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County’s economic health declared sound

January 25th, 2014

News Coverage:

County’s economic health declared sound

Posted: Saturday, January 25, 2014 12:00 am

BY BOB BUTTGEN

bbuttgen@kpcmedia.com

CROMWELL — The economic status of Noble County was given a clean bill of health during a summit of regional leaders who gathered Thursday in Cromwell.

The Noble County Economic Development Corp. hosted its annual meeting at the Cromwell library. The group invited in a coalition of local and regional leaders to hear reports on progress made in 2013, as well as assess the well-being of the county’s economy and outlook for 2014 and beyond.

The checkup shows significant improvement was made in 2013 on economic development issues in Noble County.

That was the report from John Sampson, executive director of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership and one of the presenters to the audience of about 70 leaders.

“We’re seeing great deal of progress made, not only in Noble County but across northeast Indiana,” Sampson said. “We’ve been able to demonstrate that our per capita income has gone up.”

A lot of the credit for the improvement reported at the meeting goes to partnerships that have been in place for several years that continue to pay off.

“The way the region is working together — across county borders — allows us to make significant improvements all across the board,” Sampson said.

One of the newer partnerships that helps break down geographical barriers to progress is the LEDO Council. It’s an association of 10 economic development professionals from across northeast Indiana. Noble County’s Rick Sherck, executive director of the county’s economic development corporation, is a member of the council.

“Rick Sherck has been instrumental in the council’s success,” Sampson said. “The council has helped renew a sense of trust and collaboration in economic development throughout the region.”

Sampson, Sherck and others had numbers to back up their prognosis. They’ve been monitoring the progress made by Noble and other counties in the past year.

“Northeast Indiana has grown faster than the state and the entire nation in per capita income, overall,” Sampson said.

He tempered his praise with a slight warning. “The thing we have to watch out for is complacency. We have to stay committed to this in the long term. We cannot stand still.”

Noble County EDC President Bob Marshall gave a summary of the progress made in Noble County in 2013. He pointed out that the economic development corporation spent $217,466 in the county last year.

The organization monitored capital investments made in the industrial sector and reported that industries in Noble County committed to adding $33.5 million of new real or personal property.

The county saw a net increase of 307 new jobs in 2013 and a loss of only 10 jobs, according to figures released Thursday.

The average hourly wage for new jobs created or pledged in Noble County last year was $17.93, Marshall reported.

The number of industry-occupied square feet in buildings across the county rose in 2013 to 10.1 million, up from 9.9 million in 2012.

A number of other regional partners were represented at the annual meeting, along with a host of mayors and council members from throughout Noble County.