Erie County Economic Development Corp. prepares to seek money

SANDUSKY They've got a plan - and now they have to figure out how to pay for it.
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010



They’ve got a plan — and now they have to figure out how to pay for it.

Members of the board of the Erie County Economic Development Corp. talked this week about plans to raise money to carry out provisions of the group’s plan for creating jobs in Erie County.

ECEDC intends to ask local governments for money — or more money in some cases — for the economic development engine, said Mark Litten, executive director of the organization.

The organization also hopes to get more private investors to step forward.

ECEDC has not decided yet when the campaign will start or what the goal will be, said James Smith, vice president for economic development for Bowling Green State University and the chairman of the board.

“We’re not there yet,” he said.

A fundraising committee also is considering questions such as whether ECEDC should launch a full-fledged fundraising drive and hire a consultant to help lead it or carry out the campaign in-house, Smith said.

Gary Mortus is the chairman of the committee, while James Miller and John Hildebrandt are members. They will report back to the ECEDC board when it meets again Oct. 14, Smith said.

The most generous local government contributor to ECEDC is Erie County. County commissioners provide $25,000 a year in cash and office space at the downtown office building. This year, commissioners also obtained a $85,000 state grant that helped pay for a series of reports written by AngelouEconomics, including the new Strategic Action Plan, said commissioner and ECEDC board member Bill Monaghan.

“People who can afford to give should be stepping up to the plate and giving,” he said.

The ECEDC board also spent time discussing Strategy No. 9 in the new plan, which is, “Support efforts in Northwest and Northeast Ohio to develop Ohio into a hub for wind energy and wind turbine production.”

“We talked about some of the actions we might take to court a manufacturer to Erie County,” Smith said.