Some Northwood council members, in the wake of the closing of the Woodville Mall, want the city to establish an economic development position to boost growth.
At a meeting last month, Councilman Dave Gallaher, chairman of the Economic Development Committee, said the city needs to step up and promote economic development.
The city, he said, is losing ground daily, particularly after the closing of the mall last December due to several health department violations.
Councilman Dean Edwards agreed. He said something needs to be done and that it cannot be business as usual.
Gallaher said the city could be more in control of what is happening with economic development rather than doing nothing at all.
Councilman Jim Barton said City Administrator Dennis Recker met with commercial and industrial businesses and has received very positive feedback from the meetings.
After the meeting, Northwood Mayor Mark Stoner said he, Recker, and Kimberly Grames, the planning, zoning & economic development coordinator, met with business owners last year.
“I don’t know what Dave thinks an economic development coordinator would do. Would they sit in their office and mail out brochures? We’re knocking on doors, making courtesy calls. We’ll help them out whenever we can,” said Stoner.
We’re working with Kimberly trying to get her more experience in the area of economic development,” said Stoner. “But to just throw money at the situation doesn’t make sense.”
Does the city recruit new business?
“For retail, there aren’t any incentives that I’m aware of that the city can do to help them. They don’t bring enough dollars in that they qualify for rebates, where we give half of their income tax back to them. They just don’t bring enough people,” said Stoner.
“Let’s say we could help businesses at the Woodville Mall,” added Stoner. “Then other businesses are going to want help. And pretty soon, we’re subsidizing every business in Northwood. We can’t stay in business that way, either.”
Economic development could be spurred with Fed Ex coming to the city, and the construction of the new casino in neighboring Rossford, said Stoner.
“The first open space south of the casino is Northwood, right there at Wales Road. So there’s the potential to develop hotels and restaurants out there. So things can happen,” he said.