NEW ALBANY, Ohio (WCMH) – Intel, which is on track to start building a massive semiconductor chip factory in Licking County later this year, also has the mayor in New Albany making a fishing reference.
“I kind of like to say it’s sort of like a fishing story,” said Mayor Sloan Spalding. “We caught the fish. It’s a big fish, and now we have to get it in the boat. And we quickly realized we need a bigger boat.”
With the president signing legislation that Intel was holding out for to get a funding boost, its massive factory with a $20 billion investment on the table is all but assured. The semiconductor fabrication plant could alter the roads around it, the pipelines that bring in water, and the electrical grid that would power it.
The mayor knows he has a monumental task ahead. Spalding found out that Intel’s plant was officially coming to his city on Christmas Eve.
“I still think it was Fran DeWine’s pancakes that sealed the deal,” Spalding joked.
Ohio also offered the company several perks, including a $2 billion incentive package. That included money for the nearly thousand-acre site in New Albany.
“We sort of have to get ahead of the infrastructure needs. The current focus is really making sure that the site is accessible, so the state of Ohio has dedicated money to help make those roadway connections to the site,” Spalding said. “They’re under construction right now.”
Another big requirement for Intel’s semiconductor fabrication plant is water. The company projects it will use 5 million gallons a day for its massive manufacturing operation, but one other part of the incentive package is a $300 million water reclamation facility. That will be part of Columbus’ water system, and free up capacity at other similar water treatment plants.
As for power, AEP is planning to build new electricity distribution lines at its New Albany-Babbit Station, but it has existing lines in place too.
“One of the many reasons the site was attractive to Intel, and has been for other businesses already located in the area, is that there are multiple large transmission lines near the site,” a spokesperson for AEP said. “These transmission lines are capable of providing the power Intel needs and our team is working with theirs to determine the best options for connecting Intel’s facilities.”
While Intel’s massive plant looms along with some serious planning on infrastructure for New Albany, the mayor said he wants to also keep the area as a desirable place to live.
“We’re going to have setbacks, green space, lots of vegetation to really make it feel like it’s part of the community, and not just like a big, huge concrete infrastructure,” Spalding said. “I think we’re built for this, and we can work together and resolve these issues.”