Despite setbacks to the overall economy, Clermont County is celebrating an apparent leap in job creation locally.
According to the Clermont County Office of Economic Development, jobs were created last year at a record pace. In all, more than 700 jobs were created with more than $26 million in capital investment, according to information provided by the Clermont County Office of Public Information.
“The trend is two-fold, a direct result of the county’s efforts and the efforts of our local communities to actively pursue job creation opportunities like the creation of Ivy Pointe commerce park,” said Clermont County Economic Development Director Andrew Kuchta. “We’re also more involved in infrastructure improvements to help make a site more suitable for business growth. That’s a big part, our direct efforts have helped us capture more growth.”
Kuchta said that aggressive campaigning to bring jobs, business and development to the area has been aided by various maladies to surrounding areas, such as severe congestion on roads and expensive land.
Clermont County enjoyed a mixture of new job creation, new business development and old business expansion last year, including the new Ivy Pointe Commerce Park where TQL, a business involved in the shipping industry, relocated. Other expansions included a massive new wing to Mercy Hospital Clermont, which accounted for $18 million in development.
"The 600 new jobs announced for Total Quality Logistics last year are brand new jobs," said Kuchta. "They aren't relocating, that's a company we retained that is just growing. A lot of the other businesses are Clermont County companies that are growing. A lot of what we do is make sure that there is room for them to grow, and that there are no impediments to that growth in infrastructure or permitting. A big part of the growth in Clermont County is from existing companies growing."
However, Kuchta said that Clermont County will have to work to keep this trend moving. The county itself does suffer from significant transportation issues, which may see fixes beginning in the near future.
"Transportation access is a problem, and that's why the Transportation Improvement District was created in 2006," said Kuchta. "A lot of effort is being focused on major infrastructure improvements to our road network. The new TID website has a lot of information, and goes into detail on all of the road improvement plans. There is well over $100 million in road improvements planned, and that's our number one obstacle and opportunity. We can do something about that, and there is a plan and funding in place to move on this. This will change the growth potential in the county for decades to come."
According to Kuchta, road projects to be funded in part by tax increment financing districts created by the county over a year ago could see the light of day within a year and a half.
"The TID will bid out design work over the next couple of months, and the engineering will be a 12-18 month process," said Kuctha. "Tentatively, the construction is slated to begin in 2009 for some of these projects."
For more information on the TID, go online to http://tid.clermontcountyohio.gov.