Thursday, March 18, 2004

Lost people, lost jobs spur business study



By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Hamilton County commissioners hired a national association Wednesday to look at how the county can attract new businesses.

"We're losing the race, and we need to catch up," Commissioner Phil Heimlich said. "People are leaving this county and going to Warren County, Clermont County and Northern Kentucky, and jobs are leaving with them."

Commissioners voted 3-0 to pay the Washington-based International Economic Development Council $30,000 to study current efforts and suggest improvements by mid-year. The nonprofit group's past clients include Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas; and Washington.

Hamilton County lost 9 percent of its population between the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Census counts, and now has fewer than 850,000 people. The county's share of the region's jobs has fallen from 68 percent to 58 percent since 1987, according to the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

The county has set aside $2 million this year for economic development. Heimlich expects the International Economic Development Council to recommend how to spend it.

"We want to make sure whatever we invest in will give us our best possible return," Heimlich said.

The Hamilton County Development Co., a private nonprofit based in Norwood, gets about $590,000 a year to act as the county's economic development department. It puts together incentive packages to retain and attract companies as well as administering small-business loans and operating a new-business incubator.

President David Main said he looks forward to getting feedback from the study.

E-mail candrews@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
He was too good to be true
Alert gambler ended the hunt
Critics: Mentally ill shouldn't have gun
Soldier's family stoically bore burdens
Road work affects 10 spots
Women's heart risk higher
State gives Mason 34 acres

IN THE TRISTATE
Batavia's levy victory called model for schools
Two indicted in child-related incidents
Lost people, lost jobs spur business study
Driver guilty of dog distractions
Empire fiasco's principal sues city
Frailey looks at costs and returns
Franklin wants community groups to save activities
Popular bar faces crowding charge
55 school districts to take part in job fair
Luken pushes tax breaks for LabOne
Residents could owe city taxes
Packages keep coming
Sewers inadequate for proposed houses
Pool hours, parks funds cut by Mount Healthy
Neighbors briefs
More fixes for charitable gaming statutes
Oxford argues who can write tickets
Robotics used in prostate surgery
'Forum' and 'Birdie' among musical choices
Public safety briefs
News briefs

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Bronson: Whose idea was it to hire these people?
Crowley: Surprisingly, redrawn district gives Democrat the advantage
Good Things Happening

LIVES REMEMBERED
Francis Williams served the poor

KENTUCKY STORIES
First Baptist ousts its dissidents
Church in pain seeks healing
CovCath gets loud sendoff
House balks at Fletcher plan
TV ex-anchor testifies in soldier's case
Chase leaves wreck trail
Teen center opens today