Outlet Mall Proposal To Be Determined By Voters


On Tuesday voters in this rural community in central Ohio will decide whether to approve a proposed outlet mall.

"I hope it can be halted because I think there are so many other things out there at that freeway that could add to this area and make people want to move up here," said Berkshire Township trustee Rod Myers.  "I don't know why we can't work together and develop the area so that everybody is happy."

Myers, who is up for reelection on Tuesday, opposes the outlet mall, pointing specifically to the busy roads.

"That interchange is rated at a D minus and now they're going to put another 10,000 cars a day?  It's just going to make the residents face a nightmare," said Myers.

The proposed site is just off I 71 at the Sunbury-Delaware exit.  The 400,000 square foot mall would sit on just over 208 acres.

"It's important not only to just this community but the entire state," said AD Farrow owner Bob Althoff.  "We have the number one largest landlord in the world and number two teaming up together to bring hundreds of millions of dollars in investment.  That brings in jobs.  We need jobs in this state."

Althoff says the offer by Tanger Outlets and Simon Property Group to develop the area is a plus for the region.

Other business owners, including Rod Boester who owns the Berkshire Township McDonalds, have also been emphasizing jobs while pushing a yes vote.

"Economic development is what ultimately paves the roads and fills the potholes and hires the cops and teachers it all comes out of tax yield," said Althoff.  "That's what this is all about.  We need to understand that everybody needs a job."

If voters approve the outlet mall, Tanger-Simon officials say construction would start in the spring next year and employ about 800 construction-related workers.

Myers says he hasn't met many of his constituents who say they'll vote yes.  He also dismisses the notion that the election is about jobs.

"They're $8 an hour jobs and the people out here don't want it," said Myers.  "It's going to bring more people to the area.  Harley Davidson is going to sell more motorcycles and McDonalds will sell more hamburgers.  Sure they want to see the traffic.  But they're only looking at it from what revenue it will bring their properties."

Althoff says voters need to consider the larger picture.

"I'm just about jobs, I'm a businessman who simply doesn't want to think about what happens if voters turn this down," said Althoff.  "Let me predict that if this thing goes through, it ultimately will be the reason we get the needed infrastructure improvements.  It's the reason why the schools will continue to be healthy financially."