CONNEAUT — Work continues on the site of a new gas station and truck stop in Conneaut.
Construction crews for Truck World have been working to level a lot southeast of Interstate 90 and Route 7 for months. Trucks are now bringing gravel into the site.
“Every time I go over there, it looks different,” City Council President Debbie Newcomb said.
The facility was first proposed in 2017, and Truck World has purchased 130 acres of land along Route 7. The facility will be located across Route 7 from Love’s Travel Stop. Truck World purchased the lot where the truck stop will be built in 2018, and purchased additional land south of Underridge Road in Jan., 2019, according to county records.
The truck stop is expected to cost between $12 and $15 million.
For the past several months, city and school officials have been debating a tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement that would be used to pay for $1 million of improvements to the intersection of Route 7 and Loves Drive. The main entrance of Truck World is planned to be directly across from Loves Drive, city officials have said.
The improvements would include a traffic signal, turning lanes, and other improvements. To pay for the improvements, the TIF would use the increase in the property taxes from the construction of TruckWorld to make payments on the improved intersection.
The property taxes from the land itself will still go to the school district.
The TIF was introduced to the Conneaut City Council several months ago. A final declaration is complete, City Manager Jim Hockaday said. The declaration must be approved by both the Conneaut and A-Tech school boards, then the city can pass it, Hockaday said.
“We’ve worked cooperatively because everyone has a stake in this development,” Newcomb said.
Newcomb praised Hockaday for the work he has done on the TIF agreement.
Truck World has also received their final wetlands permit, Hockaday said. Truck World will sit on 3.9 acres of wetlands, according to a public notice filed in February 2019 with the Army Corps of Engineers.
According to the Clean Water Act, a permit must be issued for altering federally protected wetlands. As part of that, in its public notice, Truck World offered to create off-site wetlands, or invest in a wetlands bank.
The project is expected to increase the traffic on Route 7 by 50 percent, Hockaday said in August. The increase in traffic will make Route 7 in Conneaut more attractive to retailers, he said at the time.
“This paperwork can cause a lot of angst ... because it looks like a tax abatement type thing, when it’s actually an investment in our future, so as long as they’re here a long time, we’re good,” Newcomb said.
“We’re diligently working to bring all the pieces together,” Truck World CEO Gary Burke said in September.