The village of New Albany is looking to strike a deal with the Licking Heights Local School District to entice businesses to move to the village's 900-acre business park in Licking County.

The village of New Albany is looking to strike a deal with the Licking Heights Local School District to entice businesses to move to the village's 900-acre business park in Licking County.

New Albany's east side extends into western Licking County.

Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany's community-development director, made a presentation Jan. 20 to Licking Heights school board members about a tax-abatement plan that would mirror the one the village has in place with the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

Under the agreement plan, 30 percent of the revenue generated from businesses would go to paying infrastructure debt, with the rest evenly split between the school district and the village until the school district recoups the money it would have gained without an abatement.

"There is an opportunity right now to invest in some infrastructure in the portion of Licking County that is in the village of New Albany," Chrysler said.

She said if a deal is made, the village would invest in infrastructure to entice businesses to come to the village. Water, sewer and public services would be put in place on the land, which is mostly owned by the New Albany Co.

The village also would have to rezone the land from its current agricultural status to commercial status.

Chrysler said this would make New Albany more competitive.

"We always have inquires because of the new Beech Road interchange (off state Route 161)," she said. "The challenge is, we don't' have a lot of companies interested without infrastructure and abatements in place. Especially in central Ohio, you have to have these basic abatements in place or else your site is just not competitive."

Chrysler said she thinks the meeting with the Licking Heights school board was productive, and she looks to continue the discussion during the board's February meeting.

"I think it was a very good meeting," she said. "I think they had great questions. It is an amazing opportunity for both the village and the district to bring in revenue."

Mark Loth, Licking Heights board vice president, said he sees potential in the village's proposal.

"We seriously want to take a good look at this," Loth said. "Obviously, with the New Albany Co. involved, we are willing to look at it. It is a good company with a good background."

He said board members plan to discuss the topic again during their regularly scheduled meeting Feb. 17.

Although the area is in the Licking Heights boundaries, no LH students live there.

Licking Heights treasurer Jenny Vanover said she thinks a partnership with New Albany would be a great thing for the school district.

"By zoning that area and restricting that to being commercial, it would benefit us because we would get that additional revenue without the cost of having additional students," she said.

She said a part of the revenue from the New Albany development would be used for operations, and the rest would be used to pay the debt service on the district's bond issues.

gmartineau@thisweeknews.com