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By WILLIAM LANEY, Managing Editor, Wapakoneta Daily News
For the second consecutive year, the city of Wapakoneta earned top 20 status in Site Selection magazine's ranking of micropolitans, helping Ohio win the Governor's Cup as the state beat out Texas.
The national magazine ranked Wapakoneta tied for 17th with six other cities for business and manufacturing site selection. The rankings are based on increases in square footage, employment and capital investments by companies.
"I think it is like anything when you achieve something twice is it validates the fact this is a community that is a good place to do business," Wapakoneta Area Economic Development Council (WAEDC) Executive Director Greg Myers said after he made the announcement during Tuesday's WAEDC meeting. "It reinforces that what happened as far as our placing 10th last year that it was not just an isolated incident - it shows we have continued to grow."
The other cities ranked with Wapakoneta at No. 17 are Albertville, Ala., Blytheville, Ark, Lumberton, Mount Alry and Roanoke Rapids, N.C. and Findlay. Myers credited existing businesses for Wapakoneta ranking in the top 20, noting the city met the criteria based on "businesses and manufacturing operations which are here now that continue to grow and expand."
"It is their success that allows Wapakoneta to retain such a high position in the rankings," Myers said.
The state of Ohio placed 20 cities on the list of micropolitans, or cities with less than 50,000 people, on their ability to secure new corporate facilities and to retain expanding existing corporate facilities including Wooster (2), Sidney (12), Greenville, Fremont, Norwalk and Zanesville (24). Area cities include Tiffin and Defiance at 60th.
North Carolina placed second with 12 cities on the micropolitan list.
In the past two years, Ohio moved from No. 3 past Michigan in 2005 and now to the top spot in 2006. Site Selection magazine prints their rankings on the previous years statistics in March.
Ohio last won the Governor's Cup in 2003, relinquishing the cup to Texas in 2004 and 2005. Ohio won the cup three consecutive years starting in 1993.
Business executives quoted in the magazine's March article credited Ohio's surge to changes in tangible personal property taxes and a decrease in the income tax rate. The state instituted a CAT, or commercial activity tax, in 2005.
During Tuesday's meeting, Myers displayed a trophy for 2005 in the middle of the table in the conference room.
He said he is glad to be able to add a second trophy with the city's name engraved on a placard adhered to the front of the trophy.
"I think the high ranking just reinforces the fact Wapakoneta is a good place to do business and it is a good place to grow and succeed in business," Myers said. "When you have something like this national ranking, it allows us to point to something to substantiate those claims - rather than just saying it is so, we can actually point to the list and say for two years in a row we ranked in the top 20 micropolitans in the United States in terms of business expansion."