Broadband and construction projects contribute to economic development



Editor’s note: This is part of a five-day series that examines the best stories of 2021 and what we can expect in 2022. The series will be released December 26-30.

COSHOCTON – The announcement of several construction projects and an initiative to expand broadband in Coshocton County in 2021 to boost economic development will begin in earnest in 2022.

Tiffany Swigert, director of the Coshocton Port Authority, said the projects should inspire new businesses and residents to settle in Coshocton, as it is a testament to the quality of life and the county as one to the rise.

Broadband project

Local officials noted that rural broadband is a major obstacle to growth and will be greatly resolved in 2022. Coshocton County Commissioners this year, he pledged $ 6 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to provide Internet access to 20,000 residents by spring 2023.

Residents of underserved areas such as Millcreek, Nellie, Warsaw, New Castle and Blissfield are expected to have access in the first quarter of 2022 and four new towers to reach more of the county will be installed over the summer. Ohio TT is registering customers now.

Tiffany Swigert, Executive Director of the Coshocton Port Authority, discusses plans for the Coshocton Collaborative in the Chacos Building on Main Street.  This includes the use of the second and third floors for a business incubator.

Coshocton Collaborative

The port authority announced the Coshocton Collaborative in July for the Chacos Building at 538 Main Street, home of the former Pastime Theater. It will include a unique makerspace, business incubator and coworking facility, while also providing office space for the Port Authority, Our Town Coshocton and other agencies. The relaunch of the theater for shows is also desired.

The port authority ends its request for Ohio Economic Development Administration grant of $ 2.9 million for the estimated $ 3.6 million project. Previous grant funding includes $ 375,000 from the Coshocton Foundation and $ 690,000 from Jobs Ohio.

Swigert believes they have a strong application and is confident that the EDA will recognize the importance of collaboration for continued local economic growth. If the money arrives, Swigert said the Collaborative is slated to open in fall 2023. Otherwise, they’ll continue to pursue other avenues.

“We’re hoping to hear something positive from the EDA in 60 to 90 days. Then we have a very tight schedule for this building if we get the EDA grant,” Swigert said. “We’re going to do all the preparation for this because we really think we’ve put together a fantastic grant application.”

Construction projects

While the focus has been on securing funds for the new Coshocton Justice Center, two other county agencies have started looking for new homes in 2021 and work on these is expected to begin during the next year. year to come.

Coshocton County Emergency Medical Services recently received a funding grant from the CARES Law on Opportunity Targets of $ 1.95 million from the Ohio Department of Development for the $ 4 million project. Construction is slated to begin this summer on vacant land at the corner of Walnut and Seventh streets, the former site of Central Elementary School. The new building will measure approximately 12,000 square feet and include five ambulance bays, offices, crew quarters and a training center.

Also on the ground will be a new facility for the Coshocton County Coordinated Transportation Agency. He is waiting to hear a request from the Ohio Department of Transportation that would provide 80% of the estimated cost of $ 1.9 million. The building will include offices and garages for parking shuttles inside.

A construction project already under the roof is the new Genesis Coshocton Medical Center near the intersection of US 36 and Airport Road. The $ 45 million project is expected to create more than 200 jobs.

The one-story structure will include an emergency department with 10 beds, an overnight patient observation unit with 10 beds, an outpatient surgery center, an imaging department, a laboratory, a pharmacy, a diagnostic cardiac, respiratory therapy, a medical office building for specialists and physicists, professionals and speech therapy.

Genesis reports that work on the site is about 90% complete and the facility is still set to open in 2023. A roof and shell have been completed. Framing and fireproofing of awnings and curtain walls has begun. A base coat of asphalt has been applied and work on an interior slab has started. The main work to come will be the interior framing, plumbing and electrical work.

Pursuit of momentum

Swigert said such construction projects are exciting to see as other counties have struggled to grow economically during the COVID-19 pandemic. She doesn’t want that momentum to run out of steam and said the port authority continues to develop sites for ready-to-go projects.

She couldn’t talk about details, but said two to three new construction projects could be announced in 2022. One recently announced project is a new Goodwill retail store and donation center on land previously owned by the company. port authority on Whitewoman Street. It should open in the fall.

“We’re incredibly excited that we’ve thrived in what most considered two tough years. We have people investing locally and these are big investments,” Swigert said. “Right now you can drive around Coshocton and you feel like every few blocks you can report a whole new capital investment here. ”

Swigert said the growth is recognized at the regional and state level and that such development simply encourages more businesses and individuals to come to Coshocton.

“They see the investment. They see the development of the workforce,” Swigert said. “We’re such a collaborative nature here that whatever challenge we have, we bring everyone to the table to sit down and figure this out. It’s a bit contagious and I think it’s something respected outside. from Coshocton. ”

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