Ashford on agenda

Clinton Herald file photoA public hearing regarding the city of Clinton entering into a development agreement with Clinton Catalyst for the former Ashford University campus is on tonight’s Clinton City Council agenda.

CLINTON — A jam-packed Clinton City Council and Committee of the Whole meeting will play host tonight to a number of topics, including a public hearing regarding the city entering into a development agreement with Clinton Catalyst for the former Ashford University campus.

The hearing is set for tonight after council members heard from Catalyst representative Brian Clem at a late-October meeting, announcing the group’s intentions to bring in a Chinese education entity to begin utilizing the campus in the future.

Clinton Catalyst currently owns the campus. City officials, Clem and his catalyst partners, and Clinton School District officials have all expressed optimism surrounding the potential move to put the new education entity in the campus, with plans to work hand in hand with CSD students and educators.

The hearing will allow for discussion of a potential agreement, calling for Catalyst to “initiate operations of the former Ashford University facility.” Should Catalyst bring the new education entity, the agreement obligates the city of Clinton to contribute up to 15 annual payments of “economic development to Developer (Catalyst),” for their operation of the facility, with the payments not exceed “the lesser of $750,150, or the amount accrued in the schedule outlined in the proposed development agreement.”

The original maximum total on the payments was $830,000, though it has been changed since the initial proposal.

The agreement states, “The City believes fulfillment generally of this agreement is in the vital and best interests of the City,” a sentiment which council members and others alike have expressed. Among the financial benefits to bringing in international students to the area, the cultural exchange between CSD students and their potential new international classmates has been deemed invaluable.

The potential agreement is available on file for public viewing at the City Clerk’s office, 611 S. Third St., during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Clinton City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. today.