FOR THE FUTURE
Report prepared by
The Ohio State University City and Regional Planning
Economic Development Studio for the Area Development
Foundation of Knox County
TOTAL TAX REVENUE....................................................................................................15
ACCESS TO CAPITAL.......................................................................................................32
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING.....................................................................................34
DIRECTION OF DEVELOPMENT..................................................................................41
ESSENCE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP.............................................................................42
LEVERAGING THE LAND...............................................................................................43
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 1
This plan begins by discussing the demographics of Knox County. It focuses on subjects such
as population, age cohorts, and educational attainment. Next it investigates tax data from 2000
through 2014 in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the county's current state.
This section includes information about property, sales, and income taxes as well as the value of
different types of property in Knox County.
During the research phase an effort was made to find any and all programs that could be of
benefit to Knox County. Nearly 100 programs were discovered in government, private, health,
education, and community sectors. A list of these programs is available in the appendix.
This information, combined with information collected from stakeholder interviews, lead to the
creation of a SWOT analysis. This is a common type of analysis done to evaluate a community's
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This analysis will help the Area Development
Foundation determine where its focus needs to be in the county.
The next section of the plan contains information on economic development tools that Knox
County could benefit from implementing. These tools consist of bond financing, access to
capital programs, tax increment financing, and tax credits. Each of these tools has unique
implementation possibilities that can greatly enhance Knox County’s economy.
The final section of the report contains recommendations for the future. These recommendations
are the most exciting part of the plan. They range from suggesting the creation of an economic
incubator to the expansion of the healthcare industry.
This plan was created by the Ohio State University City and Regional Planning Economic
Development Studio under the direction of Tobias Rittner, President and CEO at the Council of
Development Finance Agencies.
Knox County (highlighted in orange) is a vibrant rural county located about 35 miles northeast
of Columbus. It is home to a robust industrial sector, top of the line healthcare facilities, and
an impressive agricultural base. The Area Development Foundation of Knox County has
commissioned this plan to create a goal for the future of the economy of Knox County. In this
plan there will be discussions of how the county is now and how it needs to adapt to continue its
success into the future.
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 3
Analyzing the people and economy of Knox County was crucial to
creating this report. It is important to compare data from Knox County
with other similar counties in order to put it into perspective. Athens and
Hancock were selected as the county’s to compare to as the three
counties have similar populations, a rural nature, colleges, and are
located in close proximity to major urban centers. Demographic data
for these counties was collected from the U.S. Census Bureau’s online
The population in all three of the counties analyzed has been increasing
at a similar rate. However, the population distributions throughout the
counties are vastly different as Knox County has a significantly smaller
proportion of their population in the 15-34 age range and a significantly
larger proportion over 60. Each of the counties analyzed has a lack of
racial diversity with over 90 percent of their populations classifying as
white. All three counties have experienced a decrease in the percentage
of their population with a GED, but an increase in the percentage with
a bachelor’s degree. The 3 counties have also experienced a shift in
the housing market with a growing number of people renting versus
purchasing houses. Knox County specifically has experience a 5 percent
drop in homeownership rates since 2000.
Employment numbers are positive for the county. Knox County's
unemployment has consistently been lower than the 2 comparable
counties. When comparing employment numbers it was discovered
that Knox County has an advantage in healthcare, agriculture, and
4 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 5
TOTAL POPULATION 2000
Knox County: 54,500
Hancock County: 71,295
Athens County: 62,223
TOTAL POPULATION 2010
Knox County: 60,921
Hancock County: 74,782
Athens County: 64,757
TOTAL POPULATION 2014
Knox County: 61,063
Hancock County: 75,290
Athens County: 64,840
6 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
*population data based on 2010 Census
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 7
EMPLOYMENT BY INDUSTRY (2014)
8 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
TAXABLE VALUE OF REAL PROPERTY BY CLASS OF PROPERTY
RESIDENTIAL AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRIAL COMMERCIAL MINERAL
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 9
TAXABLE VALUE OF REAL PROPERTY BY CLASS OF PROPERTY
RESIDENTIAL AGRICULTURAL INDUSTRIAL COMMERCIAL MINERAL
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 11
Tax data was gathered from Comprehensive Annual Financial
Reports (CAFRs) from the counties, and various audits filled by the
many cities and villages. Data on property, income, and sales tax
revenues show variance from year to year which reveals changes in
the economic condition and development of the region.
