a real estate tax abatement for Liberty Ford, which paves the way for the move of its Solon dealership to 13 acres of the former Sea World / Geauga Lake Park property.
Liberty Ford would become the city's third auto dealership, as Ganley Chevrolet and Chrysler Dodge Ram are already well established on West Garfield Road in the center of town.
With Ford being one of the top-selling brands in Northeast Ohio, that means the new dealership will sell thousands of vehicles over the next several years, and will provide another option for local residents to get their vehicles worked on.
Solon's loss is certainly Aurora's gain. Liberty wanted to expand its dealership in Solon, but there was some kind of snafu over the expansion plans, and the two sides couldn't come together to reach an agreement.
Liberty plans to move about 60 full-time jobs to Aurora, with the possibility of an additional 20 or so within three years of starting operations here.
Earlier this year, City Council OK'd a tax incentive agreement with Piping Rock Health Products, which plans to move into a large facility on Lena Drive beside PartsSource. That agreement also would abate 33 percent of income taxes through 2025.
The firm plans to bring about 175 jobs initially to the city, with the possibility that would grow to 350 by its fifth year here, producing a payroll of about $12 million a year.
Between the three companies, the total investment would amount to about $36 million, and that's a nice chunk of change.
In addition to those three huge projects, other companies have made or plan to make lesser improvements to their facilities.
McMaster Carr has expanded its facilities over the years, and plans to add another large building soon on the west side of Route 43 across from Lena Drive. J.I.T. Packaging expanded a few months ago.
The new Tire Max store is nearing completion behind the Aurora Exchange building, Starbucks recently moved into its new building at Routes 43 and 82, and there have been other improvements to businesses in recent months.
According to Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin, city officials are continuing to negotiate with Bainbridge Township officials to bring about a Joint Economic Development District agreement which would be acceptable to both communities and would cover the former Geauga Lake Park property.
It appears an agreement might be close to being put before legislators in both communities. If that is OK'd, it could pave the way for a Meijer store to go in the old Geauga Lake parking lot along Route 43, plus open up possibilities for more development on the more than 500 acres.
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High school and college graduation is usually a happy time full of high expectations as students head off to college or begin their careers. But this year's happiness has been tainted by a series of tragedies in Northeast Ohio.
Two recent Chardon High graduates were killed when their car pulled onto Route 44 and was struck by a semi-rig. It was yet another sad occurrence involving Chardon High, where a teenage gunman went on a rampage in 2012, killing three students.
Then on the very last day of school at Strongsville High, a 16-year-old girl was killed while riding in a car which slammed into a tree.
In late May, two Perry Township girls were killed in a collision with another vehicle in Geauga County. In early May, a 17-year passenger died in a crash in Cleveland and five other teens in the car were injured, and recently, a 17-year-old in Richland County (Mansfield area) was killed when he drove through a stop sign and was hit by another vehicle.
The untimely and tragic deaths of teens who have most of their lives ahead of them should send a message to all teens -- and adults as well -- that safety when driving or riding in a car is of utmost importance.
Law enforcement authorities and parents preach to teens about auto safety all the time. They don't mean to nag; we are simply concerned about the well being of teens. We want them to be around to fulfill their goals and dreams.
So when you're driving, pay attention to the road at all times. Don't be talking on a cell phone, texting or fumbling to try to get a CD into the player while you're moving. Pull off the road to do those things.
If you're a passenger, don't do things to distract the driver. Of course, don't drink and drive or ride with someone who has been drinking. Teenagers shouldn't be drinking in the first place.
The teens who died recently and those who have died over the years in traffic crashes had bright futures ahead of them. But because of these tragedies, that future will not be realized.
All of us are saddened by these tragedies, whether we knew the victims or not, and we don't want to see more productive lives be cut short.
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189