Sunday, May 27, 2018
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Regional approach is best, local officials told

A regional approach to economic development is the best way to accomplish projects that will benefit a large area, but getting the support of a majority in the region is always difficult, the man who helped oversee the development of Fifth Third Field said yesterday in Toledo.

Boundaries and territories mean a lot to elected government officials.

``But to business leaders, boundaries don't mean much,'' said Tom Chema, president of Gateway Consulting Group of Cleveland, who spoke at a meeting of the Northern Ohio Area Chambers of Commerce.

If business leaders want regional projects to become reality, they must find ways to get public sector officials behind projects that may not have any direct benefit to their locale but enhances their region, he said.

``You have to eliminate parochialism,'' Mr. Chema said, even suggesting that officials should think of Detroit Metropolitan Airport as a regional asset, serving northwest Ohio as well as southeast Michigan.

Mr. Chema spoke at the Hen's Roost in Fifth Third Field, a structure he called a ``quintessential regional development'' project.

``This was really a very important project for the rejuvenation of downtown Toledo,'' he said.

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