BR&E Program focuses on Lake Erie Marina Industry

LE Marina BRE Report

Click on the image above to view the final report.

Attraction of new businesses is a highly visible activity in most community economic development programs. Yet research has shown that a community’s existing businesses account for up to 70% of all net change in local employment, and up to 86% in rural areas. This, among other reasons, is why the retention and expansion of existing businesses has become an essential activity of many local and regional economic development programs.

Recognizing the importance of local marinas, the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association and Ohio Department of Natural Resources Office of Coastal Management in conjunction with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Sea Grant College Program established a Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) Program to assist these companies in achieving their growth objectives and to improve the overall business environment of Ohio’s Lake Erie Marina Industry.

The program aims to:

  •  Identify and address concerns and issues of existing businesses by creating a value-chain of partners, including local and state government as well as private organizations and enterprises
  • Identify opportunities to stimulate local job growth
  • Establish and maintain long-term relationships among public and private entities associated in some way with Ohio’s Lake Erie marina industry

To read more about this program or to view the final report, click here. To learn more about the Ohio BR&E Program, visit Ohio State University Extension’s BR&E website.

(Submitted by Joe Lucente, Assistant Professor and Extension Educator, Ohio Sea Grant College Program)

NOAA Coastal Storms Program improves community resiliency in the Great Lakes

Orlando post 2015-06-18 combined

Photo credits: Top & Bottom – ODNR Coastal Management; Center – Ohio Sea Grant

In the fall of 2012, a large hurricane that began in the Caribbean Sea made landfall on the east coast of the U.S., causing ripples across the Northeast and Midwest for two days. What came to be called Superstorm Sandy in the Midwest generated an estimated $65 billion in damages in the U.S. alone and sent a shock wave through many working waterfront communities.

Marinas in the Great Lakes typically see 1-to-3 foot waves in their harbors. Superstorm Sandy brought towering waves of up to 20 feet and winds of up to 60 miles per hour. Many coastal communities across the Great Lakes were not prepared for this extreme weather and some took months to recover from the damages.

The experiences of Superstorm Sandy combined with projections of more frequent and severe storms in the future led Ohio Sea Grant to pursue and obtain a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Storms Grant in the fall of 2014. The grant project is titled Development of a Coastal Storms Preparation, Adaptation, and Response Tool for Great Lakes Marinas. This project aims to understand the needs, drivers and barriers to preparing for extreme weather hazards and to develop tools that will help marina owners now and in the future. The project is jointly led by Sarah Orlando and Joe Lucente of Ohio Sea Grant Extension with Dr. Eric Toman of the School of Environment and Natural Resources.

A total of ten small grant projects have been funded to make Great Lakes coastal communities safer and more resilient. Learn more about the projects including work on dangerous currents, stormwater impacts, shoreline mapping and hazard mitigation at the NOAA Great Lakes Coastal Storms Program Page.

(Submitted by Sarah Orlando, Program Manager, Ohio Clean Marinas Program, Ohio Sea Grant)

Resilience in Rural Communities

The places we call home are continuously challenged with wide-ranging issues.  The effects of such issues can oftentimes be greater on rural communities in particular than their suburban or urban neighbors. One approach to mitigate these effects involves building resiliency. Resilience refers to the capacity of an individual or community to cope with stress and adapt positively to change. It is a positive approach to promote greater well-being in rural communities.

Building a resilient community can serve as a protective factor from developing problems. Rural resiliency can also help communities when unforeseen factors occur such as floods, drought, mud slides or large company shut downs.

Resilient Communities 2015-06-18Community resilience is a complex construct with many interrelated factors. One issue impacts and overlaps many things. For example, social, environment and economic issues may seem different, but they all have an impact on each other. Economic issues impact all facets of a community. Infrastructure as a part of an economic issue includes water, transportation, and telecommunications are important tools. These economic issues are important to allow people in the community to carry out daily activities. Infrastructure as a part of rural resiliency is necessary to help the community function and provide support service to many different aspects such as housing and employment. The absence of these services within a community is detrimental to the quality of life of a community and its members.

What can members of a community do to enhance resiliency?

  1.  Know how to access the support and services that are available.
  2.  Collaborate with a wide variety of groups to apply for funding.
  3.  Share resources and facilities collaboratively.
  4.  Anticipate problems and brain storm solutions.
  5.  Identify gaps in infrastructure and support services.
  6.  Develop short term and long term goals.

There are many resources available for communities to enhance rural resiliency. If you have any questions or would like more information contact Cynthia Bond at

(Submitted by Cindy Bond, Assistant Professor and County Extension Educator, Guernsey County & Crossroads EERA)

Roundtable Discussions: Forum for economic development of our local communities

Community economic development roundtable discussions are designed to create a level of dialogue necessary to explore the potential for creating manufacturing, industrial and trade jobs that will impact the lives of the unemployed and underemployed in communities.

Community Forums 2015-06-04

Photo credit:

Such a roundtable discussion was recently held in Fayette County, Ohio, the second in the past 12 months, aimed at promoting social and economic equity using state, regional and local resources in the forging of new and sustainable communities. The event brought together local stakeholders with state and regional economic development players to address significant community and economic development challenges; with the goal of cultivating a broader collaboration among business, government and civil society communities.

Topics discussed ranged from gas pipeline projects and how the counties can work together for the benefit of the region, to ways to recruit and attract business to the area. Conversation also focused on job creation and retention strategies, workforce and skills development issues, and state policies that undermine local economic development growth.

As Extension professionals, the roles we play in such community conversations can vary depending on the issues and the stages of the educational process. At times we are “conveners” who identify a public issue(s) and key stakeholders, gain their support and cooperation in the educational process, and work with them to design and carry out a process to achieve a mutually satisfying outcome. As “networkers,” we identify and link people and resources to increase people’s knowledge of public issues and their ability to participate in public decision-making. And finally, at times we are “diplomats” who move tactfully between stakeholders to encourage them to work together through an educational process. Ultimately we are educators focused on strengthening individual and family lives through research-based educational programming in collaboration with individuals, families, communities, business and industry, regional and state agencies, for example.

For more information, please view the material posted at or

(Submitted by Godwin Apaliyah, County Extension Educator, Fayette County & Miami Valley EERA; Fayette County Community Development Director)