Sunday, October 16, 2022

Five Development Thoughts


Just sharing some thoughts about development.

Ohio Just Keeps Winning.  Credit Governor Mike DeWine’s leadership.  

The recent $3.5 billion Honda and LG Energy Solution announcement to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles in Fayette County is another in a year-long string of big Ohio manufacturing development wins.  Intel in Licking County remains the biggest announcement in Ohio history, by far.  Better days are ahead.

National media had all but put a nail in the coffin for manufacturing and the Midwest, but Ohio keeps proving those pundits wrong, by the billions.  Winning sure beats the alternative.

Learn More About Reshoring Manufacturing.  There’s more to the story about why Ohio keeps winning.  Among the advance work was an early 2021 report from think tank Heartland Forward titled “Reshoring America:  Can the Heartland Lead the Way?” Besides the fact that manufacturing never left, the report made the case that the middle of the country, and Ohio in particular, was uniquely positioned to grow our manufacturing sector and the coveted manufacturing jobs. 

Ohio is the third largest manufacturing state and the one best-positioned to grow our middle class by growing manufacturing investment.  Our advantages in energy, water supply, STEM learning, transportation, and, most of all, hard working people are the keys.

Celebrate Diverse Local Wins Too.  Behr Paint is building a huge manufacturing facility in Heath on the Port Authority’s campus right now.  Behr’s $80 million investment has been quieter than some of the other Ohio wins, but it’s certainly worthy of much celebration.  Who doesn’t use paint?

Licking County enjoys a diverse manufacturing base with products ranging from plant-based seafood to semiconductors (fish to chips!). Keeping a focus on retaining and growing that diversity is key to a strong economy for decades to come.

Answer the FRAMEWORK Survey. The TJ Evans-convened public-private partnership has entered the grassroots phase of the visioning of a framework for Licking County’s future.  A stop at or finding FRAMEWORK at a local event in the coming weeks is the way to give input to the visioning effort underway.   The partnership wants to hear thoughts from all of us in Licking County in answer to the question—"What is most important to you?”

The pattern has been set.  Getting input at the grassroots is part of the approach FRAMEWORK will use throughout its work ahead.

Detour Around a Closed Cherry Valley Bridge.  Much of Central Licking County is already feeling the effects of the closure of the Cherry Valley Bridge.  18,000 cars and trucks a day have to go somewhere.  Of course, any novice review of the photos circulating that show a big crack in at least one of the 190-year-old bridge’s arches is all it takes to concede that closure was, absolutely, the right move.

We can find solace in the knowledge that the Newark and Licking County advocacy to get the bridge replaced with a new one at Thornwood Crossing was a right move too.  Imagine the wait if, on top of bidding and construction, there was the much longer wait to design and prepare to build.

There’s much to be thinking about in development in Licking County and Ohio these days. 

It’s a great time to be in Ohio.  It’s a great time to be in Licking County.


This column is a regular development column also appearing in The Advocate.

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