In order to attract these jobs, we must have a trained work force. We must have an infrastructure that supports the companies we seek to attract. We must have an effective economic development function. We must offer incentives comparable to, or better than, those being offered elsewhere. We must also create a culture that makes it clear Lancaster wants new companies and jobs here and that we will make it easy to locate and do business here. I realize I cannot do all of this alone, but what I can and will do is provide the leadership necessary to get these things done.
While it is exciting to talk about bringing new companies and jobs to Lancaster, I want to make it clear that first and foremost, we must support the businesses we already have here. We must understand the issues they face and use the city’s resources to address those issues whenever possible. I will not only do that but I will also work with those businesses to increase their competitiveness by finding ways to make investments in new equipment or technology, reducing their logistics costs by encouraging their customers and suppliers to relocate here and by addressing other needs they may have.
I will also encourage and participate in an aggressive campaign to attract new companies and jobs to Lancaster. Within the first 90 days after my inauguration, I will appoint a committee of qualified business leaders to review our economic development activities to determine what has worked in bringing companies like SRI, US Corrugated and Phoenix Industries to Lancaster and what has not worked. I will examine the role Lancaster plays in the Route 33 Alliance and the value we receive from our participation in the Alliance. And, I will ask that City Council’s Planning and Zoning Committee to conduct a thorough review of our building and zoning codes to identify those codes that adversely affect a company’s ability to locate or expand here. Based on the lessons learned from these reviews, I will work to implement the changes necessary to make Lancaster more competitive in the pursuit of new jobs.
I will also work to address one of the most serious needs our current companies and new business have, that is the need for a trained work force. To address that need, I will work with Lancaster High School and Eastland Fairfield Career and Technical School to encourage interest in jobs in the trades and manufacturing. I will reach out to the trade unions and encourage them to expand their apprenticeship opportunities. And, I will reach out to Ohio University and The Ohio State University to determine how they can both support the research and development needs of companies who are locating in Lancaster and provide the college educated workforce those companies need.
I will work to improve the infrastructure companies need to be successful by leveraging my relationships with both our Federal and State elected officials. For example, I will encourage them to try to find federal or state dollars to bring ultrahigh speed internet capabilities to Lancaster, thus making our city more attractive for high technology companies and manufacturing companies that rely heavily on the internet to locate here. I will also support the ongoing development of the Rockmill Industrial Park so that we have “move-in ready” locations for companies needing growth space and wanting to act quickly. And, I will explore ways to create a financial and business support network to attract entrepreneurs and startup companies to Lancaster
I will also work closely with my economic development director and the Chamber of Commerce in the pursuit of new companies. That includes an aggressive effort to build relationships with JobsOhio and Columbus2020. And, it includes a proactive outreach to companies who may be considering a move to the Central Ohio Area. My objective will be to make it well known to those companies that Lancaster is a good place to locate and that we will help make their move to Lancaster as easy as possible.
In addition to trying to bring high tech and manufacturing companies to Lancaster, I will also encourage the further development of our hospitality industry. I will work with the Visitors and Convention Bureau, the Decorative Arts Center and our other museums, the Lancaster Festival and the Hocking Valley Tourist Association to make Lancaster both the gateway to the Hocking Hills and a destination city for cultural tourists. I will encourage the ongoing development of our downtown so that it has the restaurants and shops that make tourists want to come and stay.
In summary job growth is essential to moving Lancaster forward. I commit that if elected, I will provide the leadership necessary to bring good, well paying jobs back to Lancaster. Doing so is just one more step in making my vision a reality. To read more about my vision, click here.
* * * * *
If you would like to comment on my vision for bringing good, well paying jobs back to Lancaster, please leave a reply in the pace below. I am anxious for your feedback because I believe we must all work together to make this vision a reality. However, I do reserve the right to remove or edit profane or other comments that contribute nothing to moving Lancaster forward.