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Mayor, business leaders meet with state development officials in Columbus

Photo Credit: Adam Herman
[photo]


PHOTO: Ward 2 Councilman Thomas West listens to a presentation by the Ohio Department of Development during a meeting held in Columbus on July 28, 2009.
Federal stimulus and local projects are focus of discussions

By Adam Herman
Released/Published: Jul 29, 2009

CANTON, Ohio — 

Canton Mayor William Healy traveled to Columbus on Tuesday to lobby for state funding and discuss City projects with top administrators and department officials at the Ohio Department of Development.  Joining him were a number of elected officials, city development staff members, and several representatives from the greater Canton business community.

“Tuesday’s meeting gave all of us the opportunity to sit down and talk with key decision-makers at the state level about projects that are important to the future of Canton,” Mayor Healy said.  “These individuals are gateways to much-need financial assistance, and are critical to the long-term success of our efforts.”

Healy has regularly traveled to the state capital since taking office to lobby for Canton projects.  His efforts thus far have been largely successful, contributing to the city’s receiving more than $40 million in stimulus funds to date.

“This was really an eye-opening experience,” said Ward 2 Councilman Thomas West. “There are so many programs out there that can benefit local projects, and we are only just now beginning to take advantage of them.  I am encouraged by our progress and what we can still achieve.”

Healy said he arranged Tuesday’s meeting to strengthen the city’s overall relationship with state government officials.  He credits the relationships built during his days as a state lawmaker as a large factor in the City’s receiving large amounts of state and federal aid thus far, and wants to ensure that other local elected officials and business leaders can benefit similarly when proposing projects to state administrators.
 
Following the conclusion of the meeting, Ohio Department of Development Interim Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel said she was pleased to see such coordinated interest from a single community.  “I believe this meeting was a first of its kind,” said Patt-McDaniel.  “It's clear to us that this is a team that wants to work together for the interests of its community; their collaboration and proactive approach to their shared priorities will go a long way toward guaranteeing success.”

Meeting attendees discussed a wide variety of topics and programs, ranging from federal stimulus efforts to community development projects to new business incentive programs.  Nearly all conversations focused upon helping the City receive more assistance for development projects, with an emphasis on collaboration with the state agency.

Dennis Saunier, president and C.E.O. of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, said that he appreciated the individual access to top-ranking officials that was possible during the meeting.  “Instead of learning about a program and setting up a meeting at some point in the future, we were able to step out into the hall and have an in-depth conversation with the person who could very well decide the fate of our proposal,” Saunier said.  “That kind of access is what matters most when it comes to receiving government support, and we're glad they gave us that opportunity.

Healy said he hopes the meeting will serve as the opening conversation in a continuing dialog between local leaders and state government officials.

“No one person can be everywhere at once,” Healy said.  “For every person I speak with when I am in Columbus, there are a dozen more that are ready and willing to help us achieve our goals.  By putting them in touch with leaders here at home, we will guarantee Canton benefits from all the resources we have at our disposal.”

A full list of meeting attendees is included below:

From the City of Canton/Stark County
Mayor William Healy
Councilman Thomas West (Ward 2)
Councilman Jim Griffin (Ward 3)
Councilman-elect Joe Cole
Robert Torres, Director of Development
Bruce Williams, Deputy Director of Development
Carmen West, Deputy Director of Development
Dan Moeglin, City Engineer / City Stimulus Coordinator
Scott Henry, City Stimulus Assistant
Adam Herman, Director of Communications
Corey Minor Smith, Director of Compliance
Linda Barnes, Deputy Director – Canton Community Improvement Corporation
Tom Burns, Assistant Law Director
Warren Price, Director of Public Service
Mike Hanke, Stark County Administrator

From the Canton/Stark Co. Business Community
Dennis Saunier, President/C.E.O. – Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce
Steve Katz, Sr. Vice President – Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce
Mike Gill, Director – Canton Development Partnership
Steve Paquette – President, Stark Development Board

From the Ohio Department of Development
Lisa Patt-McDaniel, Interim Director - ODOD
Nikki Jaworski, Interim Chief of Staff - ODOD
Mark Barbash, Chief Economic Development Officer - ODOD
Kimber Perfect, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer - ODOD
William Graves, Director – Community Development Division
William Murdock, Director – Urban Development Division
Trudy Bartley, Federal Stimulus Implementation Coordinator
Leah Anglin-Walsh, Region 9 Economic Development Director (Akron/Canton)
Steve Schoeny, Director – Strategic Business Investment Division
Nadeane Howard, Assistant Director – Strategic Business Investment Division
Deborah Scherer, Director – Global Markets Division
Sue McKitrick, Interim Director – Workforce and Talent Division
Philip Shotwell, Director – Minority Business Affairs Division


Contact Information: Adam Herman - (330) 438-4304 - adam.herman@cantonohio.gov

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