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Ohio approves traffic grant

By LOU WILIN
STAFF WRITER

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

The center will result in the addition of 40 jobs.

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. It all was put on hold when Apollo Tyres of India made a bid last June to buy Cooper Tire. That proposed deal fizzled out by year-end.

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.

Cooper could have chosen to send the new jobs and technology center somewhere else. It has regional technical centers in Melksham, England, and Shanghai, China.

The state grant helped sway Cooper toward Findlay. Proximity to the Findlay factory and the existing regional technical center also influenced Cooper’s decision, said Anne Roman, vice president of communications and public affairs for Cooper.

The global technology center will drive the new and leading technology, and that technology will be shared with the regional technical centers to implement the technology to manufacture the tire, Roman said.

Wilin: 419-427-8413
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