Reynoldsburg's new economic development director said his top priority in his new position will be to reach out to local businesses.

Reynoldsburg's new economic development director said his top priority in his new position will be to reach out to local businesses.

"I want to determine how the city of Reynoldsburg can best support their continued success and growth, while also focusing on the growth of the community and development of new business ventures," Dan Havener said during an interview last week.

"I will be concentrating on building relationships with local and regional development partners to promote the community and further investments in the city."

Havener said he has more than 25 years of experience as a development professional.

He was project manager for Shremschock Architects and Engineers for two years and before that, worked for Bob Evans Farms for 22 years, completing his tenure as director of engineering there in 2009.

A Grove City resident, Havener said he was attracted to the new position because of the development potential he sees in Reynoldsburg.

"Reynoldsburg is a city that maintains a tremendous amount of potential in both development and redevelopment opportunities," he said. "With its proximity to airports, highways and logistic centers, and its natural amenities, parks and rich history, Reynoldsburg is positioned for expansive growth and development."

Havener said specific areas of Reynoldsburg that seem prime for new development are The Shoppes at East Broad, which he said have "both prime Broad Street frontage and internal outparcels to the south that are available" and the Olde Reynoldsburg Historic Commercial District.

There are properties available in the historic district with "great potential for smaller restaurant or commercial retail businesses," he said.

With construction beginning at Brice Road and Livingston Avenue early in 2014 for a roadway improvement project, that area will also be ripe for development and redevelopment, he said.

"The improvements will promote and create an increased level of vehicular and pedestrian safety, and with community investment, will provide the necessary stimulus to foster redevelopment in the area," he said.

Reynoldsburg Mayor Brad McCloud hired Havener as acting economic development director in mid-September, after the position had been vacant for more than two years.

Havener was hired at an annual salary of $70,000, with a benefits package worth about $17,600.

McCloud said the funds for Havener's salary were already in the 2013 city budget.

City Council President Doug Joseph said the mayor may hire interim or acting department heads on a temporary basis, but any permanent appointment would require City Council approval.

Havener said he welcomes the challenges of his new position.

"I look forward to being a contributor of the continued physical and economic growth of the Reynoldsburg community, working with city employees, community members, businesses and local governing bodies and development partners," he said.