Former park land could lure businesses to Norton

Akron Beacon Journal |

Hours after Norton completed a land deal intended to lure new businesses, City Council agreed to sell a portion of the property to a company that's interested in building there.

On Thursday morning, the city completed the purchase -- approved by council in May -- of about 140 acres of former Summit Metro Parks land. That night, Norton City Council okayed an agreement to sell a chunk of the land to a manufacturer. The company, Clinton Aluminum Distribution Inc., is evaluating the site for a new facility.

Council voted 6-1 to approve the land sale. If the deal goes through, the city would sell 34.8 acres for about $470,000.

Administrator Rob Fowler said the purchase of the former Summit Metro Parks land was completed after due diligence was conducted on the property and financing was finalized.

Fowler said some economic development funds were used to buy the property. According to public documents, the city borrowed about $800,000 in a one-year, low-interest note to complete the $1.26 million purchase.

The city plans to use the property for light industrial and manufacturing operations to shore up its business base. Before the deal with Summit Metro Parks, the city lacked a significant stock of attractive commercial property.

The company still has to conduct its own due diligence to decide if the property is appropriate for the facility it wants to build.

A Clinton Aluminum representative said this week the company would have no comment on the site or its plans. Further details on the possible purchase were not available.

Fowler also declined to comment on the company's interest or plans for the site, citing the sensitive and preliminary nature of the agreement.

According to the company's website, it is the largest supplier of aluminum and stainless steel plate products in the Midwest. It has facilities in Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Regardless of the outcome of any deal with Clinton Aluminum, Fowler said that finishing the acquisition of the former park land was a milestone for the city's future economic development.

"We think it will be an opportunity for us to control development in our community and encourage business to locate here," he said.

Alan Ashworth can be reached at 330-996-3859 or emailed at aashworth@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconjournal.

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