Jim Gartin visits Morenci city council 11.17.2010

Written by David Green.

Lenawee Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) director Jim Gartin is seeing improvements in the county’s business climate, but new hiring isn’t yet showing much increase.

Gartin spoke at Morenci’s Nov. 8 city council meeting to provide an update on LEDC activity and to report on area business conditions.

Through his agency’s Business Retention, Expansion and Attraction program, 65 percent of businesses contacted report an increase in sales, and more than six percent say sales are way up.

“At first, reports were pessimistic,” Gartin said, “but they’re improving. Almost all of the local manufacturing is showing positive trends.”

However, he’s not seeing much increase in hiring. Companies seem to favor overtime rather than new employees.

“They’re doing more with less,” Gartin said.

Unemployment has dropped three points in recent months, he said, and each percentage point represents about 375 jobs.

“We’re really seeing positive trends,” he added.

During visits to county businesses, LEDC personnel are getting a clearer understanding of companies’ core capabilities and of their supply needs. A goal is to try to find local suppliers rather than shipping in materials from other parts of the country.

So far this year, LEDC has been involved in 28 projects that are either existing, growing or new to the area. Four are food related, five are automotive related and eight are tied to alternative energy.

LEDC responded to 18 requests for existing industrial property or vacant land.

Gartin expects additional funding from the state through CDBG grants when the existing money in the LEDC’s revolving loan fund runs out. The fund has $565,000, with at least $770,000 requested.

The LEDC administers brownfield development grants on behalf of Lenawee County for hazardous substances assessment. Two of the three projects addressed are in Morenci.

If the city becomes the owner of the Dunbar Auction House property on North Street, funds will be used to assess contaminants left over from previous uses at the building.

In addition, there’s interest in the renovation of the former Knoblauch Market property on Main Street to create two commercial spaces and second floor apartments.

Gartin said that since April 2009, 217 people have participated in entrepreneurial education workshops, plus an additional 29 who were part of an agriculture development seminar.

The sessions have been attended by people wanting to start new businesses and also by those interested in expanding an existing business.

Workshops have addressed a variety of concerns including writing a business plan, marketing, selling on eBay, accounting/QuickBooks, and retail success. There was also a session by the Adrian College Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies Boot Camp.

Class schedules are listed on the LEDC website (www.onelenawee.org). The website also list vacant industrial sites and information about living in Lenawee County.

LAND SPLIT—Council members voted 5-0 Nov. 8 to approve a parcel division at 101 and 115 E. Chestnut, near the water tower. The action was requested to change the frontage of the two lots.

MISC.—Mayor Keith Pennington said the annual audit report is scheduled at the Nov. 22 meeting. A council committee will continue discussion on Michigan’s new medical marijuana law and how it will affect the community.

  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017