State releases money for TJX center road work

LORDSTOWN — TJX Companies Inc. has scaled another crucial hurdle in the process to build a massive distribution center for its off-price home fashion and decor retailer HomeGoods.

The Ohio Controlling Board released $1.4 million for road improvements at Hallock Young Road at Ellsworth Bailey Road to support the $140 million to $170 million center that’s going to employ about 1,000 at peak capacity.

The work will consist of extending and relocating Hallock Young Road and adding turn lanes, new signals and upgrading Ellsworth Bailey Road. Lordstown Village Council in March approved vacating and relocating a portion of Hallock Young Road to create a through road to be built and rerouted around the planned warehouse.

“The release of these funds is a welcome investment in my part of the state and signal that we are well underway in our long journey to bring over 1,000 new jobs to Lordstown, which has recently been hit hard by losses in other sectors,” Democratic state Sen. Sean J. O’Brien of Bazetta stated in a release on his Senate webpage.

The funds were released at the request of the Ohio Development Services Agency, the state agency that supports business in Ohio.

The controlling board is a seven-member group of state lawmakers and other state officials that handle adjustments to Ohio’s budget. It voted Monday to release the money for the HomeGoods distribution center and warehouse.

Erika Tower, spokeswoman for TJX, said the company had expected to begin site work this month and that work is underway. She declined to comment further on specific details.

TJX in late March finalized the purchase of the 290 acres of vacant land it sought to build the center more than a year after it announced plans to build the facility. Getting to that point included a special election in August forced by opponents of a zone change of the property to try to overturn the change and then a lawsuit.

Voters in the village overwhelmingly supported the zone change from residential to industrial and the lawsuit was dismissed.

Other crucial steps as the project moves toward reality include water-quality certification from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in mid-March. The certification gives permission to TJX to discharge dredged or fill material from construction into streams and wetlands.

The discharges will affect the wetlands and degrade the water quality of streams in the Duck Creek watershed, but TJX has agreed to offset the impacts by, in part, enhancing two streams nearby the property, buying 4,690 credits from the Stream and Wetlands Foundation and preserve 4.65 acres of moderate-quality wetlands and 130 acres of forested woodland adjacent to the development.