The city of Streetsboro will soon be gaining 185 quality jobs and $9.1 million in new payroll as Waltco Lift Corp. moves from its site on Northeast Avenue in Tallmadge to 1777 Miller Parkway in Streetsboro.
While attracting the company is a coup for Streetsboro, according to Streetsboro Mayor Glenn Broska, it’s going to hurt Tallmadge’s income tax revenue.
Tallmadge Mayor Dave Kline said he’s already working to adjust the city’s 2020 budget as a result.
"My hat’s off to Streetsboro," he said. "They had something available we don’t, and it ended up hurting us financially. I already reduced our budget for 2020 by $200,000."
Streetsboro Economic Development Director Diane Sheridan said it’s "very exciting" that the city will be home to a big, new employer.
"Filling a large, vacant building with jobs paying a living wage is very exciting for the city," she said. "Since income taxes are used to fund public services, such as police and fire protection, park and infrastructure improvements, snow removal, senior services and other government obligations, a project such as this will positively affect the quality of life for our residents and businesses."
Broska said the company, which manufactures lift gates for trucks that are involved in shipping, might have gone virtually anywhere.
"I’m very excited," he said. "It’s not every day you get facilities that move into any city; we just had the right combination of what they needed."
Marty Behner, operations manager at Waltco’s Tallmadge facility, said the company’s local operations are fragmented and in need of space.
"I’ve been there over 30 years," he said. "A year and a half ago, we were in four different buildings, one in Akron and three in Tallmadge."
The company is facing double-digit growth and needs space to accommodate it. From 2017 to 2018, Behner told Streetsboro City Council Waltco has grown 20 percent.
"It’s the right size; it’s got room for growth," Behner said of the Streetsboro facility. "We are a fast-growing company and didn’t want to be landlocked in."
The company will be investing more than $2 million in improvements at the Streetsboro facility, according to Ryan Sommers of Project Management Consultants.
Sheridan said the company plans to replace asphalt with concrete in specific locations, paint some areas, upgrade the dock and doors and improve the central office improvements, as well as miscellaneous upgrades.
Waltco looked at various locations including some in the Carolinas before settling on Streetsboro, added Behner.
"Back in 2015, when we really decided we needed to do something, we were looking in the Carolinas," he said. "It took us a while to convince [ownership company ...] the workers we have in Northeast Ohio are dedicated."
According to Broska, Streetsboro also is proposing a tax abatement of 50 percent of the company’s income taxes for five years, said Broska.
Kline said Tallmadge did not lose Waltco due to lack of effort. He said he spoke with Bob DeHoff, who is developing the former Maplecrest Golf Course, about finding a spot for the company in the city joint economic development district area in Brimfield.
"We’ve been working with them for two years to get them relocated," said Kline. "We’ve worked with funding sources; we brought in Bob DeHoff to get them to go into Maplecrest. We were able to value-engineer it with a new building."
Kline said DeHoff was able to come up with a plan that would have cost Waltco $7 per square foot, but he said he heard the deal in Streetsboro would require about $3 per square foot in renovations.
The loss for Tallmadge is exacerbated by recently announced plans for the Summit County Developmental Disabilities facility to move.
"I don’t know what we’re going to do with the Summit DD site and Waltco site," said Kline. "We’ll work hard to try to fill it. It’s an old warehouses and the electricity is not bad, but you cannot tear that building down and rebuild it."
He explained setback regulations would make the site difficult to build on, calling it "challenging."
Altogether, he said the city of Tallmadge is likely to lose about $500,000 from the loss of Waltco and Summit DD.
Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at 330-541-9440, firstname.lastname@example.org or @bobgaetjens_rpc.