On December 7, I attended the seventh annual Economic Development 411 held by Columbus 2020 and the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange. Over 700 elected and appointed officials, civic and business leaders gathered for a day of insightful conversation about future economic growth, innovation and investment in the Columbus Region.
The event’s keynote speakers were Governor-Elect Mike Dewine, President and CEO of Columbus 2020 Kenny McDonald, and President and CEO of L Brands Les Wexner.
In a competitive world, the Columbus Region, which is made up of 11 counties in Central Ohio, including Delaware County, ranks at the top of many lists and has won several awards. The success in the Columbus Region has been in large part due to the following:
- the input and partnerships of the public and private sectors
- a willingness to band together and work as a team in pursuit of excellence in each and every community
- communities and workplaces transforming due to technology
- supporting our companies with the tools they need
- government-adapted policies that will allow for ever-changing business models to succeed
Columbus 2020 has already met two of its three major 2020 goals for the Columbus Region. They’ve netted 160,000 new jobs (the goal was 150,000), and $9 billion in capital investment (the goal was $8 billion). It’s third goal — 30 percent increase in per-capita income — is on pace to be well surpassed by 2020.
Economic Development in Orange
The role of trustee and its duties vary from township to township. For some trustees in small, rural areas, it’s that time of year when they roll up their sleeves and operate snow plows. Trustees of larger townships may manage and oversee the work of committees, including an economic development committee, staffed by volunteers.
Orange Township does not have an in-house economic development staff dedicated to this important endeavor. Being part of the Columbus 2020’s Columbus Region gives Orange Township many advantages and opportunities. I consider it an honor to participate and lead the economic development effort in the Orange Community.
In my role as trustee, I am focused on developing stronger relationships with our business and region leaders, entrepreneurs, and our county economic team. We lack a diversified tax base and are overwhelmingly residential. In an effort to think and plan ahead, we must identify the types of business we want for commercial growth, and have a strategy for attracting those desired industries to Orange Township.
Economic development is not just about new development, but about potential redevelopment in our existing business community as well. We currently have a window of opportunity to fill needs that have existed for years. My focus is to make sure we reach our full potential, and not let any of these opportunities pass us by.
In the upcoming weeks, I will be writing more about the economic development plans and opportunities for Orange Township. This is an exciting time for our area, and I look forward to working together to grow the economic development of our community.