Council hears economic development update

By Sheryl Roadcap - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership (SSEP)’s annual update on economic development efforts in Sidney was presented to Sidney City Council at its Monday evening meeting.

Jim Hill, executive director of SSEP, presented the report about the organization’s work over the last year as well as upcoming projects to City Council.

“It’s great to be here today. It’s good to report to you, especially this year, that it’s really been a good year. And I’m really talking about, in essence, the last 12 months. By coming to speak to you, I mostly speak about the previous year, but it also rolls into some of the things that are happening right now,” Hill said.

Investments received in 2021 in the partnership were given from the city of Sidney, 29%; Shelby County, 36%; private donations, 32%; villages and townships, 3%. Hill thanked city leaders for their continued financial support.

Hill noted last year in 2021, the top industrial expansions were fairly distributed around the county, and they include: Shaffer Metal Fab, Cargill, Honda Anna Plant, Tooling Technology, O’Reilly Machine and Buckeye Electric. Also when describing SSEP activities over the last year, Hill said Shelby County has, has 7.1 billion total manufacturing shipments, five of the top seven best performing schools in the region, 46.4% employed in manufacturing #1 in Ohio and five of the top 15 manufacturing companies in the region.

Hill reminded council members the 250 shovel-ready acres of Sidney Ohio Industrial Park for business development was sold last year. The Ohio Industrial Park had been certified through the State of Ohio Site Ohio Authenticated program.

“That site wasn’t on the market for very long, and it’s now been sold and its really a testament to that (Ohio Authenticated) program help to move us along. And its authentication was key because speed to market means you got to have authenticated site with all the due diligence that is taken place. So glad it could move forward,” Hill said.

Local construction and unemployment rate data, were highlighted next in Hill’s report. He told council that 2021 was a pretty good year for construction activity, with about $97.8 million. Unemployment numbers last year was around 4.1% in Shelby County.

Sidney, for the fifth consecutive year, was named a top city in 2021 in Site Selection Magazine Top US Micropolitan rankings. Hill said. Also, the Sidney micropolitan area again ranked 24th in the United States in the POLICOM economic strength rating, which looks at long-haul economic stability in the community, he shared. Only one other Ohio community came in higher in the POLICOM rating than Sidney.

His report said 2021 was a year of progress in Shelby County and pointed out the following points:

• Implementation of the downtown/riverfront development strategy by CityVision Associates. SSEP continues to chair the Steering Committee, marking progress in key areas.

• SSEP and Chamber continue to fund the website and social media marketing effort. Target is new residents to Sidney and Shelby County.

• Housing effort turning the corner with groundbreaking at Burr Oak subdivision.

• Wagner site awarded $2.8 million in Brownfield funding and $1 million form the state capital budget.

• SEMCORP announcement – largest initial FDI in state of Ohio.

Hill noted the Sidney area on the website that connects job seekers to local companies get about 52,000 hits per month. He said up to 4,800 hits per months come from the Sidney area. Shelby County joined the site in 2017.

In other business during comments at the end of the meeting:

• Council member Scott Roddy asked Parks and Recreation Director Duane Gaier for an update on the impeding pickleball courts development and Canal Feeder Trail progress. Gaier said plans are still underway as changes are being made to the courts’ plans. Gaier also said has been in Columbus for approval of the plans.

• Roddy also asked Public Works director Jon Crusey when the new red lights are to be installed as part of the state Route 47 improvement project. Crusey informed all they would go up in October or November.

• Crusey further shared the remainder of the street resurfacing on Fourth Avenue and Vandemark Road should be completed by the end of the week.

• Mayor Mardie Milligan said she was pleased to announce Wilson Health’s new cancer center opens on Thursday, July 28.

City Manager Andrew Bowsher shared the following:

• During the annual cleanup of the Great Miami River on July 15, approximately 1,240 pounds of trash, including eight tires were removed.

• The deadline to enter the city tree lottery is July 31. The Tree Board is giving away 40 trees to winning Sidney residents.

By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]