By Emily Morgan, The Daily Record
The Orrville Development Foundation is refocusing its efforts to lead commercial and community development in the city, starting with a beautification project at Orr Park.
The foundation recently purchased the property of the former Parkview Lanes at 515 W. High St. The plan is to demolish the structure this summer and “develop a green space as an attractive entryway to Orr Park and the Orrville City Schools campus,” according to Lori Reinbolt, who is serving as the interim executive director for ODF. Once improvements are made, the foundation will donate the property back to the city of Orrville.
The property on High Street went on the market in June 2017, shortly after Parkview Lanes closed. Real estate agent Adam Hanzie of Wiles Hanzie Realty said several people looked at the property to continue running it as a bowling alley, but a sale never came to fruition. Most of the bowling lanes and equipment were recycled or sold.
The ODF, a 501(c)(3) corporation, was founded in 1985 as a result of a feasibility study conducted by the Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce. Its original purpose was to promote and develop the community.
The foundation’s previous projects included raising funds for the expansion of the Orrville industrial park, facilitating the downtown community improvement project that included updating sidewalks and installing decorative lighting and, most recently, coordinating the Bloomin’ Orrville flower basket program and other beautification projects.
It’s now adopted the phrase “Invest Orrville” as a call to action to identify future projects and activities for the foundation. The park project is the first Invest Orrville project funded by the ODF.
The new focus of the foundation required a change in the organizational structure. At the beginning of 2019, the ODF elected new board members and appointed new officers as well as appointing Reinbolt, the president of the Orrville Area Chamber of Commerce, as the interim executive director.
Its first priority is to raise awareness of the foundation and attract new donors to support its work. The foundation is currently working on a website and social media networks to share information. One example of outreach would be to better market available commercial properties for prospective business owners who may want to open a location in Orrville.
Another facet of Invest Orrville is taking advantage of Orrville’s designation as an Opportunity Zone. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provides incentives for investments in Opportunity Zones, low-income census tracts. The majority of Orrville’s zone has opportunities in commercial investment.
On Thursday, Jacob Dean, Matt Long and Roger Proper Jr. of Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnston Ltd. provided an education session to industry professionals including attorneys, tax advisors and CPAs about the investment incentives related to Opportunity Zones.
The zones will allow investors to put capital to work financing new projects and enterprises in exchange for certain federal capital gains tax advantages. More than 8,700 Opportunity Zones have been designated across the country including most of the city of Rittman and parts of southern Holmes County.
“As a community, we have the opportunity to do something really big,” Reinbolt told the group gathered at Heartland Point.