MOUNT VERNON — At the Aug. 14 Knox DD board meeting, board members approved a request for help from Angie Wise of New Hope Industries. The board voted to reimburse NHI $250,000 in renovation costs if NHI has to move from its current location at 1375 Newark Road.
Knox County DD bought the property in 1987. Because DD boards are not allowed to own land under the Ohio Revised Code, the property is in the county's name. The county leases the six-acre parcel to Knox County DD. Since its privatization in 2007, New Hope Industries has leased the site from Knox DD.
The site is up for sale with the Knox County Land Bank acting as the marketing agent for the county. The Land Bank has accepted proposals from interested buyers, but land bank officials have declined to say how many or from whom.
The Land Bank board will choose the buyer on Aug. 28. Wise, assistant CEO of New Hope Industries, said that NHI submitted a bid.
DD Superintendent Steve Oster said that if New Hope relocates, the company is looking at estimated costs of around one-half million for new space and renovation costs.
“Angie came to the board asking for some assistance to land on their feet if they did not get the building,” he said. “If they don't get the property, we wanted to be proactive in that and be ready to help.”
The $250,000 will reimburse NHI for some of the renovation expenses it incurred over the years. Oster said that NHI paid $276,000 in actual renovation costs, adding that the DD board did not reimburse NHI for its phone system as NHI will take the phone system with it if it moves.
The reimbursement is contingent on NHI vacating the premises.
“We are appreciative of the county board's support, and New Hope Industries is working diligently to relocate if that is what we have to do,” said Wise. “We are prepared to enter into a mortgage to secure our location for the future.”
Knox DD used a state loan to buy the property. Oster does not recall whether the loan was for 40 or 50 years.
“Most counties historically had loans for rehabbing, buying property, or doing things to a building,” he said.
There is $175,000 outstanding on the loan. In its meeting last week, the DD board also approved reimbursing the State of Ohio the outstanding balance, contingent on New Hope Industries having to move. Oster said the repayment amount depends on how long NHI stays at 1375 Newark Road.
“The longer they stay there, the less the repayment will be,” he said.