COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – The City of Columbiana, with its small-town feel, is becoming attractive to new businesses. But there’s little land available, which is why the city is in dire need of another industrial park.
The Columbiana Industrial Park is on Route 14. There are about 20 businesses, the largest being the trucking company R+L Carriers. But the industrial park is full — there’s no room for expansion.
“We’re getting a bunch of interest in our community and we would like to put a second industrial park in,” said City Manager Lance Willard.
“That we need to look forward to the future and find places for these businesses that are interested,” said April Brinker, who runs the Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber of commerce is endorsing a second industrial park based on all the requests from prospective businesses.
“We probably get about four calls a month,” Brinker said.
The line of new fire hydrants along Route 14 is an example of how Columbiana has become attractive to businesses. The hydrants were part of new water lines, which, in turn, were part of $40 million in infrastructure improvements. That also included major investments in the wastewater and water treatment plants.
“Now the city can provide the utility services,” said Atty. David Barbee, who runs the chamber’s Business Development Committee.
He said support companies for the soon-to-be-open cracker plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania could land in Columbiana.
“We want to be ready for some of those spin-off businesses because we’re not that far and we think this would be a good location.”
A possible spot for a second industrial park would be across from the first one. The land is already properly zoned.
“Funding is the hold-up,” Brinker said. “We’ve got to get that first commitment, get that first ball rolling and break ground. I think from there, once that is going, who knows where it’ll stop?”
Willard said it was too early to tell what a new industrial park would cost.
“We do have a couple areas that if we find the right property for the right price, we hope to get it done.”
Columbiana is also making itself attractive to new businesses. Since the early 2000s, it has invested nearly $40 million in infrastructure improvements — half of that in a new water treatment plant.
The city is now offering businesses a 100%, 15-year tax abatement for those that qualify and provide the necessary jobs.