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State approves money for road improvements to help Cooper Tire, McLane

The state on Monday approved a $400,000 grant to Findlay for street intersection improvements related to Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plans to add 40 jobs with the opening of a $40 million global technology center.

The Sandusky Street-Western Avenue intersection could get a traffic signal, which could be pre-empted by rail traffic, said Service-Safety Director Paul Schmelzer. That would cost an estimated $400,000. The Sixth Street-Blanchard Street intersection could get left-turn lanes at each approach or the intersection could be converted to a roundabout, Schmelzer said. Estimated cost for the intersection improvements are $750,000, he said.

The state has “reconfirmed” a $2.8 million grant to help Cooper Tire locate its first worldwide technology center on the second floor of its existing regional technical center on the west side of Summit Street, said Roy Armes, chief executive officer of Cooper Tire. The company’s plans for the global technology center were announced, and the grant initially awarded, early in 2013.

The new global technology center should be operational by year-end, the company reported. Hiring may not be completed until mid-2018 because the positions are highly specialized.

Cooper will be hiring engineers, scientists, researchers, technicians and technical managers with education in mechanical or chemical engineering, polymer science and computer modeling.

Those jobs are what is “most significant” about the technology center, said Findlay-Hancock County Alliance Economic Development Director Tony Iriti.

The state also approved $4.5 million for McLane Co. to build a $38 million, 337,831-square-foot grocery distribution center on Findlay’s north end in 2016.

The state controlling board gave McLane, which eventually will employ 425, a $3.6 million job creation tax credit and a $250,000 job training grant. For Findlay, it approved a $637,345 grant to help pay for a street to access the distribution center. The street will extend south from  Hancock County 212, directly opposite the driveway for Lowe’s Distribution Center. McLane will cover the remaining $112,655 of street construction expense, said Tim Mayle, assistant economic development director for the Findlay-Hancock County Alliance.

The company will pay its share for street construction from about $3 million in property tax savings it will garner from Findlay’s Community Reinvestment Area, Mayle said. The company also will pay for extension of water and sewer service to the new 277-acre Tall Timbers West industrial park with its tax savings.

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