PREBLE COUNTY — Economic Development Director Brenda Latanza and Preble County Development Partnership Chair Walt Hibner attended the Preble County Commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, May 24, for the quarterly update on economic development.
Latanza shared that each of the PCDP’s committees have revisited their goals and are working on meeting them. As the partnership continues to work on expanding, several projects are in the works.
One such project is the Preble Roots program and logo. The new program will benefit Preble County producers in marketing their products. Products that are 60 percent raised, grown, or produced in Preble County will be eligible for Preble Roots. These products can include food, fiber, artwork and more. The logo will be used to identify these products.
Lantaza explained, “The community can purchase the use of that logo and what that says is that 60 percent of your products are grown or produced in this county.”
The partnership is also in the process of creating a Preble County Farm Products Directory for the Preble Roots participants, which will be partially funded by a Farm Bureau Foundation grant, which the PCDP applied for and received. The Farm Bureau, PCDP and PC Convention and Visitors’ Bureau are partnering to complete the project.
According to Latanza, another huge upcoming project is the Preble County hotel that is in talks.
“The hotel committee has resurfaced,” she said. “We’ve had people ask how that is going and we thought to reconvene. We received four requests for the feasibility study for the hotel in Preble County. We also received approval at our board meeting yesterday to fund that study up to $9,000. It was pretty much an overall feeling in the room among the investors that this is something the investors should fund. They are the ones who absolutely need this hotel. This person is going to go talk to the people like the fair manager and the businesses to see what size of a hotel is needed.”
Commissioner Denise Robertson asked Latanza if she would reach out to hotel chains, but Latanza noted they already had their eyes set on Cobblestone. “What they do is they come into rural communities,” she explained, “so it wouldn’t be like a huge Holiday Inn Express. Cobblestone specializes in working with rural communities and making sure they meet everyone needs in making a hotel that is going to fit that community.”
If the investors do not like Cobblestone, Latanza said they would look at other hotel possibilities.
The PCDP was selected earlier this year as the Oho Workplace Success Award recipient from among all of the Ohio applicants in the employer category for the 2016-2017 ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign. According to Latanza, the Ohio ACT Council was impressed with the work that is being done to support economic development in Preble County and the partnership was named a state employer exemplar.
For this recognition, the partnership received a banner and certificate and moved forward in the consideration process for national recognition. The PCDP has been selected as one of four national semifinalists in the employer category.
The national exemplars, along with all state exemplars and semifinalists, will be honored at an ACT even in October 2017.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH