First Posted: 10:46 pm - February 25th, 2016, UrbanaCitizen.com
By Joshua Keeran - firstname.lastname@example.org
PIQUA – The West Central Ohio Development Coaltion (WCODC), an economic development initiative consisting of seven area counties including Champaign County, is working with the Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership to host an event aimed at educating area business, education and government leaders on how communities can work with employers to help attract skilled employees to western Ohio.
Marcia Bailey, economic development director for the Champaign Economic Partnership, said the event – Winning the Workforce War: A Summit to Help Employers and Communities Build Western Ohio’s Future Workforce – will focus on finding solutions to an issue manufacturers refer to as “the skills gap,” a shortage of people qualified to work in technically advanced manufacturing facilities.
Bailey added a recent report released by Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Manufacturing Institute revealed that over the next decade, manufacturers throughout the country will have 3.5 million positions to fill, and 2 million of those jobs could go unfilled due to a lack of qualified employees.
“Preparing our local and regional workforce for skilled, technical jobs is a key to strengthening and growing our local economy,” Bailey said. “To succeed and grow their businesses, existing companies need well-trained employees, and companies building new facilities locate where the workforce is plentiful and well-trained.”
Tickets to the workforce summit, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 17 at Fort Piqua Plaza, 308 N. Main St. in Piqua, can be purchased by visiting www.eventbrite.com/e/winning-the-workforce-war-tickets-21357484812.
Seating is limited, so interested parties are advised to register early.
For more information, contact the Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership at 937-498-9554.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.
Parker Trutec Inc. has announced that the Urbana, Ohio facility will be constructing a 57,000 square foot building expansion. This building expansion will be required for the addition of a third Electrocoating Line to the coatings application facility located at 4795 Upper Valley Pike. This new Electrocoating process line addition compliments the other Electrocoat lines that are already in place at Parker Trutec and is expected to launch mass production by 2nd quarter 2017. The total project cost will exceed 8.0 million dollars.
The state of the art 14 station Electrocoating system is a fully automated rack line which will continue to allow an increase in production capacity for both existing and new customers and will also allow Parker Trutec Urbana to achieve tighter quality industry standards for steel, galvanneal, and aluminum substrates. This new line features 3,000 pound rated racks and processing tank parameters of 16’ x 7’8”x 6’6”. Additionally, this line has the capabilities of rack tilting at each station as needed by customer requirements. Parker
Trutec has chosen Henkel brand pretreatment chemicals and Axalta Electocoating paint for this new coating line.
The added 57,000 square feet building addition will be utilized to house the new electrocoat line. Additionally, the new building will improve production flow and efficiency for large part processing and allow better utilization of existing floor space throughout the plant. The building addition will add 4 new trucking docks to the existing 29 docks currently in use. Link Construction of Bellefontaine, Ohio has been selected for the new building installation with construction set to begin as early as late October or early November of 2015 with completion required by mid-2016.
Parker Trutec Urbana started operations in 1988, is a full service surface coating operation catering to a wide variety of customers with a wide range of specifications and requirements for Zinc, Manganese and Iron Phosphate, Bonderlube, Solid Lubricant / Defric Coatings and Electrocoating.
Parker Trutec Inc. is a subsidiary of Nihon Parkerizing Co., Ltd. of Tokyo Japan. Nihon Parkerizing founded over 85 years ago is widely recognized as a world leader in heat treating and metal coatings technology with 87 global facilities in 16 countries. To learn more about how Parker Trutec Inc. can satisfy your surface coating requirements contact Mike Rea email@example.com or Burke Gruber firstname.lastname@example.org at 937-653-8500. For more information on Parker Trutec Inc and their 5North American facilities, log onto www.parkertrutec.com
Building on the groundwork for a coordinated economic development program in Champaign County, the boards of three local organizations met recently in a joint training session led by economic development expert Chris Schmenk, former director of the Ohio Development Services Agency.
In the training, Schmenk, who now serves as counsel for Bricker & Eckler LLC, reviewed the economic development roles of each participating organization: the Champaign Economic Partnership, the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and the West Central Ohio Port Authority (WESTCO).
She highlighted how the organizations can work together to attract new business to the community and promote retention and growth of existing businesses.
