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Oregon Economic Development Committee discusses town center project, future

As part of Oregon’s new town-center project’s first phase, construction of a new roadway off Pickle Road is scheduled to begin at summer’s end.

The Oregon Economic Development Committee met Thursday to discuss that project as well as the status of Oregon’s industrially zoned property and what kind of projects might be in its future.

The roadway construction is scheduled to last about a year, said Michael Beazley, Oregon city administrator. Also part of the town center’s Phase I are new apartment complexes and housing, a bike trail, and a dog park. Phases II and III include retail businesses, restaurants, and possibly medical offices.

In 2019, the city purchased the former Kmart site on Navarre Avenue as a significant step toward establishing a downtown area Oregon has lacked since its origins as a township.

New apartment plans include a 200-unit apartment complex on Pickle developed by Cash Waggner and Associates, P.C. Mr. Beazley asserted during Thursday’s meeting that some younger people prefer apartment-style living, and as employment opportunities increase, the city needs new places for people to live.

He also said that while some restaurants have been slow to establish new locations in the current market because of pandemic-related uncertainty, others are ready to move in as soon as possible.

“We have restaurant chains that are interested in coming to that market right now,” he said before predicting specific announcements within the next two months.

Mr. Beazley also reviewed Oregon’s industrial sites and said the largest parcel the city could put together for an interested party is about 80 acres. While a 100,000-square-foot building could be built on fewer than 10 acres, he said, more companies are looking for large tracts of 200 to 300 acres.

What city officials hope for as new industry, Mr. Beazley said, are companies that can stay relatively contained in their buildings.

“We think Oregon has taken its share of heavy smokestacks,” he said.

Among goals officials discussed Thursday included finding ways to keep people in Oregon rather than watching them leave for such larger cities as Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, or — Oregon expatriates’ most popular destination — Columbus. Steve Hornyak, chairman of council’s economic development committee, said his daughter likes the amenities in the Columbus neighborhood to which she recently moved, including its local town center.

“We are trying to create those opportunities,” he said.

Mr. Hornyak and other officials also emphasized the role the community plays in determining how land gets zoned and what companies are able to establish locations within the city.

“Opportunities are available,” he said. “Our role is to ask the community, is this what we want to do?”


Posted By: The Toledo Blade on July 22, 2021.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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