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Commissioners hear a positive update from FEDC, open bids for two projects

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From left: Seneca County Commissioners Mike Kerschner, Tyler Shuff, and Anthony Paradiso

Tiffin, Ohio — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners heard a positive update from Fostoria Economic Development Corp. President Renee Smith during a board session Thursday morning.

Smith reviewed 2021 and looked forward to the future during the report.

She said there was about $51.6 million in new investment in Fostoria in 2021, leading to the creation of 230 jobs and the retention of 832.

Smith specifically mentioned two major projects, including the expansion of Custom Glass Solutions, which included a $16 million investment and the creation of 96 jobs.

She also discussed the 60,000-square-foot expansion of KT Ohio, which led to a $15 million investment and the creation of 32 jobs.

“We continue to place tremendous emphasis on entrepreneurship development,” she said, adding that 2021 was the first year for the Launch Fostoria Business Competition. Jena Stearns was the winner of the competition, and her business, Beyond Laser Creations, is now in its permanent home in downtown Fostoria.

Smith said the 2022 version of the contest is underway, with eight finalists remaining. Commissioner Tyler Shuff is one of the six judges helping with the competition. The final pitch event is scheduled for Aug. 5 in downtown Fostoria.

Smith also mentioned a partnership with the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce that kicked off last year as the organization created a revolving loan fund for small businesses in the city. She said three businesses used the funding.

Overall, seven new businesses opened in downtown Fostoria last year, along with eight renovated loft apartments.

Smith said her office handles grant writing for the city of Fostoria, and as of May 2021, FEDC also administers the Seneca County Land Bank.

So far this year there has been a lot of economic development, including the construction of a 30,000- square-foot spec building on US 23 South. The building will fill all space in the city’s industrial park. It will be turnkey ready when completed this fall and can be expanded to 90,000-square-feet.

Smith also said the major renovation of a downtown structure near the municipal building is on the horizon, eventually becoming a mixed-use co-working space, with retail and nine loft apartments. The $8 million project is to be the largest ever investment in downtown Fostoria.

Smith also previewed a new project in collaboration with the chamber of commerce that would provide a stipend for individuals who relocate to the city of Fostoria via grant funding. The program is to be tested this year and could be expanded or continued in the future depending on how it is received.

Also during the meeting, the commissioners received bids for two projects.

The New Riegel Sidewalk Replacement Project: 

  1. Quinn Concrete Construction, of Toledo, for $80,400
  2. DL Smith Concrete, of Norwalk, for $86,337.50
  3. Smith Paving and Excavating, of Norwalk, for $78,610.50

The Fostoria Sidewalk Replacement Project: 

  1. Smith Paving and Excavating, of Norwalk, for $49,210

During new business, the board approved:

  • A $5,731.60 supplemental appropriation to the Unclaimed Money Trust Fund.
  • A $4,624.37 supplemental appropriation to the OCJS Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program Supplies and Equipment Fund for other expense.
  • A $16,221.83 supplemental appropriation to the Community Development Block Grant Program Year 2019 Allocation Grant in the Transfers Out line.
  • General Fund supplemental appropriations in the amounts of $15,000, $7,434, $4,000, $15,000 and $16,000 for supplies, salaries, equipment, contract services and leases, respectively.

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