Development Visions: Toth — 2012 focus includes brownfields, transportation, growthWritten by Paul Toth | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Election years are generally interesting years and 2012 will likely not disappoint. Slower global economic growth coupled with a recession in Europe will surely have an impact on our region in the coming year.
The significance of the recent announcements by Chrysler and General Motors regarding hundreds of new manufacturing jobs coming to Toledo reaches far beyond the jobs; it is the opportunities behind the jobs that create a multiplier effect for our region.
Toledo is the heart of the new manufacturing economy and we need to support not only our traditional manufacturing sector industries, but continue to expand on creative ways to develop new companies in high-tech manufacturing, technology development, transportation and logistics and technical support services. We must also foster and grow those small companies in our community that represent more than 85 percent of our jobs.
The focus of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority in 2012 will include three major areas: continued investment in redeveloping our community’s brownfields, expanding the reach of our transportation assets and fostering economic growth in our region.
Current brownfield redevelopment projects include the 110-acre former Overland Jeep property, the 182-acre former Chevron refinery property and the 48-acre former Toledo Coke property. We anticipate the Port Authority will invest in excess of $20 million in those sites in 2012 for cleanup, infrastructure and redevelopment.
We will also continue to work with our regional partners on the development and connection of our critical transportation infrastructure, including the Port of Toledo, Toledo Express Airport and both the CSX and NS intermodal facilities, which will both be fully functional in 2012.
Finally, we will continue to develop and implement creative financing solutions to attract new investment into the area, as well as support the expansion of existing businesses throughout the region. It is clear that Northwest Ohio has the opportunity to strengthen our economy and it is imperative that our regional economic development agencies continue to work cooperatively to position ourselves to capitalize on these opportunities.
As a region, the economic development partners have identified several goals and objectives that we will cooperatively work toward completing in 2012. These goals will provide a concentrated strategy which will be measurable and provide accountability to the community and clearly define where we focus our collective resources. From a high level, these goals include continuing with the existing business outreach efforts and developing and implementing financial resources which currently do not exist in Northwest Ohio — including New Market Tax Credit allocation, an International Investment Fund and a Community Development Fund.
The economic development partners will also work cooperatively on grant funding opportunities, support the continued integration of government services to ensure the region remains competitive in the future, and support the continued development of core competency industries.
During the past several years, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has launched programs to help this region grow and rebound. Our Diversified Contractor Accelerator Program provides financial solutions to encourage increased participation by Northwest Ohio-based minority and women-owned contractors in publicly bid work and privately funded construction projects. More than a dozen projects were able to move forward last year due to this program.
BetterBuildings Northwest Ohio, a program that finances energy conservation improvements, allows building owners to save on energy costs while increasing the value of their investment. BetterBuildings Northwest Ohio has completed several projects and is currently assisting the City of Toledo with energy upgrades in a large percentage of city-owned buildings.
The Port Authority continues to provide an array of innovative financing programs for our region — assisting close to 300 economic development projects representing a total investment of more than $1 billion while helping to create and retain more than 15,000 jobs. The Port Authority also recently purchased several parking garages from the City of Toledo, allowing the city to reduce debt and balance the city budget. Our recent success with BX Solutions at Toledo Express Airport and more than $25 million in investment at the Port of Toledo during the past two years reinforces our commitment to developing transportation and logistics in our region, and we anticipate substantial growth in this industry.
While our community will face significant challenges in 2012, many factors indicate this could be a very good year for our region. The Toledo region is proud to be home to the new manufacturing economy and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has made a commitment to move at the speed of business to ensure we do our part to assist in capitalizing on all of these opportunities.
Paul Toth is president /CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. Email him at email@example.com.