By KRISTINA THOMAS
Published: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 6:19 PM EST
Delaware leaders are putting more effort into marketing the city and making it attractive for new business.
Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer of Columbus 2020!, presented information to Delaware City Council during its meeting Monday, Jan. 24 about how Delaware can improve its economic development strategy.
"The goal of Columbus 2020! is to raise public and private funds in order to attract, create and retain businesses in the Columbus area, and specifically Delaware," McDonald said.
McDonald said the organization is a public-private partnership with the goal to grow the Columbus-area economy.
According to the Columbus 2020! website, its specific goals for the organization are to create 180,000 net new jobs, increase personal income by 40 percent, and be recognized as a national leader in economic development.
"We want to double the jobs here," McDonald said. "We want Delaware to be a place where businesses want to come."
One of the ways Columbus 2020! works toward its goals is by providing marketable information about the Columbus region to businesses around the country and world, in order to show them what Central Ohio has to offer.
Councilwoman Carolyn Riggle asked how the group specifically would market to Delaware, as opposed to the Columbus area in general.
McDonald said the companies each have specific aspects they are looking at, such as work force, location and proximity to an airport. The specific things companies want will narrow down the options, he said.
"We provide them all the information they need about this community. It will be up to them to decide to come here," McDonald said.
Councilwoman Lisa Keller asked how Delaware can better prepare itself to attract new businesses.
"Find your niche markets and take advantage of them by promoting them," said Shannon Hammonds, Delaware's economic development coordinator.
Hammonds said he currently is working on brochures and information for the website to make what Delaware has to offer more readily available.
Keller mentioned Westerville has an impressive website that lists all the available property.
Hammonds said when he worked for the city of Westerville, he designed and created all the material she saw. He is working on doing the same for Delaware, he said.
Vice Mayor Windell Wheeler said part of Columbus 2020! is TechColumbus, and he encouraged his fellow council members to sit in on one of its meetings.
"Delaware has been unsuccessful in some areas due to technology infrastructure," Wheeler said. "TechColumbus shows us exactly what is happening in our community and what we can do to be successful."