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Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Development remains stalled

By Margie Wuebker
MINSTER - Economic development remains at a standstill in this Auglaize County community as lack of industrial park space remains a concern.
Committee chairman Rick Schwartz told the Minster Community Improvement Corporation board of trustees earlier this week that, "The land search has pretty much cooled off."
"We have looked at some farms that might be available but they were not suitable due to location or other concerns," he reported.
Leads supplied by the Ohio Department of Development involve companies looking for 500 to 600 acres of land or large buildings ready for occupancy.
There is currently a 2.2-acre parcel available at the industrial park located at the south end of the village off Industrial Park Drive. Other than storm sewer installation and ditch improvements, nothing has been done at the 11-plus acres site purchased last year from Minster Machine Company, trustees were told.
Initial plans indicated the five sites would be ready for sale this year. However, the timetable was extended to 2008 due to financial constraints.
"We could step up to the plate in a hurry if an extremely interested party came forward," Village Administrator Don Harrod said.
While current plans call for five parcels, the tracts could be combined for someone needing a larger site. Trustee Jerry Baumer suggested prices be tabulated for the lots so figures are available in the event of potential buyer comes calling.
Discussion was heard on the possibility of putting up a "spec building" given the success experienced in neighboring communities like New Bremen and Fort Loramie. It was noted some companies prefer to move into a completed building rather than building a new one.
The Auglaize County Commissioners recently created a Web site - - as an economic development tool. The county is the only one in the state that does not have an economic development director.
The board members also learned a new business, Radio Maria, moved to Minster since the beginning of the year. The Christian radio station operates from the Hoying Building at the corner of Fourth and Main streets. Cornerstone Rehabilitation, although not a new business, has relocated to a Sixth Street site. The Dannon Company and Derby Packaging have received a $150,000 community development block grant for projects there.
Water consumption continues at 900,000 gallons per day, an increase from the 750,000 figure in 2006. Harrod said dry weather as well as expansion at Dannon are factors in the increase.
"We still produce enough water for our needs," Harrod said. "However, we continue to explore an additional well field at the village-owned Luedeke Farm."
The village has utilized the five wells at Four Seasons Park and Harrod sees the addition of another as a safety cushion.
In other business, trustees:
• Heard an update on improvements at the community swimming pool, where decorative aluminum fencing is being installed to replace the current chain link style. Possible plans for the future include the addition of a new slide and a new baby pool.
• Learned Finfrock Construction anticipates a late September completion date for work at the busy state Route 66/119 intersection. Along with the installation of traffic signals, the intersection will have four lanes in each direction. Street signs will be displayed from the mast arms.
• Learned Dannon's new pretreatment facility is up and running. Although the facility has eased the load somewhat on the village's wastewater treatment plant, plans call for expansion work to begin there in 2008.
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