Signs point to good chance Aviation Business Park gets $2m grant

As if they were asking a Magic 8-ball, Oshkosh community leaders say all signs point to ‘Yes’ being the answer to their request for a $2 million federal grant for the aviation business park approved earlier this year.

It is no guarantee that the community will receive the $2 million applied for from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), but City Manager Mark Rohloff, County Executive Mark Harris and Chamco CEO Elizabeth Hartman all say the EDA’s recent requests for a few more documents and a strengthened County Board resolution (which goes up for consideration at 6 p.m. today (Tuesday, Sept. 17) suggest there’s more than a slim chance.

The expectation is the community could find out as soon as Sept. 30, the end of the government’s fiscal year, whether the Aviation Business Park wins the support. Harris, Rohloff and Hartman all see the positive signs and all three, in separate conversations, had the same reaction to the recent developments.

Their logic is that the EDA does not go around asking for additional info and resolutions from communities that have no chance of winning the funds, that they wouldn’t be doing this if they weren’t printing out the big check.

The impact would be huge. Instead of slowly extending utilities into the industrial park area over the next several years, the funds would mean much of the work would begin next year and end as quickly as possible.

The infrastructure improvements alone will cost an estimated $4.6 million and the city has already secured a loan from a state trust to cover the remaining $2.6 million. This would leave the tax incremental financing district, or TIF, the Oshkosh Common Council created this spring to shoulder the costs for building, developing and launching the business accelerator.

Cross your fingers, Oshkosh!

About Jeff Bollier

Jeff Bollier is an award-winning public affairs reporter for the Oshkosh Northwestern who covers everything from city hall to business. As Streetwise, Jeff delivers updates on the comings and goings of Oshkosh's retail and business world. Jeff is an avid Instagram and Twitter user and a member of the Northwestern Bacon Team.
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