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By WILLIAM LANEY, Managing Editor, Wapakoneta Daily News
For the first time, Wapakoneta and Auglaize County broke into the top 10, while Ohio maintained its Governor’s Cup Award with Site Selection magazine.
Wapakoneta and Auglaize County placed 9th in the country for micropolitans on the magazine’s list of leading cities and counties with fewer than 50,000 people for new and expanded facilities in 2008. Ohio, which has captured the title seven times overall, earned the ranking for the third straight year.
“This is the fourth year now that Wapakoneta-Auglaize has been recognized — we were in the top 20 in 2005, 2006 and 2007 — and this is the first year we have broken into the top 10 and we are excited about that,” Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council (WAEDC) Executive Director Greg Myers said Tuesday during a telephone interview. “We think it says something very special about the ability to do business in Auglaize County — our companies have had success and expanded. To be ranked ninth in the United States for micropolitans is really, really good.”
Myers explained that Wapakoneta is listed as the micropolitan because it is the county seat but it refers to Wapakoneta, Auglaize County and the other communities in the county.
Wapakoneta is third in micropolitans in the state finishing behind Wooster at sixth and Ashtabula at seventh.
Dayton, Akron and Toledo swept the top three spots for mid-sized metropolitan areas with a population between 200,000 and 1 million, while Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland ranked fourth, eighth and ninth, respectively, for metropolitan areas with more than 1 million people.
Ohio won the award with 503 projects, outpacing Texas with 497, Michigan with 296, Pennsylvania with 290 and North Carolina with 245.
“This award serves as an important reminder that our commitment to phasing in comprehensive tax reforms, while investing in sustainable sectors of the economy, is positioning Ohio for recovery and long-term economic growth,” Gov. Ted Strickland said Monday in a news release. “But we will not rest for a moment in the midst of this national recession. Our budget continues to prioritize investments in education, health care and job-creating tax relief to encourage capital investment and grow Ohio’s economy.”
The Buckeye State and her cities are featured in the March magazine of Site Selection magazine.
Ohio also won the Governor’s Cup in 1993, 1994, 1995, 2003, 2006 and 2007.
“Businesses continue to discover the benefits of investing in Ohio,” Ohio Department of Development Interim Director Mark Barbash said. “Site Selection’s award of the Governor’s Cup to Ohio for the third consecutive year designates our state as the preferred location for capital investment, where companies find a state of perfect balance between business pursuits and quality of life.”
The news for Wapakoneta comes on the heels of eight inquiries in January and February regarding property in the city or for the Job Ready Sites property through the Ohio Department of Development and the Dayton Development Coalition for development of space to locate an industry or operation.
“This allows us when we are talking to prospective clients that quantifies the ease of doing business and the success of doing business in Auglaize County,” Myers said, “because we ranked ninth in the nation in terms of small communities in beings able to do that.”