SIDNEY — The annual report for the Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership was presented during Monday night’s Sidney City Council meeting. New Executive Director James Hill reviewed the work of the partnership thus far in 2018.
“This organization is a diverse partnership of people from throughout Shelby County,” said Hill, as he talked about the members of the board for the partnership.
Investments in 2017 in the partnership in 2017 were received from the city of Sidney, $66,000, 35 percent; Shelby County, $40,000, 22 percent; private donations, $70,950, 38 percent; villages and townships, $5,750, 3 percent; and grants, $3,500, 2 percent.
The major activity so far, said Hill, has been getting two industrial sites in Sidney classified as Ohio Certified Sites. Both of the sites — 237 acres in the Sidney Industrial Park and 177 acres in the Amos Industrial Park — are utility-ready acreage ready for development by a company or industry.
In 2017, said Hill, the SSEP submitted sites/buildings on 20 leads. This resulted in four new company recruitment visits. There were 39 retention and expansion visits. Mike Dodds, who recently retired as executive director, went on a site selector visit to Atlanta with the Dayton Development Coalition.
The group is also participating in a four-county collaboration for the Hometown Opportunity, which is a job listing for available positions in the county.
Hill said he is continuing an effort to expand the investment in SSEP.
Recent new development and expansion projects were also highlighted by Hill. Projects include:
• Emerson, $110 million expansion
• Freshway/US Foods, 35,000-square-foot project
• Aunt Millie’s Bakeries, 14,000-square-foot project
• Orthopedic Associates of SW Ohio, new construction
• Fair Haven Shelby County Home, 67,000-square-foot project
• Everyday Technologies, 40,000-square-foot project
• Airstream, $40 million expansion
• 1157designconcepts, 16,000-square-foot project
• Botkins Industrial Park spec building, 20,000-square-foot project
• Jackson Center Schools, expansion
• Anna Local Schools, expansion
ª Jackson center, solar energy field
• Menards, 40,000-square-foot project
• STAR Transitional House, 4,200-square-foot project
• Magic Tunnel Car Wash, new construction
• Speedway, new construction
• Lippert Components, 5,500-square-foot project
• Area Wireless, 5,400-square-foot project
In 2017, he said, there was $57 million in new construction activity in the county. In 2016, there was $60 million. The peak for construction activity was in 2014 with $96 million.
“I anticipate 2018 will be above 2016 and 2017,” said Hill.
He also reviewed the unemployment rate for the county for the past year. In May 2018, the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent.
“It’s tough to find workers today,” said Hill.
As the year progresses, Hill outlined some ideas on how to encourage more business investment.
• Creating a spec building template and promote it.
• Achieve Ohio Site Authentication for at least one Shelby County Industrial Site.
• Form a local entrepreneurial network to mentor entrepreneurs and encourage business start ups. “We want to develop the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Hill.
• Ramp up Hometown Opportunity utilization countywide. He said more companies are putting up profiles and videos to show the opportunities available for prospective employees.
• Continue to work collaboratively with the Workforce Partnership.
• Conduct a Visioning Session to establish shared priorities for the county’s economic future. Hill said a meeting is being planned for September.
The SSEP board members are composed of CIC,city of Sidney, Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce and Shelby County appointments.
CIC appointments include Mick Given, Ferguson Construction; Mike Lochard, Lochard Inc.; Todd Weigandt, Area Energy & Electric; and Harry N. Faulkner, emeritus. City appointments are Mark Cundiff, city manager; Donald J. Baird, Emerson; and Denny Sollmann, Sollmann Electric.
Chamber appointments are Jeff Raible, president; Mary Lee Smock, Lacal Equipment; and Phil Gilardi, Freshway (US Foods). County appointments are Julie Ehemann, commissioner; Doug Borchers, Superior Aluminum; and Preston Meyer, NKTelco.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.