Focus is on attracting business, raising standard of living for locals –
By Patricia Beech –
As local government leaders prepare to work under ever-tightening budgets in the wake of DP&L’s departure and the power plant closures, economic development will likely be a major factor in offsetting the increasing scarcity of tax revenue dollars.
The Adams County Economic and Community Development Department writes and administers grants for the county with one goal in mind, according to Director Holly Johnson, “We work to improve the standard of living for the residents of this county through all the programs our office oversees.”
Johnson and her staff work with various grants and funding sources including: Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP); the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG); Demolition Programs; Infrastructure Projects (such as roads, sewage, water, and broadband); the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Ohio Water Development Authority; and the Southern Ohio Agricultural Community Development Foundation.
Johnson says these grants and funding sources help with improvements throughout the county from road upgrades, waste water improvements, and waterline extensions to helping low-to-moderate income individuals and families with home repairs that impact their health and safety.
The unpredictable dynamics of economic growth and development require expertise, understanding, and knowledge of the ins and outs of attracting new business into a community.
“It takes a lot of collaboration to find the resources that are available for new and existing businesses to relocate, build, or expand adding jobs and bringing added revenue to the county,” says Johnson. “We work to assist existing businesses, recruit new businesses, oversee development, help administer small business loan funds, manages housing rehabilitation and other grants, and act as a catalyst for the development of community infrastructure.”
The office also serves as the Fair Housing Advocate for the county providing information for the laws and rights of the residents.
In 2017 Johnson and her economic development team doled out $3,466,679 for projects across Adams County such as: road work, the cleanup of abandoned gas stations, waterline replacements, new village sidewalks, and supplies for the Ohio Valley School District including 630 Chromebooks, 158 computers, and 14 Charging Charts.
For 2018 the department has been awarded funding for 33 current projects and new issues including: various infrastructure projects, parks and recreation, high-speed internet access, sports facilities, neighborhood and village revitalization, adult education, public transportation, local roadways, and improvements to the Wilson’s Childrens Home.
All of the services provided through the Economic and Community Development Department are made available through the coordination and support of the Adams County Board of Commissioners.