Northwood’s Economic Development Committee came up with short term goals to improve economic development in the city.
“We had a very productive economic development meeting last night,” Councilman Dave Gallaher, chairman of the committee, said at a Northwood Council meeting on Jan. 24. “We discussed many things. One of the first things we did was to develop some short term goals.”
At the top of the list: Promoting the development of vacant property on Curtice Road between Applebee’s Restaurant and I-280.
“Years and years ago, there were some issues we had that were impeding development for that section. It should be a nice piece of property to develop for a potential restaurant. So we’re going to make that one of our goals, trying to identify what we can do to help that situation,” said Gallaher.
The committee also recommended developing a plan to attract more businesses to the Great Eastern Shopping Center.
“It sounds like a no-brainer,” said Gallaher. “Specifically, we’re going to try and identify businesses that we think the area needs, and actually go out and actively recruit them and put them in touch with Great Eastern.” He said the city could “entice them a little bit” by providing information on traffic counts at the intersection of Wheeling Street and Woodville Road.
More time should be given to City Administrator Bob Anderson and Kimberly Grimes, the city’s planning, zoning and economic development coordinator, to lure businesses to the city.
“The administrator wears a lot of hats, and Kimberly has zoning and economic development. There’s a lot of responsibilities that fall onto them during the day. I think we have to do something to dedicate some time to proactive economic development. I know they spend time answering the phone and answering questions on economic development trying to help people that come to the city get through the process. But what I’m wondering is, we have to allow time to actually go out and search for the businesses that we want to bring to the city and give them time to focus on more of a proactive stance to get that done and not waiting for the phone to ring, but actually getting someone else’s phone to ring.” Gallaher said he would like to discuss the matter further at a future council meeting.
The committee also proposed updating the city’s website to include potential commercial property within the city.
“If a potential business goes to the website, there should be a link somewhere that they can click on that would let them know what’s available in the city, square footage, that type of thing,” he said. A link to provide data on houses for sale, he added, should also be included.
Finally, the committee recommended putting a list of available buildings and vacant property on the city website.
Council, upon the committee’s recommendation, agreed to spend up to $1,000 for City Administrator Bob Anderson and Kimberly Grimes, the city’s planning, zoning and economic development coordinator, to attend a 2013 Ohio Economic Development basic course in Columbus from March 6-8.
“The city administrator has shown in interest in it,” said Gallaher. “He thinks it’s something that would be of use to him. The committee did make a recommendation to allow the administrator to go.”
The money will cover the cost of the course, and provide travel expenses, said Gallaher.
“There was some discussion about letting our planning, zoning and economic development coordinator go also,” said Gallaher. “Originally, the administrator suggested possibly a council member go. But generally, council members aren’t available during the day. If we’re going to send someone to a seminar or conference for economic development, it probably should be someone who is here to answer the phone or answer questions during the day. So Kimberly would be the logical person.”
“I’m all for Kimberly going with Bob,” said Councilman Dean Edwards. “It’s very important. Economic development is in her title.”
“I don’t have a problem with her going,” said Councilwoman Connie Hughes.
“I think it will be well worth it,” said Gallaher.