In 2006, the Ohio Department of Development sought proposals for the first, $60 million round of awards and received 63 applications. The West Central Ohio Industrial Center, located in the City of Wapakoneta, was selected as a first funding round awardee and received an Ohio Job Ready Site grant in the amount of $1,909,833.
Wapakoneta is located along Interstate 75 and U.S. 33, approximately 90 minutes northwest of Columbus. With its excellent transportation access, an estimated 5.4 million commercial vehicles travel through Wapakoneta annually. The City also possesses a significant rail service advantage with its direct access to CSX Transportation, which operates the largest railroad system in the eastern United States, and is located 60 miles from the Northwest Ohio Terminal Intermodal Facility. Wapakoneta's population is more than 9,500, and its location and transportation access allows its employers to draw from a broad laborshed, stretching north and south along Interstate 75 and into eastern Indiana.
Prior to the Job Ready Site award, challenges at the site were its lack of available infrastructure and utilities. The Job Ready Site grant allowed Wapakoneta to make significant improvements to the West Central Ohio Industrial Center and its 471-acre Job Ready Site, which is optimal for a large manufacturing operation. The site is controlled, zoned, and priced at $15,000 per acre. Improvements were made to extend sanitary and storm sewer and electric lines to the site. Rail spur construction into the Job Ready Site is complete. The improvements ensure end-users that Wapakoneta can accommodate a rapid start-up timeline.
These improvements opened two additional parcels of land to the north for industrial development, including a 110-acre parcel and a 135-acre parcel. These sites could also be serviced by the CSX rail spur. Between these two sites and the 471-acre Job Ready Site, a connector road is under construction, which will provide all current and future tenants two access points to County Road 25A.