Mayor Mike Ebert has chosen Reynoldsburg development director Lucas Haire to be Canal Winchester's new development director, effective Aug. 1.

Mayor Mike Ebert has chosen Reynoldsburg development director Lucas Haire to be Canal Winchester's new development director, effective Aug. 1.

Haire succeeds Chris Strayer, who stepped down in June to take a position with the Ohio Department of Development.

"The development director helps the village increase its economic health by recruiting businesses to join the community," said finance director Nanisa Osborn. "Economic health is highly important to Canal Winchester."

Strayer had been at Canal Winchester for four years, with his most recent salary at $65,000 annually. Haire's salary will be between $61,150 and $70,000.

Osborn said the city expects an economic upswing, following a difficult period nationally.

"The last three years have been very difficult economically in Canal Winchester, and the state of Ohio and the nation," she said. "I would expect the next three years will show us a cleaner, clearer picture where hopefully, the recession abates and growth moves forward again.

"Canal Winchester will continue to look to add new businesses and, we hope, some new manufacturing, to provide jobs to the community."

Ebert said the primary focus of development will be industrial employers.

"Our focus will be on the Canal Pointe industrial park off Diley Road," Ebert said. "Retail and restaurants will be secondary. If we can get 150 people in one building versus 10 in a retail establishment, that is more revenue for the city and less tax burden on the residents.

"We'll always think about residents needs for retail, but the main focus will be the industrial park."