“Each of our organizations has a distinctive role in building our local economy and creating jobs,” said Marcia Bailey, economic development director of the Champaign Economic Partnership. “By working together, we want to make the most of each of our strengths and maximize our effectiveness in helping existing businesses succeed and in recruiting new business to Champaign County.”
The partnering organizations
The Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP) was established in July 2015 as Champaign County’s designated economic development agency, through an agreement between Champaign County commissioners and the city of Urbana. The CEP, a nonprofit organization, is a public-private partnership of the Champaign County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), local government subdivisions – county, City of Urbana, villages and township – and private businesses. The CEP’s 18-member board consists of about 40 percent local government representatives and about 60 percent business representatives.
The Champaign County Chamber of Commerce serves as “the front door of the county” and “the ultimate business concierge,” Schmenk said. She said the Chamber advances the business and community interests of Champaign County, promotes the amenities of the county, and plays an important role in connecting businesses and individuals and helping retain and grow current businesses.
WESTCO, created by the county commissioners of Champaign, Clark and Fayette counties and governed by state law, supports industry and agri-business in the region by preserving railroad assets and providing for the continued operation of rail freight services.
Planning economic development strategy
While covering the responsibilities of each of the local organizations and their board members, Schmenk also provided a refresher on how Champaign County can collaborate with Ohio’s economic development system – JobsOhio and the Ohio Development Services Agency – and the Dayton Development Coalition, which includes Champaign County.
Schmenk recommended that the local groups develop a project team and define the roles each group will play in economic development projects. She said in planning their strategy they need to keep in mind the factors that matter most to corporations and site selection companies that help businesses find locations.
She emphasized that tax incentives can play a role in a company’s decision to locate, but are not the leading factor. She said factors that play a larger role include, among others, availability of a skilled workforce, state and local tax structure, transportation and utility infrastructure, availability and price of land and buildings and ease of obtaining permits.
First Posted: 10:43 pm - February 14th, 2016
By Casey S. Elliott, Urbana Daily Citizen
Property sales are looking up, with fewer foreclosures in the pipeline in both Champaign and Logan counties, officials say.
Realtors in both counties are also seeing a positive outlook in their markets. These trends mirror national trends in home sales.
Sales of existing homes improved in the third quarter of 2015, according to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development data. Purchases of new single-family homes were up 11 percent over the previous year. And, the median price for homes sold increased 5 percent for new homes and 5.1 percent for existing homes in 2015 over 2014.
In Champaign County, there was a 51 percent increase in overall real estate transfers from 2014 to 2015, according to figures provided by county Auditor Karen Bailey. The average sales amounts increased for residential properties from $90,689 in 2014 to $92,387 in 2015. Also increasing were the number of commercial or industrial real estate transfers and agricultural real estate transfers.
Urbana Realtor Lee Henderson of Henderson Land Investment Company said 2015 has been a good year for sales.
“Our company hasn’t seen real estate activity like we saw in 2015 since 2005,” she said.
Henderson said irresponsible lending from the banking industry started to affect her business in 2005, when more people seemed to owe more on the houses than they were worth. That led to more foreclosures as the real estate bubble burst and the Great Recession kicked in.
“When we had properties on the market, we couldn’t sell them,” she said, adding many homeowners who were “underwater” – or who had mortgages higher than the value of the home – also had a number of penalties for non-payment that they could not meet.
“Having gone through all that, this past year, finally we saw people be able to sell their homes,” she said. “Now we’re seeing the values (of properties) inching up.”
Henderson added she has seen in increase in interest in condominiums instead of single-family homes, and those prices are increasing because of demand.
Logan County’s real estate is similar to what is going on in Champaign County, Bellefontaine Realtor Doug Zimmerman of Zimmerman Realty said.
“We’re steady,” he said. “2015 was a great rebound year, compared to the years before.”
Zimmerman said he’s not seeing as many bank-owned (or foreclosed) properties as he did in the past few years, and he’s seeing fewer still on the market for 2016.
The worst year for Logan County was 2009, with the economic collapse, he said.
Logan County Auditor Michael Yoder said he thinks, anecdotally, that 2015 was better than 2014 in Logan County.
“It’s not gigantically better. The number of transfers has been pretty constant between the years,” he said. “The amount paid for properties is up slightly. It wasn’t like a whirlwind increase, but it is an upward direction.”
