City of Delaware, Berkshire Township and Tanger / Simon Work On Economic Of Building.
The city of Delaware neared final approval of months-long discussions to establish, with Berkshire Township, a Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) as part of the creation of a Tanger/Simon outlet mall off Rt. 36/37 and by I-71.
Sunbury Village, which originally requested Delaware join the JEDD with them, backed out of the negotiations with little explanation provided to Delaware or Berkshire officials.
Kevin Jennings, Director of Development for Tanger Outlets, came to the Council meeting from North Carolina, where the company’s central office is located.
He said that if progress is made soon, the groundbreaking could be in the spring of next year, with a construction period of 12-13 months. They project the outlet to provide $131 million in annual sales, and have over 70 percent of the interior space filled with committed vendor companies already.
Fourth Ward councilman Andrew Brush said he’d been told the outlet would create 525 local jobs and $100,000 to $128,000 in revenue for the city.
Creating the mall will require significant traffic improvements – Jennings said they’d conducted a traffic study that put the cost at around $33 million, but are prepared to provide $16 million.
Second Ward councilwoman Lisa Keller noted that there’s already traffic issues, and that it’s not Tanger/Simon’s responsibility to fix them but this could help.
Berkshire Trustee Chairman Bill Holtry and Administrator Jeff George were at the meeting as well; Holtry said he hoped this could lead to further development and potentially additional JEDDs.
Public hearings on the mall will be held by both Delaware city and Berkshire Township on Monday, Oct. 27.
Other topics of discussion included a request from the Delaware Fire Department for three paramedic ambulances, to upgrade and standardize their existing fleet, and supplemental funds to repair damage to the city airport’s maintenance hangar roof; both were approved.
During the section for public comment, resident Traci Cromwell took time to inform Council of the actions of two local police officers, Rita Mendel and Adam Graham.
Mendel – who plans to retire next year – is involved in Safety Town and the Citizen’s Police Academy, as well as regular patrol duty, Cromwell said. Several years ago, Cromwell and Mendel were volunteering together at the Delaware Arts Festival, and she saw Mendel be approached by a number of local teenagers.
Many remembered Mendel from their time at Safety Town, while another reported to Mendel that she had recently been sexually assaulted. Cromwell was struck by this, and Mendel’s work in helping a developmentally disabled resident find guardianship and day care services that allow her to thrive.
Cromwell also discussed a recent case involving Officer Adam Graham, a third shift officer who responded to a man with a gun by his side. Graham drew his own weapon but did not fire, ordering the man to drop his weapon. He finally did, and after Graham apprehended the suspect it was determined that the gun was a toy and the man was trying to commit suicide by getting Graham to shoot him.
“The city of Delaware, Ohio can be proud at the training and clear headed thinking of our officers,” Cromwell said. “This incident could have ended in the loss of a life.”
Cromwell’s comments come amid ongoing protests within Ohio over the death of John Crawford III, who was killed by police in Beavercreek while holding an unpackaged toy rifle in a Walmart store. A grand jury declined to indict the officers involved.
On an entirely positive note, Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle also took time to honor Linda Mathews with a city proclamation for her service on the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board; Dave Berwanger and Chris Fink also received proclamations but could not attend.