WILMINGTON — Too little infrastructure as the biggest initial challenge to job creation in Clinton County was a theme at the latest meeting of the Port Authority board.
David Lotterer, who provides leasing services for the Port Authority and is vice president at the commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, said he and his economic development cohorts here turn down more JobsOhio leads because of insufficient infrastructure — power, gas, sewer, water — than for any other reason.
JobsOhio is a private, nonprofit corporation that’s meant to lead Ohio’s job-creation efforts.
Port Authority Board of Directors Chairman Walt Rowsey said it’s impossible to expand infrastructure overnight, and that it takes planning to improve the infrastructure on a county level.
Lotterer followed up by saying some of the JobsOhio leads and projects — the “heavy, heavy power users” — would likely be out of reach in any case because of the sheer size of the investment in new infrastructure that would be needed.
But that should not prevent locals from doing their homework ahead of time by “identifying the sites that are the easiest to get infrastructure to and expanding the sewer system, getting the basics in place,” Lotterer commented.
Earlier he had said he thinks this area, as a tertiary or Tier 3 sized market, will improve its opportunities if new facility space comes into play here.
Clinton County has the selling points of having plenty of land to build on and having a great location in between three metropolitan areas, said Rowsey.
Those two things will play a central role in what can be accomplished here “if we so choose,” Rowsey added.
Lotterer, looking at the region, said by way of contrast there is a limitation of land “all along the I-75 corridor between Cincinnati and Dayton,” citing topography and zoning issues. He added there’s a lack of available land in that portion of the I-75 corridor “all the way down to Walton, Kentucky.”
“When you start getting inside the [Interstate] 275 loop and south, you hit all kinds of topography that just isn’t conducive to building,” said Lotterer.
At another juncture of the discussion, Rowsey said he heard the Columbus area is projecting it will have a population of 3 million sometime during the decade of the 2040s.
“Three million gets them a lot closer to Clinton County than they are now,” the Port Authority chair said at the Aug. 11 meeting.
On Thursday, Aug. 18, Port Authority staff member Ruth Brindle with the Economic Development Program said over 20 Clinton County businesses have registered for an upcoming Career Exploration Fair.
“We are in the middle of a targeted recruiting push, so I expect to have a handful more by the end of next week,” she stated in reply to an email inquiry. The registration deadline for businesses is Aug. 31.
The Career Exploration Fair will be held Wednesday, September 28 at the Laurel Oaks Career Campus in Wilmington. The Fair will be open to schools from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and to members of the community from 3 to 6 p.m.
“It really is a chance to talk with high school students about why they might want to think about a career in ‘fill-in-the-blank’,” she said at the Port Authority meeting. Tenth-graders from around the county are the focus for the Fair’s earlier hours.
Businesses interested in participating should visit https://bit.ly/CCWCCareerFair to register.
Registration fees are based on the number of employees in Clinton County: $50 for businesses with 1 to 99 employees; $150 for businesses with 100 to 499 employees; and $250 for businesses with more than 500 employees.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.