New Albany struck a deal with the Licking Heights school board Feb. 17 to offer tax abatements to businesses interested in developing in the 567-acres of the village's business park.

New Albany struck a deal with the Licking Heights school board Feb. 17 to offer tax abatements to businesses interested in developing in the 567-acres of the village's business park.

The site is within the Licking Heights district boundaries.

Under the agreement, the school district could receive more than $7-million annually from the deal after developments are in place.

About 800 acres of New Albany are in Licking County. The New Albany Co. owns most of the land.

Jennifer Chrysler, New Albany community-development director, said the deal with Licking Heights is similar to the one the village currently has in place with the New Albany-Plain Local School District. For each dollar spent, 30 cents would go to paying back debt, and 15 cents would be used to pay the city of Columbus for water and sewer services. The rest would be split evenly between the village and Licking Heights until the school district is made whole, meaning the amount of money the district would have without the exemption in place.

For 2008, New Albany schools received $3.5-million for the tax-sharing agreement with the village. The money goes directly into the district's operating fund, district treasurer Brian Ramsay said.

Chrysler said work still must be done before any business could break ground on the land.

The village plans to put more than $16-million into infrastructure to make the land more competitive. It already has put in about $24-million worth of infrastructure for the entire business park.

"(New Albany) council still has to approve their part of it," Chrysler said.

She said the land, which currently is zoned for agricultural purposes, must be rezoned for commercial use.

New Albany Village Council member Steve Pleasnick said he thinks the new partnership would be great for the community.

"I think it's a wonderful win-win for both their district and the village," he said. "I think it will draw business."

LH school board member Mary Hite said the board has discussed a partnership with New Albany in the past, but nothing came to fruition.

"They have been wonderful people to work with," she said. "We are looking forward to the partnership."

Hite said she has been told a specific business is looking to develop on a portion of the 567 acres, but she was not given any specifics.

Licking Heights Superintendent Thomas Tucker said he thinks the partnership is a great opportunity for the community, especially because the district doesn't have to put in any money.

He also said the commercial growth would help the district's tax base as the district continues to grow.

"We are still growing at a very fast pace, and we certainly are challenged with housing," Tucker said.