- Lawrence Budd Staff Writer
The Warren County Port Authority has agreed to help the village of West Milton in Miami County and a Columbus-area developer construct a 98-acre mixed-use development projected to undergo as much as $85 million in investment.
On Thursday, the board overseeing the port authority approved an agreement with West Milton to assist with establishing a taxing district encompassing the land on the south side of Ohio 571 and west of Iddings Road in Miami County.
Village Manager Matt Kline said Equity, the developer of Greene Crossings in Beavercreek, is expected to invest $60 million to $70 million on development of a Randall House assisted living facility, 150 single-family homes and retail or office development, with construction possibly beginning next spring.
“We’re just excited about the opportunity and seeing some growth in our area,” Kline said.
Through the port authority, West Milton would fund $12 million to $15 million in water, sewer, fiber optic, road, lighting and other infrastructure improvements, Kline said.
West Milton is home to about 4,700 residents northwest of the Dayton International Airport in Miami County.
Lebanon is more than 40 miles southeast of the project site.
This marks the third time the port authority based in Lebanon agreed to assist with projects outside Warren County.
Previously the authority has reached agreements to work in Butler, Preble and Darke counties, but has so far only assisted with projects in Preble County.
In Preble County, it reached lease agreements with Pratt Industries and Henny Penny, enabling the companies to avoid sales tax on materials. Henny Penny expanded in Eaton, while Pratt built a new facility along Interstate 75.
In Butler County, it assisted the port authority there through financial problems.
“There are other groups that have inquired. It’s not come to fruition,” said Martin Russell, who heads the port authority and economic development office in Warren County.
Earlier this year, Russell told the board there had been discussions with Clark County.
“We would be open to discussions with other counties,” said Russell, a former trustee in Butler Twp. in Montgomery County now also serving as deputy administrator in Warren County.
“These are folks that approach us,” Russell added. “We’re not outwardly seeking other counties to work with.”
The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority also assisted in development of the DHL facility, before Clinton County established its own port authority, according to Jerry Brunswick, who heads the Dayton-Montgomery County board.
Enabled by state law and formed by a county’s board of commissioners, port authorities offer a variety of assistance to aid economic development.
Brunswick said his office had worked in Miami County on other projects, including an assisted living center in Tipp City and senior housing project in Troy.
No law or regulation dictates a port authority’s boundaries, so communities in need of assistance can work with existing ones, whether or not they are in the same county.
“We would never compete with another port authority. That’s not our way of doing business,” Brunswick said.
Also Thursday, the Warren County authority board approved two projects in Warren County.
Through leases, the port authority will enable the developer of Hopkins Commons, an assisted living center in Hamilton Twp., to avoid sales tax on materials purchased for construction of the $25 million project.
The authority is to be paid $111,000 for legal and closing fees for its work on Hopkins Commons, according to agreements approved Thursday.
The board also approved $1.5 million in financing for rehabilitation of a building in the Warren County section of Middletown, near Atrium Medical Center, for Warren County Community Services, a nonprofit social service agency.