AVON LAKE, Ohio — Ford Motor Co.’s $900 million investment in the Ohio Assembly Plant will create 1,500 jobs in the Avon Lake area, the mayor said Monday.
Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka said a Ford official contacted him Friday about the investment and jobs. Later that day, the United Auto Workers released the tentative agreement the union made with the automaker, which includes a new unnamed product line at the Avon Lake plant as part of the $900 million investment.
The proposed contract, on which UAW workers began voting Monday, doesn’t mention the number of jobs to be created at the plant. Ford also is investing $125 million for continuing upgrades at its Cleveland Engine Plant in Brook Park.
Mayor Zilka said the call from Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, began with a company official discussing other fairly routine matters before she mentioned the “incredible” news about the investment and jobs.
“She informed me that it was going to be 1,500 jobs or more,” he said. “We’re very excited about this. The goal is for them to have it in place by 2023.
“One thing people don’t realize is that we are going to benefit from the trades union people building the facility well before it is open,” Zilka said. “That is a shot in the arm for our City of Avon Lake, as well. Our understanding is that they will either add on to the very large facility they have now or possibly it could be a stand-alone building on the campus. We don’t have that information yet.”
But one thing is known: the city will economically benefit from the expansion. He said that while the plant includes parts of Sheffield Lake and Sheffield Village, “the vast majority” of it is in Avon Lake. The mayor said the school district, which receives 80% of local real estate taxes, would benefit from the investment. Zilka said the earliest these taxes would be collected is 2024, and that it is too early to tell the amount.
The 1,500 jobs also will generate income tax for Avon Lake.
Economic Development Director Ted Esborn said it’s not currently known what that amount will be. However, he said the current 1,700 jobs at the plant contribute much to the city’s coffers. Esborn said the city annually collects $7.5 to $8.5 million in income tax.
“Ford accounts for about 25% of all income tax that Avon Lake receives from businesses, and that’s a roster of over 300 businesses including other large manufacturing employers like PolyOne, Lubrizol, and Thogus,” Esborn wrote in an email.
It is unclear at this time how many, if any, jobs the investment being made at the Engine Plant in Brook Park will create.