SIDNEY — Dayton Power & Light (DP&L) executives were in Sidney, Friday, to celebrate the firm’s certification of two local sites as “shovel-ready” for industrial development.
Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann, Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst, Sidney-Shelby Ecomonic Partnership (SSEP) Executive Director Mike Dodds, Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Raible and area business leaders joined land owners Charlie Cole and John Amos at a DP&L-sponsored breakfast at The Bridge to acknowledge the certification.
“Over two years ago, we started the process to certify the Sidney Ohio Industrial Park,” said Dodds. “As we continued the process, we added the Amos Industrial Park to the mix. It has been a long progression of submitting and resubmitting, testing and retesting, but in time, we finally got it right and I really think this will pay big dividends for our community.”
The seal means that the sites have met standards set by an internationally-recognized site selection firm, McCallum Sweeney Consulting, with whom DP&L has partnered. Those standards include the completion of engineering and environmental studies that assure a minimum of risk to potential businesses who are looking for a place to locate. The certification implies that utilities are available at a capacity that meets a company’s needs and that proper zoning is in place.
The process to complete the studies was rigorous and involved working with numerous agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.
DP&L had set deadlines for completion. Because SSEP met the deadline on each local project, DP&L presented $10,000 to the organization, Friday. Dodds said the funds will be used to market the properties.
The Amos Industrial Park comprises 177 acres bordered by Interstate 75 on the west, St. Marys Avenue on the north and Russell Road on the south. Sidney Ohio Industrial Park’s 237 acres sit between Kuther and Fair roads and stretch north to West Millcreek Road.
Dodds said that even as the certification process began, companies began to show interest. In the last two years, some six firms have visited the area to look at possibilities.
“It’s a lot based on what we had before,” Dodds said. “It’s encouraging to see that interest.” In addition, an untold number of businesses have looked at the properties on the SSEP website.
“So much (searching) is done electronically, we’ve updated our website to make it friendly to site selection consultants,” Dodds said. Being able to provide interested business leaders and site selection consultants with completed due diligence studies is a big plus, he noted. A firm that had been exploring a number of locations, including Sidney, had let Dodds know recently that it had decided on another location. But not long after, it came back to say that some environmental issues had come to light in the chosen site. Now the firm is looking at Sidney again.
Ben Vollrath, DP&L customer business manager, said that when a company wants to move or expand, three factors come into play: speed, risk and money.
“We’re trying to take a piece of developable land and make sure it meets those qualifications,” he said. “Site certification makes sure they’re capable. Mike’s team has done a heavy lift over the last two years.”
DP&L Customer Account Manager Georgine Dawson presented trophies to Cole and Amos.
“When I look at this, at my age, I’m not the one who’s going to enjoy this, but as time goes on, the community will benefit,” Cole said.
Barhorst praised the work that Cole, Amos and Amos’s agent, Bruce Boyd, did to win certification.
“Things have changed dramatically with respect to industrial development. When I was mayor 25 years ago, dinner, a drink or two and a handshake was sometimes all it took to seal the deal. In today’s world, business moves fast, both literally and figuratively. DP&L’s site certification process certainly helped us examine the strengths and weaknesses of both of these sites. (It) lets business and industry know that we’re ready to move as quickly as they want or need to move,” he said.
He also acknowledged DP&L’s recent grant to the city of $50,000 for trees.
“Christmas came early to Sidney this year, with DP&L playing the role of jolly old Santa,” Barhorst said.
DP&L CEO Tom Raga then presented his view of how DP&L may change to meet the future, a future that includes more use of renewable energy sources, energy generation by individual consumers and a larger role for utility providers as distributors.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.