Fast Growing Medina County - November 11, 2004

Brunswick Sun Times

Sue Bielawski, Staff Writer

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Medina County does not have a college or university campus with its geographical boundaries, although contiguous counties do.

The fastest growing county in Ohio needs a university, according to George Piadas, chairman of the Medina County University Task Force, who spoke at the Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce recently.

“We need an affordable, easily accessible, state-of-the-art facility,” Paidas said.

County residents have limited access to higher education at a time when a skilled workforce is a major concern to Medina County companies. The way to grow economically is to develop the educational system, the 35 members of the task force believe. They are working in partnership with the University of Akron.

“Knowledge is the only commodity with larger and larger return on investment,” said Paidas, a senior executive vice president at FirstMerit Corporation.

The task force says Ohio lost more people in its core work force, people ages 20-54, than any other state from 1990 to 2000. During those 10 years, Northeast Ohio forfeited $2.3 billion in state and local taxes and $35 billion in personal income taxes due to loss of population.

There is no local levy attached to this development. The money is already coming in from the government, $1.17 million from corporations, individuals and foundations including $500,000 from Westfield Companies.

The federal government is supporting it with $2.3 million. The state is giving it more than $1 million for the university center and $1 million for the Business Technology Park under the governor’s Third Frontier Initiative. A $250,000 Community Development Block Grant has been awarded for site infrastructure.

According to the University of Akron study, college graduates will pay back $1.84 for every dollar the state spent for their college education.

All 28 local political subdivisions in Medina County have provided letters of support. Zoning proposals are currently before the Lafayette Township trustees.

Groundbreaking for the technology park may start this fall. The groundbreaking for the university center is set for 2005. The Medina County University Center may open in 2006.

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Medina County University Center
6300 Technology Lane, Medina, OH 44256
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