Tallmadge -- Warehouse expansion plans for Martin Wheel Co. are moving forward now that the city will vacate Sunrise Street off West Avenue and deed the property on which it sits to the company.

City Council authorized legislation Feb. 13 that allows the city to vacate the short, no-outlet access road that's located between the wheel manufacturer's facility at 342 West Ave. and a lot to its west at 360 West Ave.

Last month, Thomas Hartmann, who was president of Martin Wheel at the time, said the company bought the abandoned lot in October with plans for the future expansion in mind.

Darrell Rauthrauff, vice president and general manager of Kenda Tire & Wheel, a division of Martin Wheel, replaced Hartmann when he retired at the end of January.

"We're just taking each step as we go," Rauthrauff said about the construction project.

Tallmadge Beverage company previously used the brick building, the only structure on the property, as a warehouse. The building has fallen into disrepair since the company went out of business a few years ago, according to city officials.

The demolition of the brick building to make room for the estimated 80,000- to 100,000-square-foot warehouse addition to the estimated 135,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehousing facility could begin this spring for summer, Rauthrauff said.

Plant Manager Jim Williams said enlarging the facility would allow the company to save money by closing its two rented warehouses in Akron and consolidating them into the building.

An estimate of how much the addition would cost isn't known at this time.

Mayor Dave Kline told Council Feb. 13 the company's plans are beneficial for the company, "good for the whole neighborhood, great for economic development."

Rauthrauff said the company is planning to go before the Tallmadge Planning and Zoning Commission next month with a request for the city to rezone the property from commercial to industrial. If Council ultimately approves a request for rezoning and the project moves forward, building the addition could last for seven to 10 months, Williams said.

Martin Wheel employs about 100 workers at its West Avenue facility. As the company grows, hiring additional workers is possible, but the number is unknown at this time, Hartmann said.

The U.S. headquarters for the global corporation Kenda Tire & Wheel are in Reynoldsburg.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or hschoenstein@recordpub.com

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