Sidney recognized for economic development

By Patricia Ann Speelman -

SIDNEY — Site Selection magazine announced its annual Governor’s Cup Awards, Monday, March 4, and Sidney is on the list for the third year in a row.

States win the Governor’s Cup by having the most new and expansion projects in any given year.

The 65-year-old, Atlanta-based magazine has made the awards annually since 1988, based on new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by the proprietary Conway Project Database, according to a Site Selection release.

For 2018, Ohio ranked second in overall projects (454) and third in the projects-per-capita competition. But it ranked first in micropolitan areas.

“… micropolitan Ohio’s 109 qualifying investments dwarfed those of second-place Kentucky, which totaled 40,” wrote Gary Daughters in Site Selection.

Sidney is classified as a micropolitan area: It covers at least one county and has a city with a population of 10,000 to 50,000 people. Findlay was the top-ranking one among the 551 micropolitans identified nationwide. Findlay had 23 projects.

Sidney tied with 10 other areas, including Fremont, Ohio, in 19th place, with five projects.

“Projects have to be a new or expanded facility of at least 20,000 square feet, create at least 20 new jobs or require at least a $1 million investment to qualify,” said James Hill, executive director of the Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership.

The five comprising Sidney’s “entry” for 2018 are not all in Sidney.

“The top project was Airstream,” Hill said. The Jackson Center corporation began a new 750,000-square-foot facility that will create 300 new jobs and required a $40 million investment.

And a spec building in Botkins was the smallest project in the entry. Erected by the Botkins Investment Group, it is 20,000 square feet and cost $888,000.

The other projects are a 6,628-square-foot facility that Cargill added to house its oil-segregation process, a $12 million investment; Advance Composites’ 10,000-square-foot mezzanine expansion, a $1.5 million investment; and $1.4 million, 40,000-square-foot addition to Everyday Technologies, all in Sidney.

“It’s always positive to see existing companies and new entities investing in Sidney and Shelby County for industrial growth,” Hill told the Sidney Daily News, Wednesday. “Companies look to that as a good guage that the community is moving forward, that this is a good place to be.”

He noted that 46.5 percent of the labor force in Shelby County is employed in manufacturing, which makes Shelby County No. 1 in the state for industrial employment.

“Of the 12 top manufacturing companies in the Dayton area, five are in Shelby County,” he added. “Total manufacturing shipments from Shelby County are $7.1 billion. We have 3.7 percent unemployment. We have good things happening here,” Hill said.

Sidney ranked No. 32 on the Site Selection list for 2016 projects and No. 18 for 2017 projects.

Other Ohio cities also were recognized this year by the magazine: Cincinnati — No. 5 in the category for metros with populations of more than 1 million — and Columbus, No. 7 in the same category, had 103 and 81 projects, respectively.

Toledo, with 30 projects, ranked third in the mteros with populations of 200,000 to 1 million.

The other micropolitan areas in Ohio that made the list are Wooster, No. 2 with 17 projects; Ashland, tied for No. 5 with 11 projects; Defiance, No. 8, with nine projects; Tiffin and Wapakoneta, tied with two other towns at No. 14 with six projects each; Ashtabula, Bellefontaine, Celina and Zanesville, tied with 17 others at No. 41 with three projects each; and Norwalk, Salem, New Philadephia/Dover and Wilmington, tied with 38 others 62nd place.

“Businesses are consistently choosing Ohio communities of all sizes as a destination growth and investment,” said Dana Saucier, vice president and head of economic development at JobsOhio in a release. “Through close collaboration with state, regional and local economic development partners Ohio offers companies across sector lines the solutions needed to thrive and succeed here.”

Hill noted the importance of being included in the Site Selection listings.

“Any time you have recognition from outside that shows your economic development continuing, it’s a positive sign. It’s good for economic development marketing to be on a list with others from around the country. It shows we have a good industrial base. That’s a positive thing,” he said.

He also tipped his proverbial hat to the manufacturers who initiated the projects.

“They’re risking their capital to move things forward in the community. We thank them for that. We appreciate the longstanding investment of companies on this list and previous lists, because their investment is what creates jobs and economic opportunity for present and future generations,” he said.

By Patricia Ann Speelman

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.