Property tax in Ohio is distributed to cities and public schools for
use. Taxes collected are representative of the appraised value of
property in each county. Income tax is distributed to city and state
governments, and reveals the quality and quantity of employment
in the county. Sales tax is distributed to county governments, and will
be higher with a strong commercial economy.
Analyzing the data from the audits showed that Knox County has
the lowest sales tax income as well as a significantly lower per
capita tax base than similar counties. Property values showed
that Knox County has an advantage in agriculture, but has seen a
decline in the value of commercial and residential property.
12 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
KNOX COUNTY PROPERTY TAX REVENUE
COMPARATIVE PROPERTY TAX REVENUE
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 13
COMBINED INCOME TAX REVENUE IN KNOX COUNTY*
COMPARATIVE COMBINED INCOME TAX REVENUE*
*Only cities can collect income taxes. Graphs display combined totals for income tax collected by cities in each county.
14 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
KNOX COUNTY SALES TAX REVENUE
COMPARATIVE SALES TAX REVENUE
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 15
TOTAL TAX REVENUE
KNOX COUNTY TOTAL TAX REVENUE
COMPARATIVE TOTAL TAX REVENUE
16 Foundations for the Future of Knox County16 Knox County Background Report
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 17
It is important for Knox County Area Development Foundation
to be aware of the numerous entities available throughout
the county for future partnerships in development plans. The
programs analysis found over one hundred entities in the sectors
titled private, education, health, government, and community.
These entities were discovered through the background research
of Knox County and were decided to have value to the Knox
County Area Development Foundation. Each entity was then
broken down even further into subcategories that help define
their benefits to Knox County as a whole. A list of these entities
including their name, contact information, and a description is
located in the appendix.
18 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Corporations in Knox County are the main driving forces behind the local economy of the
area. Many of the corporations in the area are grouped into commercial or industrial sectors.
The entities within the sectors allow potential suitors to have easy access to infrastructure
technology needed to quickly initiate operations.
Any potential entrepreneur or business interested in the area will have the tools and
technology needed to immediately begin operations. The industrial climate is strong in the
county, serving many successful corporations highlighted by Ariel Corporation, Rolls-Royce
Energy Systems, and Burch Hydro.
Colleges, Technical Schools, Vocational programs, High Schools, Middle Schools, Elementary,
and Preschool education are readily available in Knox County. Providing many educational
options makes the county attractive to prospective residents. By satisfying the educational
needs of the families in the area, it becomes easier to keep workers and businesses in Knox
Providing competitive education options better prepares residents for an opportunity in the
future. Having an educated workforce pool will make it easier for prospective businesses to
draw from the crop of regional talent without having to outsource their workforce. Kenyon
College, Central Ohio Technical College, and Mount Vernon Nazarene University lead the
way in Knox County and can create a pipeline between the educational sector to the business
It is important to provide medical care for any person’s livelihood. This is especially the case
in Knox County with its rather aging population. Throughout the county, there is a variety of
programs available to treat each community member’s specific need. This is an attractive qual-
ity to have when the endgame to entice business and workers is a high priority.
Mid-Ohio Corporate Care, Knox Community Hospital, and Alcohol and Drug Freedom
Center, are strong examples of professional care which is readily available to Knox County
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 19
An effective local government provides the necessary services that ensure businesses are able
to run their operations smoothly. Knox provides necessary services for which businesses with-
in the county are able to focus on bringing wealth to the area. This encourages prospective
business to move their operations to the county.
Knox County Auditor’s Office, Treasurer, and County Planning Commission are the legal
entities available for prospective businesses to utilize within the county. Making these services
readily available is key to not only attracting businesses but retaining them.
Knox County is no stranger to providing festivals within every town in the county. Through-
out the year, there are social activities for residents of the county. Current and future residents
tend to stay in areas where they feel socially and professionally satisfied. This holds true in
Knox County as there are no shortage of festivals, fairs, and other social gatherings to enjoy.
