Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs has provided a full Economic Development Strategic plan to the City of Belpre.
This project is the result of a joint effort initiated by the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee and the City of Belpre to provide a “road map” for the future of economic development in Belpre and surrounding areas.
The Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce requested that the Voinovich School study the Belpre area and produce a strategic plan for their economic future. The work began in November 2016 and has been in process for the past seven months. Demographic data, economic data, and population trends are among the many sources of information reviewed by the Voinovich School as it studied the Belpre area. Faculty, staff and graduate students comprised the Voinovich School team who completed the project. As the study progressed, the team conducted visits to the area, numerous individual interviews with local businesses leaders and residents, and meetings with Chamber of Commerce representatives and City of Belpre officials.
A town hall meeting in late March 2017 drew nearly 80 concerned citizens to the Belpre City Hall for a gathering where the attendees heard representatives from the Voinovich School discuss the progress of the study. That meeting resulted in input from the attendees indicating the businesses and activities Belpre residents preferred in the Belpre area in the future. The Voinovich School left Belpre that evening with more than 50 recommendations by the town hall attendees. The plan was returned to the community during a Town hall meeting June 22.
Funding for this project was provided by the Appalachian New Economy Partnership and the U.S. Economic Development Administration University Center Rural University Consortium, both programs of the Voinovich School, with no cost to the City of Belpre.
The liaison committee from the City of Belpre and the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce directly involved in this project since its beginning is composed of Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz; Chamber Executive Director Karen Waller; BACC Economic Development Committee Chair Bob Rauch; and, Chamber Board of Directors member Bob McCloy.