The theater inside the Alum Creek Lake Visitor Center is on track to get $25,000 in upgrades, thanks to an agreement between Delaware County and the US Army Corps of Engineers.
The money for the upgrades comes from the county as an in-kind contribution in exchange for USACE granting the county an easement necessary for work in the Berlin business park.
On June 9, Delaware County Commissioners approved an easement and consent agreement with the USACE, which is involved because Alum Creek Lake, which the body built in the 1970s, reaches part of the area where the business park is being built. Nothing on USACE-owned land may be done without USACE approval.
Tiffany Maag, county director of environmental services, said both agreements are necessary for construction of the business park.
The Berlin Business Park will span nearly 1,800 acres on both sides of US Route 36/state Route 37 in Berlin Township.
The county’s economic development department launched the project in 2019 to create what it called a diversified economic base designed to attract primarily commercial and light industrial businesses, along with a few offices. County officials said the park was expected to be ready for tenants within 18 months.
Maag told the commissioners that the USACE put a value of $25,000 on the easement.
However, in order for the county to pony up that amount, it would have to write a check to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the funds would not directly benefit Alum Creek under federal policy, according to USACE resource officer Sylvia Chelf. at Alum Creek. Lake.
This is where the deal comes in.
“They give us the option to buy an in-kind contribution locally or just contribute the $25,000 to their general fund,” Maag said. “So we chose to give them the option of buying something locally. We thought that would be more of an advantage for local equipment. They chose to buy seats at the Alum Creek Visitor Center .”
An in-kind service option, by comparison, can directly benefit the park, Chelf said.
As a result, the county will cover $25,000 of the bill for new seats in the Visitor Center Theater, which is expected to be installed in October at 5905 Lewis Center Road, Chelf said.
“The Alum Creek Lake Visitor Center was built circa 1980 and features exhibits about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the natural and cultural resources of the area, and it has a small theater,” said Chief said. “The Corps staff at Alum Creek Lake Visitor Center has worked hard to update the center, including improvements in accessibility and inclusivity, as well as updated exhibits.
“This fall, we will be making changes to the Visitor Center Theater to make it more accessible and inclusive. … Army Corps of Engineers, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Scioto Area Corps Cooperating Association and community groups regularly use our theater for meetings and trainings.”
Construction of the Berlin business park
The county easement permits construction on land owned by USACE at the business park site, and the agreement permits construction on land that USACE does not own but has the authority to flood if necessary. , she said.
The role of the corps at Alum Creek is sometimes misunderstood, Chelf said.
“The Army Corps of Engineers owns everything at Alum Creek Lake,” she said, with most of the facilities leased from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “The corps has retained what it calls the operational area, which is our office and visitor center, the dam and the recreation area under the dam.”
In a separate development, the ODNR on June 11 launched a new $4.6 million marina building at 4000 Hollenback Road, more than 1.5 miles north of the visitor center.
The Lake Lewis Center and Hollenback Road entrances are east of South Old State Road.
Lee Bodnar, administrator of the Delaware County Engineer’s Office, said a project nearing completion at the Berlin Business Park is Reed Parkway, a 1,101-foot road that will be the first built for the park, running west of Lackey Old State Road, about one to one-half mile south of U.S. Route 36.
Aerial photos of the project can be seen at engineering.co.delaware.oh.us/ima…/reed-parkway-2022/.
County officials said the pumphouse and a water tower would eventually be installed along Reed Parkway.
A county-run website is dedicated to Berlin’s business park at berlinbusinesspark.com.