Article originally appeared in the Springfield News-Sun on December 17, 2015
Champaign County now has a countywide economic development agency, the Champaign Economic Partnership.
Launched on July 1, the CEP is a partnership of the Champaign County Community Improvement Corporation, local government subdivisions of Champaign County — county, City of Urbana, villages and townships — and private businesses.
The CEP hosted an open house on Dec. 10 in its new offices in the Security National Bank building, at 3 Monument Square, Urbana. About 75 people attended to learn more about the role of the new agency.
The CEP became Champaign County’s sole economic development agency through an agreement between Champaign County and the City of Urbana. Operating as a Community Improvement Corporation, the CEP is authorized under the Ohio Revised Code to advance the industrial, economic, commercial and civic development of Champaign County.
With our motto “working together for success,” the CEP brings together private business and local government to advance local economic development and create jobs.
To strongly focus the CEP on private business development and growth, our 18-member board of trustees must consist of at least 60 percent private business representatives and no more than 40 percent local government representatives. Our current board is composed 67 percent of private business representatives and 33 percent of local government representatives.
Formerly the economic development coordinator for the City of Urbana, I was appointed director of economic development of the CEP with the agency’s official launch in July.
Todd Michael, president of Michael Family Farms of Urbana, serves as CEP president; Andy Yoder, administrator of the Village of North Lewisburg, is vice president; and Bill Heitman, vice president of Civista Bank in Urbana, is treasurer.
We are funded by our two public sponsors, Champaign County and the City of Urbana, and two private business sponsors, Pioneer Electric Cooperative and Dayton Power & Light. Security National Bank supports the CEP as an in-kind sponsor. We are recruiting additional private sponsors.
This funding enables the CEP to carry out our mission to:
• Promote Champaign County as the place to do business
• Coordinate public and private resources to help businesses grow
• Help existing businesses build capacity and retain and add jobs
• Attract new business compatible with local needs
• Improve business conditions and quality of life in local communities
• Maintain a listing of available commercial property
Businesses and others may call on the CEP for assistance when:
• Their company plans to expand
• They need property for commercial development
• They need help developing and training a workforce
• They need other assistance in expanding or establishing a business
• They have a lead about a company needing a site
In addition, the CEP partners with the Champaign County Manufacturers Council, which represents local manufacturing companies. The council:
• Addresses mutual concerns such as workforce needs
• Partners with local schools to promote manufacturing careers
• Collaborates on marketing and other special projects
The CEP office, at 3 Monument Square in Urbana, is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and may be called at 937-653-7200. For more information, visit the CEP website, cepohio.com.