BRUNSWICK, Ohio —- The city’s most recent economic development report from Community and Economic Development Director Grant Aungst had a mixed, but largely positive tone.
“We are continuing to work with all of our businesses and are focusing on meeting with all of our manufacturing companies,” Aungst said of the city’s efforts as companies begin to reopen in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak this spring. “That is an industry where business is fluid; meaning it changes on a daily basis.”
In short, he said, some businesses will “continue to go out” while others thrive in a current atmosphere that is challenges for certain types of companies while holding “a lot of opportunities” for others.
Aungst said he is paying particular attention to the auto industry – long a substantial economic driver for the city, both in manufacturing and sales and ancillary automotive related businesses.
Employment numbers overall, in the region and in Brunswick specifically, are seeing improvement, Aungst said. Entrepreneurship, he added, has become a somewhat unexpected byproduct of recent COVID-19 related closures.
“We are seeing a lot of people interested in starting a business,” Aungst said.
Aungst also updated the committee on two new businesses in the city, Song Salon on Manhattan Avenue, and the continued build of a new Chick-fil-A restaurant at Center Road and Brunswick Lake Parkway.
“Nationally, (Chick-fil-A) had stopped all building because of the pandemic,” Aungst said. “They are starting to build the structure in early August.”
Aungst said his department continues to look into offering property assessed clean energy – or PACE – financing to businesses in the city.
PACE is a means of financing energy efficiency upgrades or renewable energy installations in residential, commercial, and industrial properties. In addition to promoting energy efficient projects within a city, PACE financing is less costly to municipalities since project funding comes through private lending or municipal bonds.
PACE programs are also possible as public-private partnerships, with private capital financing projects.
City Councilman Joe Delsanter asked if PACE financing can be used to attract communities, as in a joint economic development agreement. Aungst said that the private funding component of PACE sets it apart from a JEDD type arrangement, but working together with other communities on mutually beneficial projects is possible.
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