Powell is taking more steps toward opening a business incubator, a facility designed to assist start-up businesses.

Powell is taking more steps toward opening a business incubator, a facility designed to assist start-up businesses.

The city's finance committee reviewed contract agreements for the incubator, a city-owned building at 44 N. Liberty St.

The agreements still are being developed and must be approved by city council when finalized.

According to the current draft, the city would lease the building to the Powell Community Improvement Corp. (PCIC) for $10 for three years.

The incubator will serve as startup space for four small office-based businesses. City officials have said it is an interim step between an in-home office and a more expensive lease in a commercial building.

The PCIC would help ease the costs of opening an office by paying the basic expenses including local phone lines, electricity, gas, sewer, water and trash collection.

The businesses would have to pay for such extra costs as long-distance phone calls.

Start-up businesses would apply for the opportunity to occupy one of the offices.

The PCIC will decide what businesses are given an office, based on input from Historic Downtown Powell Inc. (HDPI), the organization that will handle the day-to-day managing of the incubator.

The startup businesses would hold a one-year license to occupy the office space, with an option for renewal if both parties agree. They would be responsible for providing liability insurance for their business, though the PCIC also has liability insurance.

With six months of notification, the city or the PCIC can cancel any of the agreements involving the incubator.

HDPI renovated a portion of the building for its office. The incubator part of the building was renovated with a Community Block Grant through Delaware County.

The city helps fund PCIC and its programs, which include approved incentives for businesses that move to the city. The PCIC goal is to be self-sustaining.

The PCIC has been in existence about a year.

Delaware County Economic Development director Gus Comstock, who helped the city secure the Community Block G rant, has said that incubators are a valuable tool for economic development.