Strongsville's mayor last week kicked off a campaign to attract new technology businesses in hopes of drawing thousands of new taxpayers to the city. Ideastream's Bill Rice reports.
Strongsville is offering up 169 acres of city-owned property adjacent to the 30-yr. old Foltz Business Park. Mayor Thomas Perciak says it's the biggest tract of pristine green space in Cuyahoga County still available for commercial development.
Perciak: "And not only what the city owns here, you've got to remember. It's all the abutting land that the private sector owns. Between what the city owns and the private sector owns there's approximately 500 acres here for commercial/technology development."
But it's the city-owned land that's up for sale now. Perciak says the goal is to attract high end technology companies that will create lots of jobs - as many as three thousand, it's hoped - in order to boost the income tax base that provides most of the city's revenues.
Asked whether developing the land would promote suburban sprawl, Perciak offers an unequivocal no. He says the aim is create a research and technology business park that will preserve green space, wetlands and wildlife.
Perciak: "We're not encouraging businesses that are going to come in and pollute our air, pollute our waters. People want that natural feeling, that green feeling still in their community… as people in this type of business want to be in what we call a green park."
But is the economy strong enough to support a resumption of this kind of development? Maybe not right away. Credit markets are still very tight, but some economists say lending is beginning to loosen as the economy shows more signs of recovery. Brent Painter, Strongsville's Economic Development Director, believes that will eventually open the way for companies to relocate or expand, and hopes to get Strongsville on their radar when they do. And, he says, the city is aiming its marketing efforts outside the region, rather than trying to poach from its neighbors.