CONNEAUT — The hill south of Underridge Road and Route 7 is shorter than it once was, and the site of Truck World is taking shape with every load of dirt.

Work on the site of the proposed truck stop started earlier this year. Currently, crews are using dirt from the hill south of Underridge Road to bring the land level with Route 7.

The Truck World facility is expected to cost $12 to $15 million. The project is expected to increase traffic on Route 7 by 50 percent, making the area more appealing to retailers, City Manager Jim Hockaday said in August.

Truck World purchased 130 acres of land along Route 7. The land where the truck stop itself is supposed to be situated has been divided into three parcels, one of which will house Truck World and another will remain undeveloped. 

A tax increment financing district is in the works for the Truck World site. The TIF would use the increase in property taxes from improvements to the land to pay for signals, turning lanes and other improvements at what would be the intersection of Loves Drive, Route 7, and the entrance to Truck World.

During the TIF's duration, the property taxes based on the sale of the lot would go to the school district, while the increased amount generated by the facility would be used to pay for the improvements to the intersection.

The TIF must be approved by the Conneaut Area City Schools Board of Education, and by the Conneaut City Council.

The TIF is planned to be on the agenda at the next Conneaut school board meeting, Superintendent Lori Riley said.

Members of the school board met with the auditor's office in August to get more information about tax increment financing, school board President Joan Norton said.

The section of Route 7 in front of Truck World is designated as limited access, which restricts property owner's access to a road. An application was submitted to the state to allow Truck World direct access to Route 7.

The request was still pending as of June. There was no time frame for when the request is to be approved, ODOT spokesperson Brent Kovacs said in June.

"We're diligently working to bring all the pieces together," Truck World CEO Gary Burke said.

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