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Many Ohio cities see economic growth

Scott Seitz2 • Mar 8, 2014 at 10:07 AM

The Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) announced recently that Tiffin and Seneca County have placed in the top 10 nationally on Site Selection Magazine's rankings for large, private economic development projects.

The rankings placed Tiffin 10th on the list of 576 micropolitans, or counties with a central city between 10,000 and 50,000 in population. Site Selection has been annually ranking states and cities since 1978.

Norwalk was tied for 41st with three qualifying projects, according to Site Selection's new list for 2013.

Wooster topped the list with 27 projects for last year.

Eligible economic development projects must involve at least one of the following: the creation of 50 or more jobs, the construction of 20,000 square feet, and/or the investment of at least $1 million. The new or expanded facilities must also be in manufacturing, distribution, office, R&D, headquarters, or call centers.

"I don't have anything for public release at this time -- we are finishing our tallying of investment numbers," said Ellen Heinz, executive director of the Norwalk Economic Development Corp.

"I am in the process of putting together some numbers with Ellen for the NEDC annual report," said Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan. "I know we probably matched if not exceeded the investment dollars in Norwalk alone, but our final report, when completed soon, will confirm this.

"I will say that I have a great working relationship with the Tiffin mayor and we meet on a regular basis to collaborate on ideas and strategies that are working or that have not worked and try to pull best practices from one another."

Although Tiffin and Seneca County consistently makes the top 100 and ranked 30th last year, this is the first time it has placed in the top 10.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was excited by the news.

"This is just another example of how Tiffin is on the move," he said. "Our positive momentum in industry, retail, education and quality of life keeps building."

Seneca County reached the top 10 by registering seven major projects in 2013, involving the creation of 210 new jobs and $27 million in new investment.

One of the projects finished last year was a $2 million expansion by Laminate Technologies, a leading manufacturer of laminates to the kitchen cabinet, store fixture and furniture industries. Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller, who is also President & CEO of Laminate Technologies, said, "While I am pleased with the performance of all four of our plants around the country, with our Ohio facility and Tiffin workforce, we are able to do things that exceed the other plants."

Joining Tiffin in the top 10 this year are Findlay and Fremont, making northwest Ohio the strongest region in the country for micropolitans.

"We believe that northwest Ohio is getting some much deserved attention," said Dean Monske, President & CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo. "It's great to see Tiffin and Seneca County rise to the top nationally."

Tiffin-area projects announced, under construction or completed last year included the following:

American Fine Sinter -- $14 million investment.

Ameriwood Industries -- 73 new jobs, $2 million.

Arnold Machine -- 10 new jobs, $1.7 million.

Jacobson Manufacturing -- 21 new jobs, $2 million.

Laminate Technologies -- 10 new jobs, $2 million.

Tiffin Metal Products -- 20 new jobs, $2 million.

Webster Industries -- 76 new jobs, $3 million.

Totals for 2013 -- 210 new jobs, $26.7 million.

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