An effort to increase Dublin's appeal internationally has increased one economic development budget item nearly twofold.
During Dublin City Council's second 2013 budget workshop Nov. 14, council members heard about the economic development department's plans for the coming year as well as a recent trip to Japan.
A request from the department for meeting expenses increased from $27,000 in the 2012 budget to $50,000 for 2013.
According to details from the department, the money would provide "funding for group meetings sponsored by the city and includes funding for one international mission with Columbus 2020."
Dana McDaniel, Dublin's deputy city manager and economic development director, said he recently returned from a trip to Japan with Columbus 2020, a group that is working to market the central Ohio area nationally and internationally.
"We did some engagement there," McDaniel said of the trip that included stops at 24 different companies.
According to McDaniel, one-third of the companies the group visited already had businesses in central Ohio, one-third were considering expanding to central Ohio and the rest were not considering central Ohio for the future, "but now they are considering it."
The trip was part retention and part recruiting mission, he said.
Council member Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher applauded the effort and said the city has to be strategic about the international locales visited.
"It lets other companies know about our interest," she said, noting that people from outside the country may think suburban cities are only interested in their own communities.
McDaniel said the trip promoted the entire region, but it did allow him a chance to make connections and gain information. Columbus 2020 also has connections throughout the world and consultants who work in Japan, China and other countries, he said.
The economic development department also plans to start a new program in 2013 that creates social engagements for Dublin businesses on a neighborhood basis, McDaniel said. The city will host meetings that will work as social networking opportunities.
"It's kind of like what you do with a neighborhood association," he said, adding that money for the new program is included in the proposed budget.
Other new additions to the 2013 budget include funding for the addition of a right-turn lane from Riverside Drive to Hard Road.
Staff also proposed a $30,000 project that will put public art in neighborhood parks for temporary display.
Senior Project Manager Sara Ott said the program could increase public education of art and put artwork in about six parks for nine to 12 months.
A stone artist was also requested for $20,000 in the proposed budget. Ott said the city would like to employ a stone artist to make a planned bridge in the southern area of Coffman Park over Indian Run more ornamental.
Council members are expected to vote on the 2013 budget Dec. 10.