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Daisy Plants itself in Wooster

July 11, 2013 in economic development, News

From The Daily Record
by Bobby Warren 

“Months of speculation regarding whether an agbioscience company would locate here officially ended Monday when the state’s tax credit authority granted Daisy Brand, a maker of sour cream and cottage cheese, incentives.

Until Monday, local leaders would only refer to the pending Daisy deal as Project Cream. It all began with a cold call in May 2012.

The Wayne Economic Development Council received a call from the company. There had been a search in the Great Lakes region for a new plant site because of the strong presence of dairy farms and dairy market, said Shawn Starlin, a project manager for WEDC. States that were being considered included Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Company officials did their homework, Starlin said. In determining who to call, they looked at dairy statistics. Wayne County far exceeds all Ohio counties with its production of 600 million pounds of milk annually.

“It’s impressive,” Starlin said.

There were 77,700 cows in Wayne, Holmes, Tuscarawas, Stark and Medina counties as of January 2012. Wayne County has 32,500 of the cows, or 41 percent. The next closest is Holmes with 16,900.

But it took more than impressive dairy numbers to get it done. Company officials visited this area repeatedly, meeting with city and county leaders, economic development officials and utility representatives. They had site visits to the former First Farm along Akron Road next to LuK USA to make sure it would be suitable for a new production facility.

Daisy’s executives were looking for something else, too, something less tangible.

“They wanted to look at a facility in a small town or one with small-town values,” Starlin said…”

Click to read this article in its entirety, as well as others on The Daily Record

See what’s being said about our Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice

June 20, 2013 in Housing, News

This week around the Northeast Ohio region, NEOSCC staff are presenting and taking comments on the draft of initials findings from our Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. Below are some excerpts of what a few local media outlets had to say about the study and the work we are doing. You can click on each article to read the story in full.

 

“Study: Blacks in Mahoning County receive more predatory loans”
by Burton Speakman,The Vindicator

“The overall point of the study was to show where issues exist within Northeast Ohio and develop a vision of what this area should be, said Anthony Kobak, project manager for NEO Sustainable Communities Consortium.

Then the area needs to develop plans and find funding for programs to help make any necessary changes to make area housing more equitable, he said.”

“Reports show minorities denied loans”
by WKBN Staff, WKBN Channel 27 News

“The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium has released its Fair Housing Report.

The initiative incorporates 12 counties in the northeast Ohio region. The study looked at private lending practices, public sector housing complaints and the community reinvestment act.

Among the data analyzed was that provided by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act for home purchase loan applications from 2004 through 2011.

Of the 328,557 loan applications originated in the region, 65,149 were denied. American Indian, black, and Hispanic residents experienced a higher rate of loan denial than white or Asian applicants. Black and Hispanic applicants were also issued higher interest rate loans, and black borrowers experienced a rate nearly twice that of white applicants, according to the report.”

“Fair housing data presented on Lake, Geauga counties”
by Betsy Scott, The News-Herald

“The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is behind the Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice — a document a number of jurisdictions in the region are required to have by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or the state, depending on the grant funding agency.

The 2,500-plus-page analysis identified racially and ethnically concentrated areas, measured racial/ethnic isolation and segregation, evaluated access to opportunity areas, and recommended ways to reduce social and economic disparity…

The presentation included the number of housing complaints to HUD from 2004 to 2012 — 31 total in Geauga and 138 in Lake, for reasons including familial status, race and disability. Mortgage loan denials also were reviewed, showing a pattern of higher denials among minorities.

Agency representatives at the presentation disputed some of the data, particularly that which was gathered from a local government survey about fair housing information in their respective communities. They said it didn’t paint an accurate picture…

The results of the fair housing study will be integrated into a planning process for changes to be implemented. They also can be incorporated at the local level, said Anthony Kobak, project manager for NEOSCC.

“Each local entity can accept it as their own analysis of impediments, a portion of it or not at all,” he said. “HUD is concerned with the findings, but moreso how you are addressing them.”"

 

To view the fair housing report online, visit vibrantneo.org/regional-aifhea-draft-report.

To submit comments comments or questions, send to NEOSCC, 146 S. High St., Suite 800, Akron, OH 44308, or email akobak@neossc.org.

