The Press launches multipart series on economic development

There are more than 1,000 “brick and mortar” businesses in the four communities served by the paper.

They range from our large employers like Ford, Shurtech, Poly One or The Cleveland Clinic-Avon to small start-ups or retailers that employ just a few. There also are hundreds of businesses being operated from residents’ homes.

The successes and failures of these businesses impact every adult and child living here. Business means jobs. Property and employment taxes paid by those businesses to municipal governments mean street and sewer repair and replacement; leaf and garbage pick up; clean, safe parks with upgraded play equipment for kids; salaries and benefits for police, fire and road crews; as well as programs for those from age 5 to 85.

Our schools also depend on those businesses for their fair share of property taxes to support what are arguably three of the best public school districts in Lorain County.

These businesses improve our quality of life and comfort, whether accessing great health care, enjoying a good meal, or shopping for tools, clothes, a haircut, gifts or gardening supplies. It’s all here and just a short drive away from home.

We collectively wince when we hear about plant and business closings – here or nearby. We know that means someone has lost their job, mortgages might go unpaid, savings accounts for college get pillaged to pay utility and other current bills. City officials cut back on programs, services, staff.

When things are bumping along well, economic development can move to the back burner of our brains. Yet, our recent history reminds us we are just one catastrophe away from a downshift that creates craters in our path. So, we are going to talk about economic development for the next few weeks. Writer Michele Murphy talked with mayors and other municipal officials, business owners and managers, school leaders and folks.

This is not an exhaustive series. Rather, we have attempted to paint a picture of the current state of economic development in each of our four communities, knowing how very different each one is. This week, we begin with Avon Lake.

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