Groundhog Forecasts Prosperous 2013 For Gahanna’s Economy

(GAHANNA, Ohio)- February 3, 2013
In a small Pennsylvania town, Punxatawney Phil forecasted an early spring early yesterday morning and city leaders in the Columbus suburb of Gahanna forecasted continuous economic growth for the east side suburb at the 16th Annual Groundhog Day Economic Forecast Breakfast on Friday.

The breakfast was held at the Creekside Conference and Event Center in Olde Gahanna as Gahanna celebrated its economic success in 2012 and its economic growth for the year ahead.

The City of Gahanna released surveys of the city’s General Fund Revenue from the past year. 62 percent of the city’s funds come from income tax.

For the 2011 year, 35 percent of money was spent on public safety. 16 percent was spent on general government. 15 percent was spent on the city’s Parks & Recreation department. 12 percent was spent on community and economic development, and 11 percent each was spent of public service and transfers, respectively.

In the 2011 tax year, most of the city’s real estate tax dollars went to the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools. 17 percent of real estate tax dollars went to the Mifflin Township Fire Department. 11 percent went to Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health (ADAMH) Services. Seven percent went to Franklin County Children’s Services and Senior Options. Four percent each went to the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Two percent each went to the Franklin County Metro Parks, the Eastland Joint Vocational Schools, and the Franklin County General Fund. The remaining three percent of Gahanna’s real estate tax dollars in the 2011 tax year went back to the City of Gahanna.

In 2012, 29 new businesses and 465 new jobs were added to Gahanna’s economy. Business visits increased by 77 percent, with 920 business visits to Gahanna last year that were conducted by the Department of Development staff. 609 businesses came to economic development events, allowing networking opportunities and the chance for city leaders to get together.

The goal for city leaders in Gahanna, including Gahanna City Council President Stephen Renner is to “Build a Stronger Gahanna”, which was a goal that was previously made by city leaders in 2007 and 2011.

“Building A Stronger Gahanna” has three parts to it, according to Renner. The first is a good, strong community. The second part is good government. The third part is business, mainly celebrating the business community. The Groundhog Day Breakfast focused on that third part, celebrating the business community of Gahanna.

“In 2013, I want people who drive through Gahanna, whether it is along Interstate 270, or along the corridor on Hamilton Road, I want people to know that they are in Gahanna”, was the message given by the City of Gahanna’s Development Director Anthony Jones during his remarks at the end of the breakfast.

Jones’s goal in the closing remarks of the breakfast was to help make Gahanna “more competitive” in the Central Ohio job market. Jones closed out the breakfast by saying “Let’s make 2013 a great year.”

Jones added that the Creekside development with add four new tenants, with the announcements of several possible other new tenants being announced in the coming weeks. Michigan-based Strathmore Development Company purchased Creekside last year.

With the new additions, there will be some changes at Creekside as Mezzo Italian Kitchen will close its Creekside location and be replaced with a new Italian restaurant. Also gone from Creekside is Crazy Goat Coffee, which will be replaced by Three Creeks Coffee Roasters. Both Mezzo and Crazy Goat are owned and operated by Taste Hospitality Group, which is based out of Dublin.

The keynote speaker of the Gahanna Groundhog Day Economic Forecast Breakfast was Dr. Stephen Buser, Professor Emeritus in Economics at The Ohio State University.

Buser began his speech by stating that there is “Good News” in regards to the prospects for the U.S. economy in 2013.

“The (economic) recovery will take hold as more people are hiring,” Buser said. Buser added that the network news does not cover the positive economic news, unless the news comes as a surprise.

Buser believes that there the U.S. economy will continue a modest growth as a whole, with continuing unemployment reduction. Buser believed that the unemployment reduction would be “fairly rapid” as more people enter the U.S. job market.

Buser added two new predictions this year. The first was that there would be a gradual reversal of quantitative easing. The second prediction was that the Fiscal Cliff would continue forward as the debt ceiling continues to rise.

Awards went to three business projects: The Central Ohio Urology Group, The Commons at Clark Hall, and Niagara Bottling LLC.

The Central Ohio Urology Group on Tech Center Drive was the first project developed on the extended portion of the street. 90 new jobs were brought to Gahanna as a result, in addition to the Central Ohio Urology Group having a sustaining business on nearby Morrison Road.

The Commons at Clark Hall, near the corner of Hamilton Road and Granville Street, next to Gahanna Lincoln High School’s Clark Hall, was a project of The Wagenbrenner Development Company with Courtfield Properties. There were four projects that cost a total of $ 8,000,000 on this part of the Hamilton Road corridor.

The Niagara Bottling Company is moving to an existing manufacturing site on Eastgate Parkway this spring. Niagara Bottling Company, based out of Ontario, California, is an industry leader in water bottling and in beverage products, being an innovator in sustainable development. Niagara spent approximately $ 40 million in processing and bottling equipment for their new Gahanna location, which is expected to bring in at least 89 new jobs to Gahanna in 2013.