Board members for the Community Improvement Corp. of Clark County reviewed goals from the past five years and approved the agency’s 2018 budget last week.
The CIC promotes economic development in Clark County and is connected to the Chamber of Greater Springfield. The approved the agency’s 2018 budget at more than $782,900, about 10 percent higher than last year. It expects some additional revenue this year from leasing farmland at local business parks like PrimeOhio II and Next Edge Research and Technology Park, said Horton Hobbs, the chamber’s vice president for economic development.
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Board members also cited the completion of several long-term goals over the past five years. That included the formation of a nonprofit dedicated to spurring investment in downtown Springfield and providing assistance to local companies like Navistar, Pentaflex and Yamada that have seen job growth over that time.
“We have accomplished an incredible amount given the resources we are devoting to economic development specifically,” Hobbs said.
Hobbs said the CIC, and entities like the city of Springfield and Clark County have worked together to secure more than 20 economic development projects over the past five years, split relatively evenly between Clark County and Springfield’s city limits.
Those projects include expansions at local manufacturing firms like Pentaflex, which in 2015 announced a roughly $8 million investment that included new jobs and a 20,000 square-foot addition to its plant. A year earlier, Dole Fresh Vegetables Inc. announced a $9 million expansion at its Springfield site as part of a project to add about 140 jobs.
Local officials also founded SpringForward, a nonprofit with a goal to target investment in existing properties downtown to attract new business and residents.
More recently, economic development officials have helped secure projects like Topre America Corp., which announced this spring it will take over the Champion City Business Park in Springfield and create 85 new jobs as part of a $55 million investment. And Silfex, a high-tech manufacturing firm, said last fall the company will invest about $223 million in Springfield as part of an expansion that will eventually create about 400 new jobs.
Hobbs also noted the region has made strides to improve workforce development, including creating programs to expose local middle school students to local companies, developing more internship opportunities and conducting wage and benefit surveys to allow local businesses to remain more competitive.
Board members also approved an easement for American Transmission Systems Inc. and Ohio Edison, allowing access to to more than an acre of land owned by the CIC near a facility on Titus Road that Silfex recently purchased. Hobbs said the company needs additional power at that site and the easement will allow access to provide upgrades at the property.