Yes in Our Back Yard

May 28, 2023 | News, Newsletter

Megan Meyer
City of Whitehall 

Ever since the Intel announcement, the region has had endless conversations about how to be “Intel Ready.”

While Intel will undoubtedly be a gamechanger for Ohio, we’re behind the eight ball if we weren’t already preparing for population growth and increased pressure on our built infrastructure and logistics pipelines.

Density is coming, and we’ve known it now for over a decade. So let’s grab that dusty 2020-themed strategic plan off the shelf and ask ourselves – did we plan for and actually make changes in our communities to promote density, mixed-use development and infrastructure capable of supporting growth?

Or was our head in the sand? Where’s your head now as we face rising interest rates, outrageous construction costs and the ever-nagging NIMBY attitudes we all can’t seem to shake?

Is it too late? No. Are we collectively behind as a region? 110%.

So what’s getting in your way? For Whitehall, blighted neighborhoods, a lack of quality employers and a stagnant rental market used to get in our way. In fact, we let it get in our way for decades—that is until the City started taking a progressive stance on infill redevelopment.

Through creative property acquisition, public-private partnerships and the support of elected officials, the City has moved the needle dramatically, and developers are taking notice.

For Whitehall, the last decade has been like one large exercise in becoming “Intel Ready.” Not a single commercial corridor is recognizable. And neither are things that were holding redevelopment and density back, like our circa-1970s Zoning Code which was abandoned last year in favor of a rewrite that allows density by-right, bypassing the need for most variances and other redevelopment roadblocks.

So what’s on the horizon for Whitehall?  In the last five years alone, we’ve seen 2,300 new housing units built, under construction or in the planning process. Once complete, the addition of these new units and residents will surely reinvigorate our community.

But we’re not slowing down, knowing that to become Intel Ready is only just the beginning. Intel will be here before we know it, but so will 2050 and whatever other abstract year you’ve chosen to put on that plan in your office. So let’s kick it into high gear Ohio. Change is coming soon to our back yard, and Whitehall for one is saying yes!

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