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Clark to pay for economic study

Clark County commissioners agreed this week to help pay for a $35,000 economic development study.

Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to give $22,000 to the Community Improvement Corporation to cover the cost of most the study that will break down which sectors the county should target to increase economic development in Clark County.

The bulk of the money, $15,000, will come from the Department of Job and Family Services of Clark County’s Human Services Fund and $7,000 will come from the county general fund.

Horton Hobbs, CIC vice president of Economic Development, said the study conducted by the Dayton Development Coalition will provide leaders with data that shows the county’s strengths and weaknesses.

Hobbs said Clark County the core industry in the area is manufacturing, but the county has seen growth in insurance-related companies such as Code Blue and Assurant.

“We know what our core industries are, but the study will support what we know in a much more detailed way. We want we understand what our strengths are and what our growth and opportunities are,” Hobbs said.

Commissioner John Detrick said he supported funding the study because it will help the county better focus its economic development efforts and bring more jobs to the area.

“This will help us determine our priorities and how we can work as a team with other counties in the Miami Valley,” Detrick said. “The bottom line is to get information Clark County can use that will lead to job creation.”

Commissioners David Hartley and Rick Lohnes also support the study.

Lohnes said he expects the study to give leaders a better idea of the types of businesses that would benefit the county and the workforce.

“Instead of chasing every idea, we will be able to target what we’re best suited for,” Lohnes said.

While some residents may think officials should already have such information, Lohnes said questions remain as to whether the needs of the county are changing and whether there are growth opportunities in other industries such as logistics given the large number of trucking companies in the area.

“I don’t know if this is going to find anything out that we don’t already know. But I think this will help. It can’t hurt,” Lohnes said.

The remaining cost of the study conducted by the Dayton Development Coalition is expected to be paid for by the CIC and city commissioners, who may be asked to contribute about $4,200 toward the project, officials said.

The coalition is an economic development group in which Clark County and the city of Springfield are members.

Hobbs said the two-phase study will begin in about a month and a half.

Once the study is completed, Hobbs said officials plan to form workforce development strategies based on the findings.

“This is a good thing that is going to really help us put together a game plan,” Hobbs said.

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