Tiffin, Ohio — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners heard from Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership personnel Thursday morning as the agency presented its annual report. TSEP President and CEO David Zak said he was excited to present the report and he was proud of his team for its hard work in 2020.
“I often say that they inspire me, and I mean it,” he said. “It’s awesome to hear about the community’s progress, and when I hear them speak, I am both encouraged and strengthened in my confidence about the community’s future.”
The commissioners heard updates from Ohio Means Jobs Seneca Business Services Consultant Carol Kern, Downtown Main Street Manager Amy Reinhart, Economic Development Manager Nick Dutro and Rural Development Manager Audrey Flood.
Zak said he recently released the agency’s quarterly report, which includes a list of accomplishments and the community’s biggest announcements in the final three months of 2020. He also said there is a pipeline of more than 150 projects being worked on right now.
Zak said TSEP is launching its first-ever annual Jobs and Investment Survey. He said the organization is reaching out to Seneca County businesses to analyze the state of the economy as businesses deal with the impact of COVID-19. Zak said it was important to note that many businesses had a difficult year. “Some businesses even had to close, and some of our manufacturers have had significant reductions in sales and productions. We heard many of their stories up close and personal when we administered the Tiffin and Seneca CARES programs,” he said.
Even though there were many challenges, Zak still believes there was an astonishing amount of economic development occurring in the community over the past year.
“We were able to track $91 million in new, planned investment and 451 new, to-be-created jobs,” Zak said, adding that almost 200 projects took place in 2020.
Zak also thanked the city of Tiffin, Seneca County and all other involved entities for their partnership on the Tiffin and Seneca CARES small business relief grant programs. The programs helped distribute $1.2 million to more than 100 businesses in Tiffin and rural Seneca County.
Zak said he has high hopes for continued success in 2021. He said TSEP will aim to realize another at least $40 million in new investment and at least 100 new, net jobs. He also said the organization will continue to manage 34 programs and services, while lending help to companies to access 140 more. TSEP’s goals also include solidifying a development partner to construct a new spec building, doubling its outreach and assistance to existing county businesses by connecting with at least 500 of them and developing a new website initiative.
Dutro focused on manufacturing and industrial successes of 2020, Flood discussed community development in Tiffin and rural economic development accomplishments and goals and Reinhart touched on the overall growth of downtown Tiffin, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. Kern discussed several workforce development initiatives and Zak also was sure to thank Heidelberg University student and TSEP intern Sam Buckey for his hard work.
The commissioners thanked TSEP staff for helping to facilitate economic development in the county, even with the negative impact of the ongoing health crisis.
In other action, Michelle Hess, from Court Appoint Special Advocates of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties, gave a brief report. She explained that CASA does important work by advocating for children who are involved in the court system. The organization relies on volunteers and offers about 30 hours of training for those who want to join the program. The next training program for the organization is to occur in April. For more information about CASA, visit its social media page or call (419) 448-1442.
During new business, the board approved:
- A $16,952.50 supplemental appropriation to the Community Development Block Grant allocation for Melmore Park upgrades.
- An $869.54 supplemental appropriation to the Emergency Management Agency Fund for equipment.
- Appointing Arrin Allen to the Developmental Disabilities Board (term expiring Dec. 31, 2025).
- A contract with Mastermind, LLC, on behalf of the Seneca County Engineer.
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