Fairfield County, OH—Central Ohio is poised to grow upwards of 1 million people over the next 30 years.
- While Ohio's population remains stagnant, some communities in the southeast portion of the state are booming
- Lancaster continues to be at the forefront when it comes to attracting millennials and baby boomers to live, work and play
- Despite Lancaster's impressive growth, residential property construction is lagging
Fairfield 33 Development Alliance Director Rick Szabrak says his county has the land and infrastructure to continue that growth.
“Going down 33 to Lancaster, we're starting to see a lot of new home builds start up,” said Szabrak. “We've got some neat developments that are starting to happen in Lancaster. So the whole county along the 33 Corridor continues to grow.”
Despite that fact, Ohio employers across the state continue to have a difficult time finding enough skilled labor to fill the influx of construction jobs.
“It's hard to find people in skilled trades and you talk to construction companies, you talk to HVAC companies, electricians, plumbers, all of these industries are struggling to find people,” said Szabrak. “The demand for construction jobs is so high right now, that anyone can go into it, anyone can make a good living at it, but not enough people are.”
Manufacturing jobs make up about 30% of Fairfield County's economy.
Mid West Fabricating was started in 1945 in Amanda.
The company opened up another location in the Lancaster Industrial Park last year.
At the Amanda plant, they make steel fasteners and formed rods for assembly into automotive, lawn and garden products. In Lancaster the product is finished and packaged.
“We felt that there was opportunity in the coatings marketplace in our region,” said Mid West Fabricating CEO Jennifer Johns Friel. “This facility perfectly fit our needs. It's very close to our Amanda plant. With shipments, having 10 available dock doors for us to ship our product to customers, it made it a perfect opportunity for us.”
Amanda Everitt is the Executive Director of Destination Downtown Lancaster.
She says the city of 40,000 residents is experiencing growth at a rate officials haven’t seen in decades.
The building currently houses a salon, top floor residence, and space for retail and restaurants.
“Brett Hutchinson came in with Mitoff Companies, purchased the building and has sank millions and millions of dollars and now it is the crown jewel of downtown,” said Everitt.
But Fairfield County officials admit, more residential properties are needed, and that remains the obstacle to further growth.
“Our biggest waiting list is for residential. People want to live downtown. We created this wonderful, walk-able community, and now we don't have enough housing for them so they can walk to those great places,” said Everitt.