City of Johnstown officials are drawing up plans to allay residents’ concerns about the impending $20 billion Intel project planned for land next to the community.
Nearly 100 residents filled Tuesday’s city council meeting with questions about the project and concerns about the lack of information being shared.
“Your community is in a panic,” one attendee said, urging Mayor Chip Dutcher to share Intel updates via Facebook.
Dutcher said the council is working to make improvements to the communications strategy, including improving the city’s website. He also announced that they plan to hold panelist-led meetings for citizens when more Intel-related information becomes available.
Intel chip factory: Johnstown residents worried
“We plan to do community meetings, probably in April,” Dutcher said. “We plan to do probably three or four, to keep the groups small, so people feel like they can ask their questions.”
Intel Corporation has announced plans to begin construction this year on a $20 billion computer chip manufacturing plant a few miles south of Johnstown on Jersey Township lands, which will be annexed to sprawling New Albany. . The project will likely cause significant road and infrastructure changes in the area.
Since the February 14 city council meeting, council members have begun meeting with groups who may share new information.
One such meeting was on Wednesday, with District 5 of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). ODOT representatives informed council members present that a traffic consultant hired by Intel is working with the Mid–Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) to create a “traffic plan,” according to Dutcher. this traffic plan has not yet been finalized.
“There wasn’t much shared with us,” Dutcher said. “They hope to have a clearer picture in the next four to six weeks.”
Despite its vague content, Dutcher sees the meeting as a starting point for future communication between Johnstown and ODOT District 5.
“That was the start of their efforts to contact us,” Dutcher said.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Marvin Block mentioned recent contact between Johnstown and other groups involved in Intel’s development.
“We have started meetings with Monroe Township administrators and the (Johnstown) school board,” Block said.
Dutcher expressed sympathy for his residents in the face of the unknowns of the project.
“This community is very anxious,” he said. “You’ve been through COVID. You’ve been through working from home. Your kids are stressed. You’re stressed. And then Intel shows up here. We want to reduce that level of anxiety in our community.”
The next city council meeting will be Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the council chambers, 599 South Main St.
To watch the recording of Johnstown City Council’s last meeting, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ay-Gnax-Qk0.