The JEDD is dead.
That’s the edict from Harrison Mayor Joel McGuire, who revealed the city will no longer encourage businesses interested in Harrison to locate in the Joint Economic Development District, partnered by the city and Harrison Township.
McGuire, as chief administrative officer, said he has changed the city’s focus to attract business to Harrison’s various business districts, following a decision by Hamilton County commissioners to allow a Jehovah’s Witness assembly hall and worship center into the JEDD, which sits on township property between Dry Fork and Simonson roads.
The decision requires no council vote, he said.
“We will be OK. The city will continue to receive sewer revenue from the businesses in the JEDD, but the township will have to go it alone,” said McGuire.
“The decision by commissioners has killed the JEDD. No legitimate business will want to be located in the JEDD now. It’s a shame. The county threw away more than a million dollars invested there.”
Two potential JEDD clients recently walked away from the commerce center because of the planned assembly hall and worship center, he said.
Harrison Economic Director Jennifer Ekey has been instructed to promote parcels and empty buildings, said McGuire.
“The JEDD is dead, not because we gave up on our priorities but because the commissioners gave up on their million dollar-plus investment out there, and let that sinking black hole of a JEDD have a worship center right in the middle of it. ... There is nothing happening there, so there is nothing to be picking and choosing about.”
The situation would be the same every time.
Ekey would spend many hours showing an out-of-town company property in the JEDD, only to have it turn down the site because the industrial park contains a worship center, said the mayor.
“It’s going to work out best for the city. ... Our only competition in this area is Dearborn County. I’m not going to have her waste thousands of hours when we know they won’t invest their money there,” said McGuire.
Joe Awad is editor of The Harrison Press.
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