Furthermore, the county does well to build up the historical context of the area, through mu-
seums and historic preservation.
The Knox County Fair, Area Development Foundation and the Heritage Centre Association
are among many organizations striving to provide experiences within the county, targeting
residents satisfaction and support.
*Please refer to the Appendix for a comprehensive list and description of entities and services.
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 21
Conducting a SWOT analysis allows the Strengths, Weaknesses,
Opportunities, and Threats of a community to be exposed. Strengths
are what a community is successful at. Weaknesses are things that
the a community needs to improve upon. Opportunities are areas
that the a community should consider investing in. Threats are
both real and perceived things that have the capacity to harm a
This SWOT analysis was conducted by speaking with county officials,
business owners, and other key organizational leaders that were
identified as having valuable knowledge and opinions of the current
economic conditions in Knox County. Eighteen of these stakeholders
were interviewed either over the phone or via email. Their responses
were combined with tax and demographic data in order to
complete the analysis.
22 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
• Community Investment
• Higher Education
• Good Financial Base
• Market Proximity and
• Entrepreneurial Growth
• Available Land and Real
• Rural Character
• Expanding Healthcare
• Unorganized Participation
in Economic Development
• Little Diversity in
• Perceptions of Knox
• Attraction and Retention
• Relationship Ties
• Real Estate
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 23
Knox County has already equipped itself with assets and programs that make the county
attractive to development. The strong presence of community involvement is an important
resource for development and contributes to a high quality of life. Knox County performs
especially well in terms of higher education and job training that lead to a capable workforce face
with low unemployment. The county also has access to the resources necessary to successfully
conduct a robust manufacturing sector.
Adjustments in programming and the creation of new programs could maximize the county’s
capacity for development and strengthen any existing inefficiencies. Knox County lacks proper
infrastructure that supports trade and transportation for industry. The real estate market is also
limited in terms of available commercial and residential properties. Perceptions within and
around the county may inhibit further expansion and development. The county currently relies
on few employers and a single economy. Similar industries that are not diversified lead to a
workforce that is not resilient to economic changes.
The current conditions of the local economy provide chances for both improvement and growth.
The entrepreneurial spirit should be nurtured to encourage the growth of small businesses.
Unused vacant land and the untapped real estate market are places for new development. The
reutilization of existing local assets such as tourism and health care would make Knox County an
appealing place for new residents.
Knox County should be concerned with disjointed participation, lack of economic diversity,
and image that could harm the potential for future economic development. Improving the
county’s cohesiveness in economic goals across key players and residents will assist in developing
towards a single goal. Relying on one primary industry sector and providing workforce training
singularly focused on this industry provides little resilience. The county’s image is crucial when
working to attract both economic opportunity and new population with its development efforts.
24 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
COMMUNITY INVESTMENT AND INVOLVEMENT
Based off of the interview process, it is evident that the residents of Knox County take great pride in their
communities. In order to preserve their historic downtown areas and maintain the quality of life, Knox
County residents are committed to taking ownership and repairing any blight. Vacant, abandoned and
deteriorating properties are managed so that the character of the neighborhoods is not compromised. This
type of commitment to community’s history represents a sense of collaboration that sets an example for towns
throughout the county. A philanthropic spirit has also manifested itself in the local companies and businesses
who have helped plan and fund many local events. The willingness of local businesses to support the community
is a very positive influence on community development. Local events such as the many town festivals contribute
to the county’s character while provide opportunities for residents to come together and celebrate Knox County.
Knox County provides ample access to multiple forms of higher education that prepare residents and young
adults to contribute to the local economy. Institutions such as the two major technical schools (Central Ohio
Technical College [COTC] and Knox County Career Center) and two private universities (Mount Vernon
Nazarene University and Kenyon College) are primary examples. COTC offers associate degree and certificate
programs for high-tech skills necessary in the industrial workforce. The Knox County Career Center offers
flexible adult education and high school programs that both aim to meet community training needs. Mount
Vernon Nazarene University, a private, Christian college, focuses on providing students with a prestigious liberal
arts education. Kenyon College in Gambier is also a liberal arts college boasting a traditional arts and sciences
GOOD FINANCIAL BASE
Knox County boasts a strong economic base with lower unemployment rate. Knox County employs 30,324
people with a 4.1% rate of unemployment, as compared to 5.2% statewide. This low rate is a sign of a robust
economy with consistent jobs, strong business management, and a hardworking population. In addition
to the strong industrial economy, the people of Knox County exemplify a spirit of entrepreneurship. This
entrepreneurship is tied to the desire to provide for their community through a localized business focus.
