The definite cost to ensure a local major employer continues delivering scrumptious snacks, sweets and sodas: $262,200.
Sandusky city commissioners recently voted 4-2 to spend $262,200 on addressing environmental concerns near Firelands Vending. The George Street company also oversees Firelands Food Systems.
Company executives previously threatened to leave their Sandusky-based headquarters if city officials further neglected paving 400 feet of road on Ferndale Drive near George Street. Today, the road is just a gravel-covered thoroughfare.
Dust kicks up onto vehicles each time someone drives over the road.
Ohio Department of Agriculture representatives previously voiced concerns to company executives and city officials about dust possibly contaminating food.
Their worries only grew when learning Firelands Vending workers also prepare food at the site, in addition to stuffing machines with edibles.
But the three-month project, beginning in January and tentatively ending in late April, aims to fix these environmental concerns by paving over all gravel.
“They want to keep as many jobs here as they can,” company CEO Stephen Hall Sr. said.
Hall oversees an operation employing 48 people and delivering snacks and drinks to about 2,000 locations across northern Ohio.
“It was such a burden with the dust,” Hall said. “The city had to make a decision in regards to us moving or staying here, and the city stepped up to the plate”
Paving the road could also lead to other improvements and possible expansion, including creation of more jobs, Hall said.
Funding complexities delayed the project, originally expected to start a couple months ago.
These improvements, which also include sewer and storm system upgrades, strive to spur economic development on Sandusky’s west side.
“The project will complement the (west end) overpass project, further improving the area’s marketability for future economic development,” Sandusky engineer Aaron Klein said.
Commissioners Pervis Brown, John Hamilton, Wes Poole and Jeff Smith voted in favor of the project while Diedre Cole and Julie Farrar rejected it. Commissioner Keith Grohe didn’t attend the meeting.
Neither Cole nor Farrar commented on why they rejected the deal.
• Sandusky city commissioners approved a $262,000 paving project for a 400-foot section of gravel on Ferndale Drive near Firelands Vending.
Note: All figures rounded.
Source: Sandusky engineering department