BUCYRUS — The competitiveness of economic development has intensified across the nation and Ohio, including Crawford County.
Just having vacant properties with the potential for businesses to develop is not enough, said John Gibney Eikenbary, vice president, communications & marketing or the Regional Growth Partnership, the Northwest Ohio network partner for the state’s privatized job-development agency, JobsOhio.
Companies and consultants want sites that have the infrastructure built in already, he said.
“All of these need to be in place now,” Gibney said.
With the help of AEP Ohio, the Crawford County Partnership for Education & Economic Development formally designated Outlot 619 in the Crossroads Industrial Center as an Austin Consulting – American Electric Power Certified Site for the food and beverage sector.
The Partnership celebrated the achievement with an awards presentation at the Crawford Success Center, 130 N. Walnut St., in Bucyrus Friday afternoon.
“This certification means a lot to Crawford County. Not only do we have a site that can suit the needs of food and beverage manufacturers—from ample utilities to convenient logistics—but now interested businesses will know it’s shovel ready,” said Gary Frankhouse, Executive Director of the Crawford Partnership for Education and Economic Development. “Food and beverage companies seeking to do business in Crawford County will now be able to save time and money, and avoid risk, because we have a certified site that addresses all of their basic requirements. Instead, they can spend their time discovering why we are the right fit.”
The “shovel-ready” designation applies to a 22-acre parcel in the Crossroads Industrial Park that has undergone an exhaustive review of more than 200 variables including zoning, utilities, environment and transportation. Such criteria is now expected to meet the guidelines required by food and beverage processors seeking sites for new plants, according to the Partnership.
“The demand for project ready industrial sites continues to grow as decision-making timeframes for companies continue to shrink,” said Tim Wells, economic and business development manager for AEP Ohio.“Certification confirms readiness — a huge benefit in the site selection process — and creates a competitive advantage for new businesses because of the ability for quicker start-up and operation.”
Frankhouse said AEP Ohio “continues to invest in Crawford County” as it has awarded grants for Partnership programs such as the Workforce Awareness for Graduates & Educators.
Reach Klein at 419-468-1117, ext. 2048 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.