CIRCLEVILLE— A strategic planning company recently met with local leaders to discuss the future of business development in Pickaway County. The meeting was part of a new strategic plan for Pickaway Progress Partnership (P3) and the organizations it supports.

Janet Ady, president of Ady Advantage, toured the county and talked with local leaders about the community’s strengths and weaknesses. Ady said her initial impression is that the area is made of people who are invested in its future.

“The people care about each other and they care about where the county is going,” she said. “You don’t see that everywhere. The word that keeps coming up is, caring.”

Among those Ady met with were business leaders, government officials, and those involved in business recruitment, including P3 and its board, officials from The City of Circleville, members from Berger Health System, Sofidel, The Downtown Business Association, Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce, leaders from education, the four local school districts, and from several of the villages in Pickaway County.

Ady said she found that the people are willing to come together to solve problems for the betterment of the entire community.

“I see a number of township trustees who come together and know each other, and, as I understand it, voluntarily come together and meet regularly,” she said. “Tourism, P3 and the chamber come together frequently. There’s a lot of overlap and, consistent with that, engagement with the community. There are a lot of people who serve on multiple boards and care about the community and the future. You don’t invest that time unless you care, and I think it has made an impact.

“I picked up the intent that, ‘yeah we’re growing, but we’re going to make good choices and move forward,’ she said.

Ady said there were some surprises along the way.

“I think people really understood regionalism, in that, being near Columbus but not being Columbus is really good,” she said. “If it’s good for Columbus, it’s really good for Pickaway County. It trickles down to, if there’s a problem not here locally, it’s still good. You see it exhibited in other ways, too, such as sharing in emergency services. It’s that same thing in the economic development area. That was a positive surprise I didn’t expect.”

Ady said she was surprised at the amount of success Pickaway County has had in attracting businesses

“You guys are players,” she said. “There has been a lot of work, and I did not expect that. I expected that, like a lot of other rural communities, it would have been more of a flatfooted start, but this is already in motion.”

Ady agreed that it’s high time to take a look at where the county wants to take development in the future.

“I think there is an appetite and an interest in engagement,” she said. “I was surprised at the number and breadth of people who chose to take time to meet. I know we appreciated all their involvement and appreciation. It’s remarkable”

The event concluded with a stakeholder session that featured a cross-section of the community. They exchanged information and received feedback on what people thought the future of development in Pickaway County should look like, as well as the county’s strength’s and weaknesses in luring new development.

Ady said the next step is to summarize her findings and hold a future work session on vision and goals.

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