(Harrison, Oh.) - A religious group wants to locate in a Harrison industrial park, but city and township officials contend that the planned church does not fit in their vision for the property.
The City of Harrison-Harrison Township Joint Economic Development District on Simonson Road known as the Harrison Commerce Center is a good location for an industrial area. It is a sprawling, flat field within a half-mile of Interstate 74. A couple businesses are already located there.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the 165-acre JEDD is a planned unit development designed for industrial businesses. However, the Southwest Ohio Assembly Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses owns 33 acres on which they want to build an 87,304 square foot assembly hall.
During a heated meeting last April, the Hamilton County Rural Zoning Commission voted 3-1 to deny the needed zone change. The commission members stated the hall would not creat jobs or provide the tax revenue the city and township are seeking.
The Jehova’s Witnesses group has appealed to Hamilton County Commissioner, arguing their hall will do those things, including attracting 5,000 people on most weekends.
County Commissioners will meet Wednesday to decide the matter.
Harrison Mayor Joel McGuire wrote to the county commissioners arguing that the city and township opposition has nothing to do with the group’s religious beliefs.
“If they were relocating their international headquarters and building a commercial office complex, we would support them. If they were building a medical center, we would support them. However, they are proposing a predominantly empty meeting center that is inconsistent with the purpose of this industrial and commercial site and would not produce the quality jobs and tax revenue that prompted the City of Harrison and Hamilton County to invest heavily in this location,” McGuire wrote.