After several final policy statements were approved last week, the new Regional Port Authority of Northwest Ohio is ready to tackle economic development projects in Defiance, Fulton, Henry, and Paulding counties, according to Timothy Small, chair of the organization’s board of directors.
“The Port Authority will be a significant tool for development in our area,” Small said. “The Port Authority is an independent unit of government which can own, lease, and finance land, building and equipment for credit-worthy companies, nonprofits and governmental units. It gives us local control and local focus over a valuable asset for our area.”
Each of the four counties contributed $10,000 in start-up funds.
An article in the Toledo Blade in July stated the group’s top goal is to work with businesses interested in locating along the newly widened U.S. 24, a highway connecting Toledo and Fort Wayne, Ind. The road passes through three of the member counties but not Fulton County.
Executive director Jerry Arkebauer also spoke of serving the existing businesses in the four counties as a priority of the organization.
Now that the Port Authority is in full operation, Arkebauer expects to begin a marketing program throughout the four counties to explain the Port Authority and what it can do to help businesses, non-profits and governments.
A port authority can, by law, “enhance, foster, aid, provide or promote transportation, economic development, housing, recreation, educational, governmental operations, culture, or research” within its jurisdiction.
The Port Authority Board expects to meet quarterly, with additional meetings to be scheduled if a project is developed which would require Board action. The next meeting will be Dec. 16.