FAIRBORN — The year 2018 was even better than the last for economic development in Greene County.
Department of Development Director Paul Newman Jr. highlighted key data and development projects during the 30th Annual Report to the Community April 26.
By the numbers
Residential and commercial construction valuations topped 2017’s total construction valuation by 13 percent — setting a new county record at $534 million.
Residential construction was up over 9 percent, or $17 million, with Beavercreek Township, Sugarcreek Township, and Fairborn leading the way. Beavercreek Township built 125 new single-family homes and has 5 new residential subdivision sections approved, earning them the top spot in the county with residential construction valuation of almost $66 million. This is 58 percent higher than any other municipality.
Commercial construction was up almost 16 percent or $46.1 million, largely due to construction in the City of Beavercreek, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Sugarcreek Township and Fairborn.
According to the Greene County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), lodging revenue was more than $1.2 million in 2018, about a 4 percent increase from the previous year.
Newman said the only key metric down from 2017 was county sales tax. Sales tax collection dropped 1 percent to $26.8 million, since Medicaid providers did not have to pay sales tax in 2018, he said. General property tax collection for 2017 (most recent year for reporting) increased by 1 percent to $38.5 million.
Average annual employment was up again, reaching 60,157. Total wages were another high, reported at $2.7 million. While the average unemployment rate for the U.S. was 4 percent in 2018, Ohio averaged 5 percent and Greene County averaged 4.3 percent.
“Workforce development, attraction, and retention remains an issue, not just for the county, but the nation,” Newman said. “Competition for those skilled workers is fierce. Which is why the county, our regional education institutions, our local economic development organization partners, and JobsOhio are working together to address this issue within the county, the region, and across the state.”
Newman spoke about “new collar” jobs — jobs that are found in information technology, manufacturing and healthcare industries and don’t necessarily require a four-year degree.
“… They often do require other types of vocational training and certifications,” Newman said. “This training is usually completed at community colleges, vocational and technical high schools, and other vocational training programs, as well as occasionally through the company itself. Which is why the Greene County Career Center’s Take Flight initiative is so exciting.”
More development activities
Other development projects in 2018 included the runway extension at the county airport, providing a safety overrun and allowing mid-sized jets to use the airport.
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton VA Medical Center and Springfield Air National Guard Base are also considerably impacting the county through employment, with a combined $16.68 billion dollar economic impact to the region.
The CVB brought events to the county this year — including the Wintergaurd International World Championships (permanently), Air Force Marathon, the Haunted Classic Youth Soccer tournament and Dayton Hamvention.
Communities experienced significant changes over the year as well.
Fairborn: received funding for an extension of Chapelgate Drive; Tudor’s Biscuit World opened; new Menard’s is set to break ground; Dunkin’ is under construction; COhatch is taking over Spark downtown.
Beavercreek: two defense contractors are expanding operations; The Perduco Group and Radiance Technologies Inc. accepted grants for expansion.
Beavercreek Township: completing water and sewer extension to the airport with the county; Super Street project design is complete; Ohio University’s development of Russ Research Park continues, now home to the Universal Technology Corporation’s 3D Innovation Lab and Materials Resources, LLC; the Air Force Autonomy Research Network Consortium (ARCNet) was created.
Xenia: completed YMCA REACH Project; saw developments on Progress Drive including Hampton Inn Hotel and two retail strip buildings; other new businesses include Penn Station, Wright-Patt Credit Union, Devil Wind Brewing, Coffee Hub, Courthouse Coffee, 5 Points Cafe, Barr’s Hometown Pharmacy and Rt. 68 Vintage Toys.
Yellow Springs: Yellow Springs Brewery grew with more than 50 jobs; Cresco Labs LLC completed its 50,000 square-foot facility.
Newman told county officials that over the next 10 years, Greene County is projected to see growth in healthcare and social assistance, educational services, retail trade and professional/scientific/tech services.
“The county’s development strategy will be focused on these growth industries and supporting workforce development,” Newman said. “Efforts will be directed toward creating a diversified economic base, and attracting, developing, and retaining a competitive workforce. Our county has been very successful in attracting residents and visitors because of its wide range of community assets and quality of place. Preserving, enhancing and promoting these community assets is vital to our development initiative as we move forward.”