Home Back Issues April 2010 Ashland's Croman Mill project progresses

Ashland's Croman Mill project progresses

| Print |  Email
Articles - April 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
McGrew_Mill_late_1960s
Aerial view of Croman Mill circa 1960

Croman Mill, which takes up 65 acres inside Ashland’s city limits along I-5, is a reminder of a bygone area for a town now known more for Shakespeare than two-by-fours. The property has been dormant since the mill’s 1996 closure but plans for a redevelopment are moving ahead despite the fears of local businesses.

The Ashland Planning Commission approved plans in late February to rezone the site to develop single-family residential units, light industrial and manufacturing buildings, and a plethora of retail businesses, including restaurants, offices, nightclubs, bars and shops. Development is expected to take decades and be a source of major economic activity.

“It is a very, very important addition for the area and the region,” says Ron Fox, the executive director of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. Ashland has very little land for development. Ashland businesses could expand or move; new businesses may move to the area.

“The whole idea is to create jobs for Ashland for the next 20 years,” says Ashland planning manager Maria Harris.

Planners estimate that 2,000 to 3,000 jobs will be created. “It will be a big portion of our future job growth,” says Adam Hank, project manager with the city of Ashland.

The plan is not without detractors. Zach Brombacher, the owner of printing company IPCO, says the millions it will cost for road improvements and creating sewer and electric systems will make rent so high businesses won’t move there. “They’re probably pricing themselves out,” he says.

Fear felt by local business owners is reminiscent of a similar redevelopment of a mill area a decade ago. There was concern that the Old Mill District would destroy Bend’s downtown businesses. But Chuck Arnold, the president of the Downtown Bend Business Association, says the district’s mix of retail and larger chain stores complements downtown’s small boutique businesses.

“The existence of the Old Mill doesn’t seem to create this dynamic of downtown versus Old Mill,” Arnold says.

A downtown business district co-existing with a business district with different offerings has helped Bend maintain a strong, diversified and vibrant economy. “That’s what Ashland should look into,” he says. 

AMANDA WALDROUPE
 

Comments   

 
M. Hawkins
0 #1 Good news for AshlandM. Hawkins 2010-04-14 12:32:58
I live and work not too far from the Croman site and can't wait to have that area redeveloped. Ashland desperately needs some economic diversification and that property has been an eyesore for years.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

A Good Leap Forward

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Agriculture businesses ramp up to meet international demand as workforce and succession challenges loom.


Read more...

Buyer's Remorse

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Parents and students paying for college today are like homeowners who bought a house just before the housing bubble burst.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kim Ierian, President of Concorde Career Colleges, and Deborah Edward, Executive Director of Business for Culture & the Arts, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Video: The 100 Best Survey

News
Thursday, August 28, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.


Read more...

A Taste of Heaven

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Craft beer comes to Mount Angel.


Read more...

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

Downtime

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

How State Representative Julie Parrish (House District 37) balances life between work and play.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS