The first Quarter of 2016 has been a busy one! Here are the highlights:
Movie Theater to Stay Open! OCEDA issued a loan to Luke Burden to expedite the purchase and renovation of Mall Cinema and the Tri-City Drive into his own Cinema 33. Economically, a movie theater provides more than just operational revenue; it gives people another reason to stay in Ohio County and spend more of their disposable income locally. We are happy to partner with Luke and believe he will bring more great things to Ohio County.
Business Incubator - OCEDA is applying for another USDA Rural Business Development Grant (like we received last year to help capitalize our Revolving Loan Fund) to help create a business incubator / co-work space. A business incubator is a place where beginning entrepreneurs can come and learn principles of entrepreneurship, receive training, and share ideas and best practices with one another. A co-work space is a cheap alternative to typical brick and mortar office leasing, allowing someone who performs their work remotely to have a dedicated office or cubicle, and share the office amenities with the rest of the occupants. More and more jobs are able to be done remotely by computer, so we want to be able to facilitate employment opportunities beyond our geographical labor market area.
Career Center - We are continuing to address the lack of federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funding coming to our Career Center. It is important for you to know that OCEDA found that our and Hancock County's Career Centers are the only two in the state that are funded with county dollars. The rest are funded and staffed with federal partners. We have met quite a bit of resistance in our effort to bring Ohio County into the fold, but will continue the fight. Doing so will take the Career Center budget off the county books and hopefully provide a higher level of service to our job-seekers and employers.
Trail Town Task Force - OCEDA is assisting the Ohio County Trail Town Task Force in finding funding to increase the accessibility in and out of the Rough River for canoe/kayak purposes. The most important factor in becoming a Trail Town is connecting a trail to a town to increase both's attractiveness to outdoor recreational tourists. We feel that once we have an easily accessible 6-7 mile stretch of Rough River, we will have a strong case to make to the state's Adventure Tourism Department.
Internet Access - We share your concerns over the lack of sufficiency provided by the ConnectGRADD network. QWireless, the private contractor who operates the ConnectGRADD network, made a presentation to the ConnectGRADD Board indicating that they were going to start providing satellite internet through Exede. We are unsure yet as to what benefit that will be to the consumer over contracting directly with Exede, but we will continue to update you as we know more. We are currently looking into the possibility of applying for a POWER Initiative grant to upgrade the equipment on our towers.
The Small Business Training Seminar that was held on February 18th at the Ohio County Public Library Annex was a success with several entrepreneurs attending. We would like to thank GRADD, Owensboro Small Business Development Center, Kentucky Innovation Network and the Ohio County Public Library for their help with offering this training to our community. If you missed it another one will be held later this year.