An economic development action plan is in the works for Delaware County after a consulting services agreement was approved by county commissioners this week.
The $50,000 contract is with The Montrose Group LLC to assist the county with the creation of the plan, said the county’s economic development director, Bob Lamb, on Monday.
“The Montrose Group was selected after careful consultation with key economic development partners such as Columbus 2020,” Lamb said. “They have assisted organizations throughout the Midwest with similar projects, such as Bowling Green, Ohio, and Lake County, Illinois.”
Lamb said the consulting will be in three areas — community assessment, development assessment and creation of a list of economic development assessment key tools.
“This will involve engagement with our key stakeholders throughout the first portion of the process,” Lamb said. The services agreement said that up to 100 “leaders from the business, government, education and philanthropic sectors” will participate in an assessment of the county’s “assets, the current state of economic development efforts, business sectors to attract (retail, residential, industrial, distribution), future of the county, growth corridors, and infrastructure investments.”
In addition, a survey will be available to the public.
“We will look at key tools that are available to help us with financing economic development projects going forward into the future, as well as infrastructure improvements that are needed to facilitate projects,” Lamb said.
The development assessment “will provide a snapshot of where Delaware County is today in order to determine where it wants to go for the next decade,” the services agreement said.
“Finally, we’ll be looking at key areas within the county to focus efforts, such as the (U.S.) Route 23 corridor, routes 36/37, Interstate 71, (U.S.) Route 42 and other areas where we can expect to see economic development efforts continue over the next few years.”
The services agreement said the action plan will focus on areas that need infrastructure improvements, identifying types of industries to be pursued, and how to bring more capital from the public and private sector “to fund site development, brownfield redevelopment, and small business/entrepreneurs.”
“I believe this plan will lay the groundwork for future economic development projects that will spur further investment opportunities throughout the county,” Lamb said.
Lamb was hired in August after a nationwide search. He was previously community and economic development manager in Upper Arlington and economic development administrator in Glendale, Arizona. He has degrees from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and Cleveland State University.
The county fired its previous economic director, Gus Comstock, in September 2014.