Opportunities for all of Ohio
Buckeye State residents may find hope in the wave of technology companies looking to establish themselves here, as Google announces plans to build two more data centers in Columbus and Lancaster.
Those are in addition to the Intel chip factory near New Albany, and the planned Honda/LG Energy Solutions of South Korea battery plant between Columbus and Cincinnati.
It is wonderful news, indeed, but residents of the state’s perimeter counties will note that none of that development is within DeWine’s hoped-for one-hour commute for them.
Facilities such as the data centers in question require a large amount of electricity and high-voltage transmission lines.
There is work to be done for communities to accommodate these kinds of employers. Much of that work can be done with the resources and skills that we, who live in those outlying counties, can provide. But we can’t do it all on our own and need help from the state to make sure opportunities come to us as well.
State lawmakers and officials in those rural, Appalachian and otherwise outlying counties will have to focus on a “Field of Dreams” approach to economic development, and build what is needed to thrive in a 21st century economy in the hope that large employers will come.
Waiting for them to say they want to be here and then figuring out how to build for them isn’t doing the job.