The Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corp. is working to develop a business-retention strategy as a part of its partnership with the Columbus 2020 initiative and Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce programs.

The Upper Arlington Community Improvement Corp. is working to develop a business-retention strategy as a part of its partnership with the Columbus 2020 initiative and Upper Arlington Area Chamber of Commerce programs.

"We met with Mark James of Columbus 2020, who helped set our agenda and has offered to set up training sessions for us," chamber president Becky Hajost said at the June 16 CIC meeting. "We're looking at a three-pronged approach to our retention planning, and right now trying to do what we can with limited resources, so we wanted to get started on the discovery process."

Volunteers working with the CIC and the chamber will interview business owners identified by the business retention committee, Hajost said, in hopes of understanding what issues should be addressed in a retention program for Upper Arlington.

"We've got volunteers who are willing to go to our list of businesses to learn what makes them happy and what are their complaints," CIC board member Robin Lorms said. "We're going to start the interview process on a voluntary basis to see if we can hear some of what isn't being said, and get a sense of the comfort level of the business owners."

Currently, the CIC has five volunteers who plan to survey 25 businesses in Upper Arlington. Business retention plans at the individual community level are a part of the larger Columbus 2020 regional initiative. Information provided during this survey will be reported to Columbus 2020.

Matt Shad, Upper Arlington economic development director, distributed the latest Columbus 2020 regional report based on current survey responses from 276 businesses and stakeholders throughout the region.

"This document provides us with both a view of the work in progress as well as year-to-date totals that are measurements for our region," Shad said. "As Jobs Ohio progresses, I believe it is clear that regionalism is going to be key to how resources are distributed. As we build this region, we not only have the opportunity to attract business to our small slice but we also have the ability to be the best neighborhood for those people to want to live in."

CIC members also discussed the Lane Avenue study being conducted by AECOM. A workshop meeting was to be held June 21, just after ThisWeek's press deadline, followed by a results presentation at 6:30 p.m.Thursday, June 23 at the Municipal Services Center, 3600 Tremont Road.

"These meetings are for anyone interested in what's happening on Lane Avenue and we are encouraging any interested parties to participate," Shad said.

According to Shad, the meetings will clarify with the community which "semi-vetted" viable options are preferred and will include land use, traffic patterns and parking. Following the results presentation, AECOM will develop a final plan to be presented to the city in July.

Discussion moved to the sale of bonds for the 5-acre land purchase at Kingsdale. City manager Virginia Barney said that the bond sale is moving forward, that the city is in discussions with the Physicians Group about relocating to Kingsdale and that the Raymond James offices are being completed.

"(Upper Arlington's) AAA bond rating was reaffirmed by Moody's, and our notes have received the highest rating. Raymond James should be a multi-million dollar payroll," Shad said, "without any incentivizing by the city."

Barney also reported that a deal for a new freestanding restaurant, to be built in the vacant lot on the Tremont Road side of Kingsdale, would be announced soon.

The next CIC meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m., July 21, in the lower level conference room at the MSC.