On a 2-1 vote, Springfield Township trustees have named administrator Leslie Kohli to the Lucas County Improvement Corp. board of directors for 2011.
Voting in favor were trustees Andy Glenn and Bob Bethel voted in favor. Marylin Yoder, who had represented the township on the LCIC board, voted no. The LCIC is the county's economic development agency.
Before the vote last week, Ford Weber, the LCIC's president and chief executive officer, told trustees that although the area had not done a stellar job with economic development over the years, steps have been taken to change that.
Mr. Weber said when he came on board a year ago, he reviewed who does what in economic development circles, such as the Regional Growth Partnership, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, and chambers of commerce. He said later that the LCIC works closely with those entities and others in the county to promote economic development.
Last August the LCIC started to call on county businesses, asking what the agency could do for them and what keeps them up at night, he told township officials.
Mr. Weber said that so far, more than 100 businesses have been contacted, with the goal by the time next year to have called on 600 businesses by this time next year.
Businesses want access to capital, and availability of capital is still tight, he told the trustees. LCIC's focus is to link opportunities with resources, he said. Among key strategic initiatives is a business roundtable in November.
About 20 business leaders meet bimonthly for 90 minutes, during which they network, hear a presentation on a topic of their choice, and tour a participant's facility. During the session, participants can talk peer to peer, Mr. Weber said.
Business leaders get a chance to share ideas, observe best practices, and develop business relationships, and can be a business community sounding board for policy or program initiatives.
The LCIC helps retain, attract, and grow businesses and aligns work force development with career opportunities. The LCIC facilitates the redevelopment of brownfields too, and the agency is looking at brownfield sites in central Toledo and Spencer Township, Mr. Weber said.
After his presentation, trustees reaffirmed the LCIC as the township's lead economic development agency and named the administrator to the LCIC board. Mr. Bethel said the choice is a wise move because Ms. Kohli, whose community involvement includes serving as chairman of the Holland/Springfield Chamber of Commerce's government liaison committee, is available at the township office during the work week.