Shane Farnsworth, newly named Economic Development Director for Morrow County, addressed Cardington Village Council during its regular meeting on April 4.

Farnsworth said the development department focuses on a number of things including planning and zoning.

“If you are looking at your code, you’re looking at options and idea suggestions within your code,” he said. “We can be a resource to work with you so there is continuity amongst the codes from municipalities to townships.”

“Under Community Development, we have the Community Development,” Farnsworth continued. “Block Grant Program and the CHIP program. We have applied for another two year round for housing improvement. Metro Housing is one of those partners.”

Farnsworth, named to his position in January, continued “We also manage the newly created Morrow County Land Bank which focuses on blighted properties through the sheriff’s or auditor’s sales, which acquires those properties cited for demolition and to get back on the market as green lots or to rehabilitate a house or commercial structure to get it back on the tax rolls- making them useable properties again. Cardington is on the side of the land bank to work with those properties that have been blighted – they keep going up for sheriff’s sale. This can be an opportunity to clean up those areas.”

He noted this new group will meet for the first time Monday, April 11. He continued, “Another area in economic development is small business development, creating a place where small business can either get started or grow and be competitive. He named two of those competitive areas as manufacturing and agriculture which is ‘big in this community.”

He said he had talked to a number of companies that are agriculturally based and a couple are looking at Cardington to start businesses. One has to deal with health and beauty products- a company that makes things similar to lotions and lip balm- things incorporated in these are grown on site – herbs and different plants-that don’t need a lot of acreage”

Another, he said, is a vineyard. “Cardington is a place for them – one reason is the demographics and the proximity to other populations.They would not be growing on site but would be a tasting and retail store. Initially, they would be bringing in the grape juice but eventually the goal is to grow and have a vineyard and produce as much on site- looking at 10 to 20 acres to grow it. They are looking hard at Cardington for that tasting room. They have done their research.”

He said there are 57 homes for sale here- “This is a seller’s market in this community. More and more people want to move to southern Morrow County

“We’re starting to get more interest in residential development.” He encouraged council members to think about farmland, residential and industrial preservation . “Let’s protect those areas equally, respectively it will insure those uses will occur in those places.”

Cardington Mayor Susan Peyton said she learned the housing market is huge. She said she had sent a list of ten properties to Pat Davies that have been up for sheriff’s auction and they just sit – they have huge amounts of back taxes.

Farnsworth said “We are pursuing monies from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency where there is $87 million entitled to the state of Ohio for home demolition and there are 33 land banks competing for this money.”

By Evelyn Long

The Sentinel

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