Delaware's 2013 goal: Woo, keep businesses
Delaware City Manager Tom Homan poses for a portrait Thursday, Jan. 3, in council chambers at City Hall. Homan says keeping Delaware's existing businesses happy via capital improvements and other upgrades will help to draw new businesses to town. Buy This Photo
Attracting new businesses and keeping the older ones is a top priority for the city of Delaware in 2013, leaders say.
City Manager Tom Homan said the city is on the rebound economically, and he hopes to see its commercial interests grow in the new year.
He said officials will work to expand Delaware's industrial park and bring new businesses to the Downtown corridor by offering tax incentives and developing current infrastructure, such as the city's fiber optic network.
Projects to increase the quality of life for Delaware residents, such as improvements to recreation facilities and public safety, will keep businesses where they are, Homan said.
"Existing clients are the best clients," he said. "By keeping them happy, not only do they grow, but they help attract other businesses to the area."
In 2012, the city put together a business retention and expansion task force consisting of 40 community volunteers, CEOs and public officials. That group will continue to work on those goals in 2013, Homan said.
Delaware's new Assistant City Manager Dan Whited, formerly the city's economic development coordinator, will continue to focus on attracting new businesses to the area.
Meanwhile, the city plans to open a new fire station on the city's west side at 1320 W. Central Ave. by winter 2013.
"It's more strategically placed on the west side of the city, which is growing pretty rapidly," Whited said. "That will allow us to reduce the amount of time it takes to get to the calls that come in from that area."
This year, the city also will continue to work with Delaware County officials on plans to extend Sawmill Parkway north to Section Line Road in Delaware.
Officials expect the project to be a big economic boon to the city if all goes according to plan, though construction still would be several years away.
Several parks and recreation improvements also are planned for 2013. A new concession and restroom facility, as well as a new bike path, will be constructed at the Houk Road park.
An overhaul of the city's water treatment plan will be completed in 2013. More than $30 million in upgrades were started in 2012 to improve efficiency and water quality to meet new regulations.
Officials also will learn to run a cemetery in 2013. This fall, Delaware took control of Oak Grove Cemetery after the cemetery board dissolved in October due to financial difficulties.
In 2013, the city will work on an operational and staffing plan for the cemetery, which has been independently operated since 1906.
Delaware officials also will look to the future in 2013 by completing a long-term strategic plan -- a major overhaul of the current land-use plan, which was completed in 2003.
"It will be a long-term plan based on an analysis of our strengths and weaknesses," Whited said. "Once you recognize those, you can create an organizational structure to better the city and focus on those things with the biggest return on investment."