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On Tuesday, November 4th, Ohio voters will elect a slew of statewide offices and decide on many local issues.

Yellow Springs To Vote On Business Park Referendum

A cornfield behind Antioch University Midwest on Dayton could become a business park called the CBE.
Lewis Wallace

Yellow Springs residents will weigh in Nov. 4 on whether the village should fund infrastructure for a new business park at the edge of town. The proposal, called the Center for Business and Education or CBE, would open up new land to development by funding infrastructure, but the village is divided over whether it should borrow money to make the site “shovel ready” for developers.

“If we wait a couple years down the line, we’re not gonna have that opportunity to make such an investment,” said Brian Housh, a member of the village council. “I feel if we don’t do it now, then we’re gonna be in a bind.”

Housh says Yellow Springs, like a lot of the Miami Valley, has lost companies and tax revenues. The village has been operating at a deficit as costs continue to rise, and the village is in need of an upgrade to its water treatment plant. He believes the village should make the site on Dayton-Yellow Springs Rd. behind Antioch University Midwest ready for development as soon as possible in order to up its business tax revenues in the future.

The council approved funding for the CBE in July by a 3-2 vote, but has agreed to back off the plan if it doesn’t win majority support in a referendum. The cost could run up to $1 million dollars in a village with a yearly budget of less than $3 million, and some opposed to funding the CBE say it’s too risky.

Council member Lori Askeland, one of the members who voted no, worries about whether companies will actually come and fill up the space when there are many commercial and industrial vacancies around the Miami Valley and in Yellow Springs proper.

“Is that actually what’s likely to happen, given the business environment, given that there are lots of these buildings sitting empty that may have better access to interstates, to various other amenities that we’re never gonna have?” she said. She says she’s not against development on the site, just opposed to public funding for the infrastructure.

She and others who are opposed to the village funding the project want Community Resources, the non-profit that owns the land, to secure a developer willing to front the infrastructure funds.

Lewis Wallace is WYSO's managing editor, substitute host and economics reporter. Follow him @lewispants.