Vond Hall, Fulton County administrator, said Tuesday, April 26, the county commissioners are seeking information from Archbold businesses about a potential loss of business as the result of a highway realignment.
Hall said about 45 to 50 letters, dated April 14, were sent to Archbold business owners who signed a petition that called for the commissioners to stop the rerouting of portions of St. Rt. 66 and St. Rt. 2 along the present Co. Rd. 24.
The letters, with the salutation, “Dear Archbold Business Owner,” states the Fulton County Commissioners “are interested in obtaining your feedback regarding the potential relocation of St. Rt. 66 in Archbold, OH.
“We understand that this could impact your business, either positively or negatively.
“We are requesting that you send us a letter, stating how you anticipate this potential relocation will affect your individual business. Please be as specific as possible, by providing a percentage of growth or loss estimated as a result of a relocation.”
The letter directs business owners to send their correspondence to the commissioners via Teri Suarez, clerk, at 152 South Fulton Street, Suite 270, Wauseon.
“Your feedback will assist the commissioners in making future decisions regarding this project.”
No deadline was set for responses.
Hall said the commissioners had already received four or five letters on the topic on Tuesday. The exact response of the commissioners has not yet been determined.
Hall said it will depend on how many letters from business owners they receive.
But the plan is to discuss the responses in an open public meeting. A date for that discussion has not been set.
Hall said one petition, with 299 signatures, was originally turned over to Henry County commissioners on Tuesday, April 12.
If the petition was turned into the Henry County commissioners, why did the Fulton County commissioners end up with it?
“I don’t know how we got it,” Hall said.
Hall said Fulton County officials went through the list of names on the petition to identify business owners.
There were reports of as many as four separate petitions being turned in, but Hall said he was only aware of one.
Plus, the commissioners only sent out one letter, and only to businesses with representatives signing the petition.
The petition said the realignment of the highway should be prevented because of safety and economic concerns.
Currently, a private consulting firm is conducting an environmental impact and preliminary engineering, assessing what it would take to relocate St. Rt. 66 and St. Rt. 2 to the Co. Rd. 24 alignment.
That study could take several more months.
Archbold Village Council approved the $1.5-million study and contributed about $250,000 to the total cost.
A Bowling Green State University Center for Regional Development study on the economic impact of the highway realignment of the two highways was presented to the public in July 2015.
That study estimated that 45.6 jobs would be lost in the retail and commercial sectors.
But increases in manufacturing employment would result in a net increase of 14.4 jobs for the village.
Jim Wyse, then-Archbold mayor, said at the time, moving the highway would result in 200 to 300 additional manufacturing jobs in the village.