Yoder added he thinks foreclosures are dropping and agricultural property values seem to be leveling.
“The train is starting to move,” he said.
Property and values will likely change in 2016 for both counties, as it is a triennial update year. That update requires auditors to compare sales data from the past three years and compare it to existing values in the system, Bailey said. If there appears to be an increase in the amounts of residential homes, it may increase the values of residential properties. The opposite happened at the last triennial update in 2010, when property values decreased.
The state will review its rates for agricultural land in the Current Agricultural Use Value (CAUV) program in 2016, which may mean changes for owners of that land. The rate changes, if there are any, won’t be known until the end of 2016, Bailey said.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.
LUC receives RTPO designation from governor
by Joshua Keeran, Weekly Current (Full Article)
Future improvements to Champaign County’s transportation systems received a boost on Jan. 27 when Gov. John Kasich designated the Logan-Union-Champaign (LUC) Regional Planning Commission as an Ohio Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO). With this designation, which covers Logan and Champaign counties, the LUC’s RTPO will be working hand and hand with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT).
“It means that the LUC’s RTPO is formally recognized as a body to enhance the planning, coordination and implementation of statewide strategic long-range transportation plans and transportation improvement programs, with an emphasis on addressing the needs of non-metropolitan areas of the state,” LUC Director Dave Gulden said. He noted the Ohio RTPO designation came following the LUC’s involvement in ODOT’s two-year RTPO Pilot Program, in which grant funding was used to complete and adopt a regional transportation plan last year for Champaign and Logan counties.
Champaign County Engineer Stephen McCall, who serves as LUC Regional Planning Commission Board president, said, “The RTPO is another potential avenue for transportation funding, and this official designation bodes well for the program.”
Along with formalizing the transportation planning process with ODOT, Gulden said, the RTPO designation gives the LUC a seat at the table when transportation decisions are made at the state level that affect Champaign and Logan counties.
Addressing regional transportation issues
From now until July 2017, Gulden said, the RTPO component of the LUC will be funded through an ODOT grant, with the focus on carrying out the RTPO’s scope of work.
“The next two-year scope includes involvement with the ODOT planning process, data items like traffic counts, grant writing like using the CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) program for transportation improvements, and regional transportation plan implementation.”
One area the 2015 regional transportation plan highlighted as needing to be studied more in-depth was the Indian Lake area, specifically the impact of seasonal traffic and population on the area’s transportation system.
As for Champaign County, Gulden said, the LUC’s RTPO will be looking into two specific forms of transportation – freight and bicycles.
“A freight profile will be developed as another sub-area plan, which will include Champaign County,” he said. “Also, ODOT is designating state bicycle routes that will impact Champaign County.”
City of Urbana Engineer Tyler Bumbalough, who also serves as an LUC Regional Planning Commission Board member, said developing a freight plan for Champaign County would benefit the city, especially the downtown area.
“Out of about 25,000 vehicles a day that pass through Monument Square, 7 percent are trucks,” he said. “That means about 1,750 trucks pass through each day, so, yeah, I think there’s demand for a freight plan.
“Grimes Field is an under-utilized asset for the city of Urbana, too. More freight coming in and out of there could benefit the city economically,” he added.
As for a U.S. Route 68 bypass being a possible part of the freight plan, Bumbalough said he doesn’t see the bypass being economically responsible at the state or local levels.
“Locally, downtown and the U.S. 68 corridor would suffer because drive-by business is critical to their well-being,” he said. “From a state standpoint, many existing infrastructure needs outweigh a new project.”
Champaign Economic Partnership Economic Development Director Marcia Bailey, who served on the steering committee during the creation of the regional transportation plan, said the LUC being designated an Ohio RTPO is a “great asset” for economic development within Champaign County.
“The plan identified areas of improvement in our transportation that would allow and foster economic and community growth in our region,” she said. “The LUC will be able to better assist the communities as we move forward with planning for development projects (residential, commercial and industrial) regarding transportation needs.”
From a county economic development perspective, looking at ways to improve how freight makes its way in and out of the county is something Bailey is looking forward to.
“A freight transportation plan will be vital in establishing a safe, cost-effective route for current and future businesses,” she said.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.