Ashtabula County’s Pairings Initiative

May 21, 2013 in Collaboration, economic development, News, Quality Connected Places

Located along Lake Erie and the Pennsylvania border in Northeastern Ohio, Ashtabula County is Ohio’s largest in terms of land area. However, it is not only the size of Ashtabula County that makes it unique among all Ohio counties. Its location and topography bestow upon it the most unique microclimate in the region. Situated where the Lake Erie escarpment is closest to the lake provides gradual warming temperatures in the spring and warm lake-effect air in the fall. This moderating microclimate and above-average to ideal soil conditions are perfect for growing grapes. Perched atop the remnants of glacial beaches and covered with vines planted over generations, the Lake Erie and Grand River Valley grape growing regions are the largest in Ohio. Ashtabula County alone produces 65% of all Ohio’s grapes.[1] Here lies the heart of Ohio wine country, where agriculture, economic development and tourism have come together through community collaboration to celebrate one of Northeast Ohio’s most valuable assets.

In 2008, a passionate group of business and civic community leaders began meeting to discuss opportunities for encouraging economic and community development initiatives for historic downtown Geneva, in Ashtabula County. With national, regional and local trends all indicating an increase in the popularity of wine and culinary tourism, the vision of creating a wine and culinary center was born. Northeast Ohio is home to 68% of Ohio’s nearly 2,000 grape-bearing acres, while Geneva and Ashtabula County are home to twenty wineries and counting. In fact, in 2007, Orbitz ranked the Grand River Viticulture Area in Ohio as the 6th favorite destination in the United States for culinary tourists.[2] The upshot of the past four years of collaboration is Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience.

Pairings will eventually be a 38,000-square-foot non-profit culinary and education center on the old site of Geneva Elementary School. The center will include restaurant and banquet facilities, cooking classes, wine making demonstrations, incubator facilities for start-up wineries, educational culinary demonstrations, office space and a gift shop. The project will begin with a start-up “Windows on Pairings,” which will incorporate a barn currently on the property to help develop the facility’s business plan and hone its vision. According to Director Jennifer Brown, this has been an eventful week for Pairings, as the center became the pending lessee of the former Geneva Elementary property and gained another major sponsor, Debonne Vineyards.

For more information about Pairings, please contact Jennifer Brown at jbrown@pairingsohio.com or visit the Pairings website at www.pairingsohio.org. For more information about the Ohio wine industry, please contact Ohio Wine Producers Association Executive Director and Pairings Board Trustee, Donniella “Donnie” Winchell (dwinchell@pairingsohio.org). For more information about Ashtabula County tourism, please contact Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director and Pairings Board President, Mark Winchell (mwinchell@pairingsohio.org).

The image below is a rendering of Pairings when complete. Construction on “Windows on Pairings” is scheduled to begin this fall.


[1] Ashtabula County Convention & Visitors Bureau (retrieved 5.17.2013 from http://visitashtabulacounty.com/).

[2] Pairings, Ohio’s Wine & Culinary Experience (retrieved 5.17.2013 from http://www.pairingsohio.org/backgroundandlocation.html).

WKSU Story…Citizens plan the future of NE Ohio

May 9, 2013 in News, Scenario Planning

WKSU, Mark Urycki:

If you’d like to build an expressway that links Beachwood to Youngstown, you’ve had your chance to suggest it.

Groups of people have been gathering in cities around Northeast Ohio this week to make suggestions about the future growth of the region. It’s all being funded by a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Obama Administration is handing out grant money in hopes of saving much larger sums in the long run. The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is an effort by HUD, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. EPA. They’re hoping that better designed communities will mean less waste building new roads and housing developments while the old ones just crumble.

The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium has been asking locals how to do that this week. April 1 – May 2, sessions were held across Northeast Ohio.

The organization is made up of 33 members, all the major cities, counties and transportation or planning agencies in the 12-county region. It’s pretty clear by their projections of what Northeast Ohio would look like in 2040 that their biggest concern is that the region cannot afford to sprawl outwards while older houses, businesses and neighborhoods are abandoned. Jeff Anderle explained that NEOSCC is asking citizens where to put the resources.

“What should we be doing potentially in the future to create a more vibrant region? Given government resources being strapped, it’s very important we make wise investment with the tax dollars.

“Something like this takes some of the guesswork out of it and says, ‘What are the fiscal impacts of these choices and how governments work better and collaborate better just within the cities or counties where they are?”

So in a half dozen locations this past week, interested citizens have been hovering over maps, drawing out what they’d like to invest in or not.

A couple men in Akron objected to the word invest and said the free market should decide, that no one should tell private property owners how they can use their land. Consultant James Miner of the Boston-based Sasaki Associates planning firm suggested they imagine being a farmer who wanted to keep farming.

“Land rights are very important in this country. It’s something we do not want to violate. However, the free market has the ability to cause pressure on you as a farm owner because the growth of residential use in your community could reach your front door.“

This week the Sustainable Communities Consortium gathered about six-dozen maps that represent the land-use and transportation wishes of the people in attendance. Our ideas will be used to create alternative scenarios for the region and then presented at later town hall meetings.

Read this original article and hear more at WKSU.org.