FINANCING & INCENTIVES

The City of Ravenna has a variety of financing tools that may be applicable to help expand your existing business or start your new venture in Ravenna. In addition to the City resources listed below, we work with Portage County, the State of Ohio, and the Portage County Port Authority as additional sources of funding. Please contact us to learn more about the Incentive Programs and the various resources that are available.

Enterprise Zones

The Enterprise Zone program enables existing businesses to expand or renovate the existing facilities. The program also provides opportunities for new companies seeking to establish a home within the region. For businesses seeking to expand or locate their business to Ravenna, the Enterprise Zone Program, offers up to 100% real estate tax savings/abatement for up to 10 years for real estate development projects that meet the job creation criteria as approved by the State of Ohio. The program is a collaborative effort between the City of Ravenna, the State of Ohio, and Ravenna Schools.

Interested parties should contact the City of Ravenna’s Economic Development Department to discuss the application process. Typically, the scope and cost of a project will be used to estimate any potential tax savings gained from entering into the agreement. If qualified, the Company will be asked to complete an official application to begin the process.

Enterprise Zone Process

  • Approval of the Enterprise Zone application by the City’s Community & Economic Development Committee
  • Notification or Approval of Ravenna Schools and Maplewood Career Center, depending on the level of abatement requested
  • Formal Legislation in the form of a City Ordinance required (the process may take approximately two months, or in some cases expedited if they meet certain criteria)

If approved, the Company signs the agreement with the City of Ravenna. The application is then subject to the approval of the Portage County Commissioners. There is a one-time $750 Application Fee payable to the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA), which provides the final Enterprise Zone approval. Once approved, the Company may begin construction. Upon completion, the project will be subject to annual compliance report reviews, as performed by the City of Ravenna Tax Incentive Review Council. For more information on Enterprise Zone the Ravens, contact our Economic Development Department.

Community Reinvestment Area (CRA)

Businesses located within the boundaries of the City’s prescribed Community Investment Area may be eligible to receive tax abatements on the improved value of a property. The CRA program enables businesses making qualified investments to potentially save thousands of dollars annually.

The Community Reinvestment Area is a zone within the City of Ravenna where businesses either building or rehabilitating commercial facilities may be eligible to receive tax abatements on future tax increases. The program is a collaboration between the City of Ravenna Schools, and private businesses seeking to grow their facilities and operations. Abatements are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. The abatements are for 100% of the improved property value for up to 15 years, for projects with exceptional community impact and accompanying school board approval. This investment is not only a great opportunity for companies to expand, but also helps the community by improving the quality of infrastructure and by incentivizing job creation. The program is detailed in the Ohio Revised Code, which is found in Sections 3735.65 to 37.35.70.

In 2016, the City of Ravenna joined this program by enacting Ordinance Number 2016-088, as a part of the City’s Economic Development Initiative. Creating this potential opportunity for Ravenna business owners and developers to upgrade or improve their facilities, storefronts, and offices was a critical piece in helping businesses to expand while also attracting new companies to the City.

CRA Process

Contact the City of Ravenna’s Economic Development Department

Business Owners or Developers planning a new construction or rehabilitation project are required to contact the City of Ravenna’s Economic Development Director to discuss project potential and review the application process. A business plan or similar analysis is typically submitted. It is advised that the applicant contact Portage County to discuss the potential of any planned improvements qualifying for abatement. The City’s approval of a project extends only to municipality’s acceptance of the potential abatement scenario proposed. The actual the award of abatement is provided by Portage County, based on their criteria for increasing taxable property value.

Complete CRA Application & Proposal

If a business qualifies for the CRA Program, the Business Owner will be asked to complete an official application and assist the Economic Development Coordinator compiling a brief CRA Proposal for review by all decision-makers.

Application Review, Approval & City Legislation

The completed Application and Proposal will be reviewed for approval in order by the City of Ravenna Community & Economic Development Committee, Ravenna School Board, and Ravenna City Council via formal legislation in the form of a City Ordinance. The process may take approximately two months, or in some cases expedited if they meet certain criteria.

Final Approval, Construction and Documentation

If approved, the Business Owner signs a CRA agreement with the City of Ravenna. Upon final approval by the ODSA, the Business Owner may begin construction. All receipts and invoices (or copies) must be provided to the City of Ravenna to certify the amount of qualified investment. There is a one-time $750 Application Fee to the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). Over the following year, the Portage County Auditor will reassess the property. Any increase in property value will be abated up to the agreed percentage of the investment.

Annual Report Compliance

Upon completion, the project will be subject to annual compliance report reviews, as performed by the City of Ravenna Tax Incentive Review Council. For more information on the Ravenna CRA, contact our Economic Development Department.

Loans through the City Revolving Loan Fund Program

The City of Ravenna offers several low interest loan programs specifically for Economic Development and Building Façade Improvements. The Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program can help fill the gaps in existing financing strategies. RLF Loans are not intended to replace or compete with traditional lending but rather to complement conventional financing. Contact our Economic Development Department for more information and eligibility requirements.

Business Solutions and Financing Options through Neighborhood Development Services

The City of Ravenna partners with Neighborhood Development Services to offer a variety of business solutions in the areas of financing and job creation. Neighborhood Development Services is a full service community development agency that plays an active role in:

  • Ravenna’s downtown revitalization
  • Economic development
  • Financing and job creation
  • Revolving loan fund administration
  • Project administration
  • Grant implementation and
  • Real estate development

Contact our Economic Development Department to discuss what tools NDS may have available for your project.

Brownfields & Redevelopment

Urban development often means repurposing land and buildings in order to meet current market needs. Previously developed properties, especially industrial and commercial properties, may have become affected by environmental contamination, be outdated, or unusable due to development constraints. The City of Ravenna recognizes the need to invest in the redevelopment of brownfield sites as a key part of building the City’s future.

The Department of Economic Development can help those interested with a number of programs designed to assist with the challenges and costs of brownfield redevelopment. This collaborative approach enables the City to bundle multiple funding sources to move projects forward. In addition to the City of Ravenna, Portage County, the State of Ohio, and the Federal government have resources devoted to brownfield redevelopment. Contact our Economic Development Department to see how we may be able to work with you and our partners to bring these resources to your project.