Many Ohio cities see economic growth

Norwalk 41st on list of 576 micropolitans
Scott Seitz2
Mar 8, 2014

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.

Comments

Contango

Good news, but sadly the numbers still result in a net economic loss.

@ NR:

Where's the story on the plethora of the local dilapidated commercial properties?

Whoopball

Plethora? Really? Four buildings out of the hundreds in town does not a plethora make. And the "Good news, but..." comment; you just couldn't leave it at "Good news" could you? What is your agenda that drives you to be such an outspoken champion of the negative? Your constant pathologically dark comments are getting so old. I wish you happiness and more contented silence.

Contango

There were only four mentioned. There aren't others?

Question: How are those buried tanks not a potential environmental hazard?

Let's not get into the PLETHORA of local dilapidated residential housing.

I deeply regret that my stating the blindingly obvious disturbs your tender sensibilities and your fantasies.

Cliff Cannon

Having spent quite a bit of time working in Tiffin recently. I can attest, they do seem awful darn busy. So congrats to them.


Then, add here's looking forward to the day when our beloved Norwalk passes them in business activity ! ( After all what are NOL rivalry's all about ? )

propman

One of the things that will keep Norwalk behind Findlay and Tiffin is they have been supporting their infrastructure for a long time.
Especially their local airports.

Contango

Re: "local airports."

The HC airport?

Typical of politicos who overpromise and under deliver, e.g. dirigible co. and other light mfging.

"If you build it they will come," was a great line in a fantasy movie.

Cliff Cannon

@ propman : I for one,can not speak intelligently on your concerns,so won't attempt to. However,I think the key things that will keep us in an uphill battle with these 2 cities is Findlay is just huge population size speaking to compared to us.


Then toss in the reasons that help make them huge. Longtime H.Q.'s for 2 world wide giant company's : Cooper tire & Marathon oil. Then top that off with Findlay being county seat and a college town with an interstate highway running through it.


Tiffin , of course, has the great fortune to be home to 2 colleges as well as being county seat. Then add both of them have good sized rivers running through them as opposed to Norwalk creek. Which in days of yesteryear made a massive difference in their development.


Having said that. I still can not wait for the day when we here in Norwalk, do what is great fun for us: Beat Tiffin

Contango

Colleges - BINGO!

The nice flow of private and public money, helping to create direct and ancillary jobs and spending.

Also, the above numbers are nominal and not inflation adjusted.

propman

The Blanchard river running through Findlay was never a very navigable river. In the summer you'd spend a lot of time walking your canoe while either up or down stream of Findlay. In the spring it can flood with a very fast current that is very unsafe to be on.
The Sandusky river around Tiffin is marginally better with a lot of large rocky areas that even when not being on the verge of whitewater the rocks are to close to the surface for much more then a canoe. Also Tiffin is not much different in size to Norwalk
Both had only rail and normal roads till the interstate was built. Yet it was the gas and oil boom in the 1800s that brought both their initial boosts economically. Findlay did a lot better at booming itself then did Tiffin. However any town has to continue to provide the needed infrastructure to keep growing Something Norwalk and Huron County have not keep up with very well. That is what has to be changed before Norwalk will ever have a chance to beat Tffin and Findlay is far beyond that now.

Cliff Cannon

@ propman : " However any town has to continue to provide the needed infrastructure to keep growing " I totally agree, here. Yet, as I said before. Do not know enough on the topic to comment intelligently, so won't.


My point about the rivers was not navigation, because none of Ohio's inland rivers are commercially navigable with out locks & dams to the best of my knowledge. My point was simply water supply for the residents.


Here's hoping you have addressed ( As I tend to think you have )your concerns on infrastructure to the proper people and if those concerns are valid to the 'powers that be '. That they get moving on fixing them.

Contango

Re: "none of Ohio's inland rivers are commercially navigable with out locks & dams,"

Before RRs, OH had an extensive system of canals.

http://my.ohio.voyager.net/~lste...

Contango

Re: "needed infrastructure,"

Both the Turnpike and the Norwalk By-pass were taxpayer financed "infrastructure" which helped to degrade the potential commercial viability of 'off the beaten path' Norwalk.

