New economic development plan in works


Delaware County is seeking proposals from “qualified consultants” for a five-year economic development strategic plan.

The request for proposals (RFP) was approved by the Board of Commissioners at its meeting on Feb. 16. Proposals are due by 4:30 p.m. March 6 to Delaware County Director of Economic Development Monica Conners.

Conners “is responsible for leading the Department in all its Economic Development initiatives,” the county’s website said. “She is focused on maximizing the County’s strategic growth potential as measured by increased capital investment and job creation using traditional economic development approaches of business attraction, expansion and retention. Conners is also working with County stakeholders to continue building consensus around talent attraction and entrepreneurship, as well as site development.”

In its RFP, the county identified 10 areas of research for the plan, including a marketing strategy for “supply chain opportunities in semiconductor and Electric Vehicle industries,” as well as developing “three to five development priority zones for industrial, commercial, mixed-use development.”

The county has put the plan on a fast track: A rough draft of the plan would be completed by May 31, and the final document delivered by June 15.

The general information portion of the RFP in the meeting minutes offers a clue for needing a strategic plan posthaste.

“The County’s eastern border is approximately one mile away from the site where the new $20 billion Intel Fabrication Plant is being constructed in Central Ohio. In addition, the Honda Marysville Plant is approximately 10 miles to the western edge of Delaware County, and an announced investment to retool that plant for EV automobiles is underway. Delaware County is at the center of a transformative shift in the economy and needs to plan accordingly.”

At the same time, “Delaware County has strived to maintain a way of life that respects the county’s agricultural heritage while maximizing development opportunity,” the RFP said. “Currently, the northern half of the county can be defined as primarily rural with agriculture as the dominant form of industry, while the southern half has transitioned from primarily rural with pockets of small cities and villages, to predominantly a suburban environment with many residents working in office-oriented jobs in Delaware County or commuting to Franklin County and the City of Columbus. There is a mix of office, retail, service and light manufacturing industry in the county.”

Delaware County’s current strategic plan was done in 2017, with several recommendations addressed, including the Berlin Business Park. However, “the COVID-19 pandemic created a need to revisit some of the ideas that were found in the plan,” the RFP appendix said.

On a related note, at the Feb. 16 meeting, the commissioners approved an agreement for consulting services with Columbus-based Montrose Group, LLC, so the county can “accelerate its economic development efforts.” This will be in conjunction with the strategic plan.

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at [email protected].

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