LIMA — A national publication dedicated to site selection and economic development ranked the Lima Metropolitan Statistical Area, which consists of the city of Lima and Allen County, as the top statistical area in Ohio for doing business and the 33rd highest area in the nation.
Area Development magazine compiled the list ranking 394 metropolitan statistical areas based on four central factors: “Prime Workforce, Economic Strength, Year-Over-Year Growth and Five-Year Growth,” according to the publication. Lima was strongest in five-year growth indicators, ranking 13th nationally, while also ranking 26th in year-over-year growth and 30th in economic strength. The weakest point for the Lima area was prime workforce indicators, with the magazine ranking the area 119th nationally.
For Allen Economic Development Group CEO Jeff Sprague, this ranking is proof that the work being done to help make Allen County more attractive to businesses is being noticed in wider economic development circles.
“It really helps to magnify the fact that we’re a community that’s growing and that has a lot of great job opportunities,” he said. “When you match us up with other communities across the United States, and this publication does that, we rise up pretty quickly.”
Sprague attributes that rise to the strength of Lima’s industrial sectors, which includes more than just manufacturing, he said.
“You look at health care, our educational institutions in the area and our retail, we have a very diverse business ecosystem, and that plays to our strengths, as well,” he said.
One prime example of the business community buying into the potential of the Lima area is the recent decision by Procter & Gamble to expand its plant in Bath Township, which will result in 51 new jobs at the facility.
“Companies are reinvesting in our community,” he said. “At the end it was down to Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and they chose Lima.”
Lima Community Development Director Amy Sackman Odum was also pleased with the report and said it can help serve as a tool for encouraging future development in the city.
“When the Lima area receives positive recognition, it is good for economic development and community imaging,” she said. “The reinvestment by nationally ranked businesses in the Lima area really indicates their faith in our local economy and workforce.”
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.