Dontcha hate those unintended consequences?

Cliff Cannon

" Dontcha hate those unintended consequences? " Yes and no. Certainly the turnpike took traffic from Norwalk all the while making it faster and easier to get here of course. So overall the turnpike has to be a plus.


As for the canals; Certainly, they made the day, back in the day of water transportation. With a few locks still around today so we can see how it was done....back in the day.


Then canals, prove one thing for sure, that when driven American's want to accomplish something----they do

Contango

Re: "Certainly the turnpike took traffic from Norwalk,"

IMO: There's a direct correlation between the opening of the OTP and the loss of retail and mfg. in Norwalk.

I talked to a senior who once worked at a downtown gas station and anecdotally, he said that reduction in business was noticeable.

All those long gone hotels and restaurants catered to the travelers motoring down Rt. 20.

Canals: Mostly privately financed and built.

Cliff Cannon

" Canals : Mostly privately financed and built " That is why I made this statement : " Then canals, prove one thing for sure, that when driven American's want to accomplish something----they do " So we agree here.

Where we do not agree is on the impact of the turnpike. Obviously, hotels, motels, restaurant's and gas stations suffered. ( For fun try naming how many former gas stations you can in Norwalk. Trust me the number is huge )


Still for manufacturing the turnpike has to be consider a boon. To wit : It took me for example 4 1/2 hours to get to Buffalo. It took my grandfather a minimum of 7 and if he broke down along the way . He could/would sit for days waiting for parts.


Dad also fondly told the story of sitting at the Colonial hotel in 1947 for almost 3 days waiting for crews to clear snow from the roads. Then add Lt. Eisenhower's story of taking 56 days to cross the country circa 1914 and his vow to change that if he could


So to put it mildly, " Ike's " interstate highway system, I believe is one of the greatest improvements in human travel ever.


Of course, I also believe as Charles Kuralt did : " that the interstate highway is the only way to go coast to coast in America and not see anything ". But that is another story.

Contango

Re: "Obviously, hotels, motels, restaurant's and gas stations suffered."

Plus all the ancillary businesses that catered to them, e.g. banks, retail shops, et. al.

Boon for mfg., yes, but NOT Norwalk.

The Interstate Highway system is/was a Defense project, i.e. Autobahn.

Ever see the pictures of U.S. military vehicles and personnel traveling East on both lanes, while Nazi POWs are walking West in the median?

The building of the OTP was like cutting off Norwalk's blood flow.

Cliff Cannon

" The Interstate Highway system is/was a Defense project, i.e. Autobahn.

Ever see the pictures of U.S. military vehicles and personnel traveling East on both lanes, while Nazi POWs are walking West in the median? "

No doubt it is defense related and of course, " Ike " who the interstate system is named for,get's a bit to much credit for it. ( I believe anyhow. Still his 1914 trip makes a wonderful story of cause and effect. )


And yes, I've seen the W.W. 2 pictures you refer to. Just wish Hitler hadn't killed himself so he could've seen them to. ( Before we executed him at Nuremburg )


Still disagree on the turnpike's impact though.

Contango

Re: "Still disagree on the turnpike's impact though."

Then what in your estimation could explain the several decades long decline in the economic health of Norwalk, Bellevue, Monroeville, et. al. ?

What was the catalyst?

While occasionally visiting from Chicago over the decades, I witnessed a slow but steady decline in the area's quality of life, kinda like looking at snapshots over a period of time.

While standing on the corner of Prospect and Main one day, a thought to walk uptown to look in some stores came to me.

Then it occurred to me that there was no place that I wanted to go.

It was in some sense an impulse from long ago.

Cliff Cannon

@ Contango : " Then what in your estimation could explain the several decades long decline in the economic health of Norwalk, Bellevue, Monroeville, et. al. "

The automobile and the fact that nearly everyone has one is the crucial change, I believe.

Obviously, the development of shopping plaza's with plentiful parking was the start. Followed quickly, by mall's, big box stores as well as by centrally located restaurants, car dealers, etc. So " one stop shopping " from large' chains ' with their volume buying giving them pricing advantages over the little guy. Became a national phenomena ,rather a local one,didn't it ?


