Despite ProLogis' pullout earlier this year, the Pataskala Job Ready Sites (JRS) grant looks to have a good chance for completion.

Despite ProLogis' pullout earlier this year, the Pataskala Job Ready Sites (JRS) grant looks to have a good chance for completion.

Licking County commissioners met June 16 with Connie Klema, the attorney representing the local Emswiler trust, to hear a proposal for a new way to build a roadway to connect the current Etna Corporate Park to state Route 16.

This proposal would allow the county to keep its $3.4-million state grant to build the road and develop the JRS, which is expected to generate about $65-million in new tax revenues and 10,000 to 16,000 new jobs.

Commissioner Tim Bubb said the proposal appears sound and has agreed to meet with the Emswilers and other interested parties June 26 to discuss the logistics.

"We are going to meet to see whether this is realistic," Bubb said. "It's kind of a complex thing, and because the deal was wound around ProLogis, it takes a while to unwind."

The commissioner said the Emswilers' proposal states they would create an ownership of the JRS and build the access road -- a main point of contention. They also would be responsible for marketing the JRS as an industrial site.

To do this, the Emswilers would form a corporation to partner with the road developer and cover all expenses for its completion. According to the proposal, they would own, market and sell the property according to the JRS guidelines.

In 2006, the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority applied for the grant to build the road.

According to port authority executive director Rick Platt, the port authority turned the grant over to the county last year.

He said when the authority learned ProLogis had pulled out, the authority proposed its own plan for creating the JRS.

"The port authority would buy the 310 acres that would become the JRS," he said. "We would pay $5-million for that and the right of way to build the road."

Platt said the port authority and the Emswiler Trust would be in partnership over the land and would split the profits. On Tuesday, Platt said, the authority's attorney received word that the Emswiler trust wanted to make its own proposal.

"However it's done, we want to see a manufacturing JRS," Platt said. "We got the grant with the intent of that being the outcome."

Pataskala Mayor Steve Butcher said the previous agreement still is intact, but the entities are trying to remove ProLogis from it.

"We still have agreements with all the entities," he said. "All the players and all the numbers still work; it's a matter of getting ProLogis out of it."

Butcher said he has met with members of the Southwest Licking Board of Education, and they seemed to think the Emswiler trust presented an acceptable agreement.

School board member Roger Zeune, who also attended last Monday's meeting, said he thinks this is a great opportunity for the community to grow in the right direction.

"It would be some extra taxes coming in down the road," he said. "I think it's a win-win."

Butcher said the leadership of the Licking Heights Local School District also has seen the proposal. He said he thinks the Emswilers know what great effects their support will have on the community.

"They understand that when you bring $65-million to the community, it has a big impact," he said.

The next step for the commissioners is to approve the proposal and write out a developer's agreement, Butcher said.

Based on the feedback Butcher has been hearing, he said, "we are processing like it is a yes."