Economic Report Card Shows Shale Development is Helping Mahoning Valley Get Straight A’s
This past week the Youngstown – Warren Chamber of Commerce released their 2012 Economic Development Report Card for 2011. The card shows it was a good year for the Youngstown – Warren area with over $1.1 billion in investments from private companies and public entities.
That level of investment was possible through the cooperative efforts of economic development agencies, project funders, state and federal departments and local governments and was, in no small part, supported by Utica Shale development.
According to the report, in 2011 the Youngstown – Warren regional area accomplished 104 projects, creating 1,552 jobs and retaining 1,166 jobs. Those numbers were driven by 20 startup companies, 74 retained or expanded companies and 10 mewly attracted companies.
In addition to the investment by these businesses the region also saw $42.2 million invested in transportation and infrastructure development. Those millions financed 52 projects in the valley. Not only did those dollars pay to maintain roads, bridges and other transportation needs it also improved the quality of life for the region by investing $7.5 million in bike and walkway areas expanding this resource by 18%.
2011 also saw a lot of new construction in the area which is good news for long beleaguered section of the national and local economy. Last year the Youngstown-Warren region saw a staggering $500 million go towards construction projects in the region. There was also a 14% increase in residential construction showing that folks are returning to Youngstown in significant numbers.
This hasn’t been the case in Youngstown for a while and its clear that oil and natural gas development in the Buckeye State had a large influence on these investments.
Economic development agencies in the area worked hard to capitalize on new industries like oil and natural gas development in achieving these numbers and the successes they represent. These agencies include CASTLO, Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation, Youngstown – Warren Chamber of Commerce, Western Reserve Port Authority, SCORE and the Business Resource Network. The cities of Youngstown and Warren also provided support to achieve these investments.
These investments represent a return to glory. This area, once a manufacturing hub, is seeing a resurgence thanks, in part, to Utica Shale development. People are coming back, lights are being turned on in old store fronts and factories are once again humming with activity.