Carry that phenomena in to Chicago;Just think of the number of neighborhood shopping district's--- which I always thought were very cool--- we both could name that have been devastated by these changes.


So again the great shopping changes are everywhere, aren't they ?

On the manufacturing front. World wide over population, shifting markets following that population boom, automation, Nafta, Cafta and here is a biggie I believe--the lack of environmental controls in 3rd. world nations. Have all added up to the struggle we now face.... in my viewpoint

Contango

Well, based on your assessment all of which is largely outside of local control, looks like Norwalk will continue to circle the drain until it finally goes down the pipe.

propman

So you both agree that the turnpike is a benefit that Norwalk didn't gain from.
That is because even though it helped in shortening drive times it is not close enough.
Well that has been one of the points I keep trying to get across about the airport.
It is the entrance/exit for the aireal highway and it is right there next to Norwalk, Yet the commissioners are trying to close it and sell the land to their buddy Bader on the cheap. All that will do is benefit Bader at the counties expense. for the public access will be lost and all the indirect benefits with it.

Contango

Re: "airport."

To expand on what I previously wrote above on the subject:

The current location of the HC Airport was sold by the politicos to the taxpayers on the premise that light mfg. would utilize the facility LONG before the racetrack existed.

It's had more than an adequate amount of time and opportunity to reach it's previously peddled potential.

Question: Which facility at present, brings in more direct and ancillary tax revenue?

Based on the answer, that's how I think the HC commissioners should proceed.

Cliff Cannon

@ propman : "So you both agree that the turnpike is a benefit that Norwalk didn't gain from "

PLEASE reread my comments. I say over and over and over the turnpike is a major gain.

Contango

Re: "turnpike is a major gain."

Not for the economies of Norwalk, Bellevue, Monroeville and other communities along RT. 20.

FYI: Col. Sanders fought for I-75, thinking it would help his motor court and restaurant in Corbin, KY.

He intended to sell it as his retirement nest egg.

Unfortunately, the exit bypassed the road on which his establishment was located.

The value of his business plummeted.

At age 65, out of necessarily, he started peddling his chicken recipe.

Cliff Cannon

" Col. Sanders fought for I-75 thinking it would help his motor court and restaurant in Corbin, Ky. "


I remember discussing this one before as I am a KFC fanatic as well. ( Even been to the Col.'s grave in Louisville ) Obviously, there are always going to be winners & losers when great change occurs.


However, I seriously doubt unless one owned a motel or gas station if anyone in these communities you list. Would want the traffic jams they would have without the turnpikes presence. Then toss in how many of us locals have use the turnpike and I'd guess the vote goes about 95% for the turnpike.

" "Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot once said that where he came from, if you see a snake, you kill it.

But at General Motors,if you see snake, you hire a consultant on snakes, then you form a committee on snakes, and then you discuss it for a couple of years "

With the " Peter principle " in high gear at places like GM. Mr. Perot's quip sounds about right ( unfortunately )

Contango

Re: "I seriously doubt unless one owned a motel or gas station if anyone in these communities you list. Would want the traffic jams they would have without the turnpikes presence,"

Believe that is called: Business or potential customers.

Which in Norwalk, seems to have been speed walking for the exits.

Let's also remember the By-pass, which helped to also ease that 'congestion.'

"winner and losers"?

Reads nonchalant.

Cliff Cannon

"winner and losers"? " Reads nonchalant. " No, not 'nonchalant ' realistic

Contango

Re: "realistic,"

So who were the "winners & losers" with the opening of the OTP?

Contango

Re: "H. Ross Perot,"

After GM bought EDS, he wanted on the board. They didn't want him.

Owned a brand new '86 Riviera. Worst POS.

Good thing that the Japanese came in and gave 'em 'religion.'

Contango

@ CC:

Speaking of NAFTA, you reminded me. I thought that you might enjoy the following:

"Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot once said that where he came from, if you see a snake, you kill it.

But at General Motors,if you see snake, you hire a consultant on snakes, then you form a committee on snakes, and then you discuss it for a couple of years."

http://online.wsj.com/news/artic...

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