Action Plan Will Help County Economic Development

Jun 20, 2017 | News

Nathan Strum.
Grow Licking County.

GROW Licking County partners with the Ohio Manufacturing Institute and the Montrose Group to develop an Eonomic Development Action Plan for the county.  The proposed plan focuses on three main principals: (1) Improving county-wide workforce development strategies; (2) Improving transportation connectivity to enable future development opportunities; and (3) Identifying infrastructure improvements to facilitate future development – specifically, GROW is focusing on broadband and fiber optic improvements as well as a potential for a public Wi-Fi system.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin

By trade, I am a planner. In my first job out of Muskingum University, I served as Zoning Administrator/Planner for the City of Zanesville and throughout my career, I have always focused on ensuring that a systematic community-centric plan is followed for any development opportunity.

That is why I am thrilled to announce that GROW Licking County is partnering with the Ohio Manufacturing Institute and the Montrose Group to begin an Economic Development Action Plan for Licking County.

But what does this mean for my fellow Licking County residents and the communities we live in?

For starters, the proposed plan focuses on three main principals: (1) Improving county-wide workforce development strategies; (2) Improving transportation connectivity to enable future development opportunities; and (3) Identifying infrastructure improvements to facilitate future development – specifically, GROW is focusing on broadband and fiber optic improvements as well as a potential for a public Wi-Fi system.

From here, our team plans on engaging interested individuals in various focus groups to identify gaps in their community or industry, as it relates to our targeted principals, as well as community town hall-type discussions to ensure that our proposed plan aligns with the objectives of our community partners.

So why is this important?

The Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) projects that Ohio will grow by over 11 million people by 2040. In Licking County alone, ODSA projects Licking County to have over 212,000 residents, or about 60,000 more residents since the 2010 census. This substantial growth requires a plan to ensure that our communities are prepared for a large influx of new residents, our school districts are ready for the next wave of student enrollments, and our workforce partners – both educational and industry – are prepared for the next generation of employment here in Licking County.

Beyond these end goals, ultimately – it is the goal of GROW Licking County to create an economic development action plan that will not only serve as a roadmap for future development initiatives county-wide but also serve as a foundation for future community-oriented land use or comprehensive plans.

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