2008-12-10 / Business

Officials Still Trying to Lure Unnamed Firm To Archbold

Government officials have not given up in their efforts to attract an unnamed firm to locate a new factory in the village.

"At this point, we're still in the running, but we're in second place," said Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor.

If the company chooses Archbold, it could mean 500 new jobs in the village.

Starting In July

During the July 7 Archbold Village Council meeting, Wyse announced the company, which has been in discussions with the village since April 2006, announced it would not locate a plant in Ohio as long as the Healthy Families Act was a possibility.

The Healthy Families Act was an effort to put a law mandating paid sick days for Ohio workers on the November ballot.

Business and government leaders opposed the measure, saying it would hurt the Ohio business climate.

On Sept. 4, the group backing the proposal removed the paid sick days measure from the ballot, after pressure from Ted Strickland, Ohio governor; Lee Fisher, lieutenant governor; and Sherrod Brown, US senator (D-Ohio).

Free Building

Kevin Sauder, chief executive officer of Sauder Woodworking, said in a July 16 article in this newspaper that his firm had been in negotiations with the unnamed company.

The subject of the negotiations was the possible sale or lease of all or part of the company's Barre Road plant.

Sauder said the firm plans to consolidate its production from four buildings to three.

But the unnamed firm is being offered a one-million squarefoot building in Michigan for free. The present owners want to get out from underneath the building's maintenance costs, plus take advantage of tax incentives.

Fisher

Last month, Fisher, who also heads Ohio economic development efforts, was in touch with the company.

Wyse said on Wednesday, Nov. 19, Fisher spoke to the company president about the current status of the negotiations, and where they were in the decision-making process.

Fisher, Wyse, and Lisa Arend, Fulton County economic development director, spoke for more than an hour on Tuesday, Nov. 25, about the company's decision process.

All of the government offi- cials are awaiting news about an evaluation of the Michigan building's environment. The building had been used for metal production and could be tainted with various chemicals.

Such pollution would make the building unsuitable for the unnamed company.

Attractive

In the meantime, Wyse said the Ohio Department of Development is working with Archbold and Fulton County "to make our incentive package look more attractive," Wyse said.

Archbold may be in second place, "but we're not at the finish line yet. The race continues.

"We're trying to stay in the race, so if something happens and the Michigan building unravels, we'll be there to finish strong," he said. - David Pugh

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