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Maple Heights ready to reap economic rewards from city's new Gojo building

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Posted at 4:46 PM, Sep 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-03 18:27:53-04

Last summer, Maple Heights mayor Annette Blackwell said she wanted to add a Starbucks to her city—something that would make the place feel more like a destination, a symbol of progress. She wanted to put it in an old Burger King restaurant.

Instead, she got something else.

“The first location of Gojo in Cuyahoga County,” Blackwell said.

The Gojo building is located on South Lee Road, wedged between railroad tracks and highway access.

“The value of appreciation of Maple Heights has been 28%—in the last 12 months, in the middle of COVID,” Blackwell said.

Gojo makes Purell, the popular hand sanitizer. The company will make surface spray inside the building.

It will also make jobs for folks in Maple Heights.

“Gojo has committed to hiring 100 employees,” Blackwell said.

That’s for the first quarter of 2021. She said by the end of the second quarter of 2022, another 100 jobs will be added, offering full benefits and what she said is a livable wage.

Last summer, Blackwell talked about the money problem facing Maple Heights.

“$2.79 million in debt, the city was declared a fiscal emergency in 2015 by the state auditor,” Blackwell said. “The city was on the brink of bankruptcy.”

By 2019, she said the city had $900,000 in the general fund and $6 million in the bank. The Amazon fulfillment center, about five miles away, brought new homeowners.

Blackwell believes this Gojo building will clean up some old problems.