FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – BELPRE, OHIO – March 23, 2021
City of Belpre Reveals Economic Development Strategy – View Full Report Here
New economic development plan will guide economic development activities in the City over the next decade with a focus on enhancing redevelopment efforts, the creation of a community improvement corporation, and establishing the Civitan Joint Recreation District.
After being delayed several months due to the impacts of COVID-19 on the planning process, Mayor Michael Lorentz and Southeastern Ohio Port Authority (SeOPA) Executive Director, Jesse Roush, presented the completed City of Belpre Economic Development Strategy to Belpre City Council on Monday night. The planning process began in October 2019 after City Council unanimously approved a contract with Burton Planning Services (BPS), of Westerville, Ohio, for the completion of an economic development strategy to guide future development in the City. The planning process included a thorough existing conditions assessment, a BPS facilitated economic development exercise, and over 20 stakeholder interviews with key City staff, area business leaders, elected officials, school officials, and others. Both Lorentz and Roush indicated preliminary work was underway on a couple of the strategies outlined in the report and increased public engagement surrounding the plan is on the near horizon.
“Over the past few years, the city has experienced growth unlike anything since Shell Chemical came to town.”, said Mayor Lorentz. “It is so important that we decide as a city, exactly what we want, what we need, and where we want it. Therefore, experts were asked to assist us with defining these opportunities. A short survey for all of Belpre to express their concerns and/or ideas about the plan will soon follow and all community input will be considered before we act on anything major.”
“This plan highlights more than a dozen strategies that range from the fairly simple, to the more complex, all of which will enhance the quality of life and overall economic well-being for the city of Belpre.”, offered SeOPA Executive Director, Jesse Roush. Roush, who also serves as Chairman of the Belpre Chamber’s Economic Development Committee (EDC), referenced the formation of the Belpre Area Community Improvement Corporation as the next significant step for the EDC. “The CIC is being organized to advance, encourage, and support the economic and civic development of Belpre. We’ll be sharing much more about the ‘why and what’ of this process very soon.”
Karen Waller, Executive Director of the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce, had these thoughts to share regarding the release of the plan. “The Chamber’s mission is to assist with the growth and expansion of business in the Belpre, Ohio area. All of our work is passed through that filter and this plan is a huge step towards becoming a city that’s ‘open for business.’ The Economic Development Strategy will help guide Chamber processes now, and into the future. Our membership, staff, and board of directors are committed to creating a quality local climate in which to live, as well as to grow a business.”
Financial support for the creation of the City of Belpre Economic Development Strategy was provided by the City of Belpre, the Belpre Area Community Development Foundation, and the Southeastern Ohio Port Authority, with significant in-kind support provided by the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce.
About Belpre, Ohio
The City of Belpre is located along the Ohio River in Washington County, Ohio. Settled in 1789, Belpre was the second settlement founded in the Northwest Territory after Marietta (1788). The American Community Survey estimates the 2019 population of Belpre to be 6,421.
The Southeastern Ohio Port Authority (SeOPA) is the lead economic development agency in Washington County, Ohio. SeOPA focuses primarily on site and infrastructure development to attract and retain businesses and jobs, along with conduit financing, planning, and advocacy on behalf of the County.
About the BACC
The Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) was founded in 1929. The BACC’s mission is to support and advance business and economic growth by providing educational and networking opportunities that promote cooperative partnerships.
About the BACDF
The Belpre Area Community Development Foundation (BACDF) is a charitable trust for receiving and distributing gifts and bequest for charitable, religious, educational and/or scientific purposes. Their goal is to build a permanent base of funds and utilize the earnings from these funds for the broad needs of their community.
|City of Belpre
Michael L. Lorentz, Mayor
+1 (740) 423-7592
|Southeastern Ohio Port Authority
Jesse Roush, Executive Director
+1 (740) 760-0158