LIMA — A local contingent seeks a special designation for the Allen County area under an initiative started by President Barack Obama in 2013.
The Allen Economic Development Group, Lima-Allen County Regional Planning Commission, the city of Lima and the Ohio Energy & Advanced Manufacturing Center plan to submit an application by April 14 to be one of a dozen communities to receive special designation by Obama’s “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership.”
The aim of “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” is to help accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and create jobs in cities across the country. It provided funds to conduct more in-depth studies and to develop plans to increase jobs and enhance a more global manufacturing presense within a region.
Allen County Commissioner Cory Noonan expects to submit a letter of support of the local contingency’s efforts in the near future. AEDG Executive Director Jeff Sprague, the county, and a number of businesses and other agencies also are submitting letters of support of the group’s effort.
“They are going to award this designation to 12 communities and if we receive this designation then we will have ‘preferred consideration when it comes to competing for federal dollars from 13 different agencies’ such as the Department of Agriculture, EDA [Economic Development Administration], Energy, Education and others,” Noonan said. “As far as I know right now, it is not a grant but when you apply for federal dollars or grants, which is a competitive process, then these 12 communities with this designation should receive preferential treatment or be expedited through the process.”
Sprague told The Lima News applying for this designation “is a good fit for what Task Force L.I.M.A. and the Lima Automotive Task Force are already doing on behalf of the region in applying for grants to enhance manufacturing and job creation in the area.
Noonan said the commissioners will vote Thursday on approving the letter written by Noonan on their behalf to the consortium as they seek the federal designation.
“Of course, Allen County is the greatest county and the manufacturing that is done here — military vehicles, Proctor & Gamble, Ford — we have a great community, we have a great number of manufacturing jobs so to bring this designation and potentially the assistance that designation may bring as the community goes after grant is a win,” Noonan said. “We want to do everything we can to help job creators to expand and grow jobs here in Allen County and if this designation provides us with additional opportunities to competitively go after grants and processes that other communities are going after than we should do this.”