Provided by Marc Saluk of the Darke County Economic Development Office, via DarkeJournal.
The Union City community on both sides of the state line has jointly backed Darke County as three different community entities have thrown their support behind development efforts. Union City, IN (UCI), Union City, OH (UCO), and the Union City Community Economic Development Committee (UCCEDC) have all jointly pledged to support Darke County’s Partnering for Progress (P4P) initiative, the collaborative public/private development effort on the Ohio side that supports business and job growth.
“Regardless of that state-line, we are one community,” said UCI Mayor Bryan Conklin. “Supporting Darke County’s development efforts makes perfect sense for us. As they work to assist UCO, they will be aiding Indiana’s efforts in the process.”
Conklin’s belief that the two communities and two counties are culturally and economically linked is shared by the entire membership of the UCCEDC, an organization that was formed in an effort to have one entity attempt to address the needs of the business community in Union City, regardless of what side of the state-line a business may reside.
“The committee is a diverse group that is representative of business and civic leaders from both counties,” explained UCCEDC President Rob Lykins. “We will continue to work to assist job creation, educational opportunities, and the branding of the Union City area as a great place to conduct business.”
According to UCO Village Administrator Bill Bruggeman, other examples of cooperation between the Union City communities include sharing of vehicle fuel expenses, the holding of joint UCO-UCI city council meetings, and the annual spring clean-up day for the entire community.
“So although we are two states, we remain one community working together for the best of Union City, Ohio and Union City Indiana. With both sides working together, along with both Randolph and Darke Counties, the joining of P4P as one unit will help make us much stronger in many areas, especially economic development,” commented Bruggeman.
Monte Poling also commented about the Brownfield Coalition Grant. "This Brownfield grant will be of great value to our region. The grant assists our Ohio/indiana coalition in clearing and marketing business and industrial sites in Randolph and Darke counties. I'm excited about future projects our regional coalition may develop."
Darke County leaders say that the cooperative example set by the Union City community, as well as the regional approach to development, is the cornerstone of the P4P effort. The initiative, now in its fourth year, is comprised of about 70 partners from around the county and surrounding area. According to the Darke County Economic Development Office, the joint effort has so far leveraged many new tools for local development efforts, approximately $20 million in state and federal funding for business projects, and played a large role in creating or retaining 657 jobs. Aside from Union City and the many business and community entities that back P4P, the Darke County communities of Greenville, Ansonia, Versailles, and Arcanum are also Partnering for Progress contributors.
According to Darke County Economic Development Director Marc Saluk, P4P has steadily increased it’s presence in the UCO community through business visits with the UCO administration, presentations to the UCO council and the CIC, and through the support of a number of activities and functions.
“It’s great to have Union City, Ohio as part of the Partnering for Progress team and it’s been productive to work with the development group in that community. But it’s an even greater boost to our efforts that Indiana saw fit to join our efforts. The fates of the two towns and of Randolph and Darke County are linked. Recognition of this fact by all of us is necessary for continued growth,” commented Saluk.