MARKET PROXIMITY AND INDUSTRIAL RESOURCES
Knox County is capable and equipped to house more industries and firms in the county. Proximity to Columbus
allows Knox County to benefit from the state capital’s economy as well. Being so close to Columbus is valuable
for locating industry. A rail line that runs from Mount Vernon to Newark provides an essential way to transport
large quantities of goods. Knox County provides many natural resources such as bountiful farmland and access
to water that can be necessary for many types of manufacturing. The long-standing and thriving agricultural
industry already present in Knox County proves as a reliable sector of the economy.
COMMUNITY INVESTMENT & INVOLVEMENT
GOOD FINANCIAL BASE
MARKET PROXIMITY & INDUSTRIAL RESOURCES
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 25
ATTRACTION & RETENTION STRATEGIES
ATTRACTION & RETENTION STRATEGIES
With a growing need to attract business and industry, the county must find successful strategies to bring new
industry in the area. Establish other assets that will keep new companies in the county while retaining existing
businesses should be prioritized as well. The county lacks a roadway at a large enough scale to support the
transportation of resources and goods for manufacturing. The rail line that connects Mt. Vernon to exchanges
in Newark is currently underused. Knox County relies solely on a number of large employers, which makes
the entire economy extremely susceptible to economic downturn. The lack of resources for small businesses
does not appropriately encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship throughout the community. The workforce
in the county is very strong in terms of supplying the need for manufacturing and industry, but training and
development of workers for a more professional, higher-level workforce is lacking.
A cohesive network of working relationships between county leadership, businesses, and organizations at all
scales is essential for effective county-wide development. Several survey responses have indicated differing
impressions or perceptions of the county. These differences point to a lack of effective communication of
information and discussion of issues between important actors in the area. Opposition to certain manufacturing
due to contrasting opinions of industry and county needs may be a barrier to further industry development.
Without mediation of conflicts and possible impediments to increasing the number of industrial sites, the
county may lose valuable business opportunities. Public opposition to industrial development has also played a
role in Knox’s loss of manufacturing opportunities.
Adequate residential and commercial real estate are essential to the county’s goals of attracting high-quality
employees as well as an increased industrial presence. The availability of affordable housing in Knox County is
limited and does not meet the current population’s needs. The real estate market lacks organizational structure
(i.e. an identifiable person or company from whom to purchase land), as evident in respondents expressing
difficulty with purchasing commercial property.
A resilient and sustainable economy requires a diverse mix of business sectors that span several industries. The
county is not completely prepared for economic changes because it depends on few economic drivers. A diverse
economy requires an equally diverse workforce to satisfy different employment needs. Knox County needs to
improve on a more diverse set of a skilled workforce to become more attractive to potential businesses. The
workforce should be trained and prepared to occupy a diverse set of occupations, not solely manufacturing.
26 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
A large population of young people coupled with a spirit of entrepreneurship creates potential for growth in the
local small-scale economic market. in the county’s colleges, there is potential for these skills to be turned into
economic growth. Increased and developed investment opportunities and finance programs available to those
who are interested, will facilitate the expansion of local businesses and encourage more start-ups. These small
businesses will increase the diversity of the economy, thus making it more resilient. Small businesses could
provide a great number of jobs and training opportunities.
AVAILABLE LAND AND REAL ESTATE
Knox County’s vacant land is well-suited for new development and investment. A variety of vacant sites can be
reutilized and developed into assets for expanding the economy and benefiting the community. Open land with
proper infrastructure and utilities already in place will be a valuable feature to attract new business and higher
paying jobs to Knox county. The limited commercial real estate offers an opportunity for the county to invest in
a new section of the industry that expands the available real estate market and stock.
The people of Knox County enjoy the rural quality of life in the county. Knox County offers a close-knit
community that is conveniently situated outside of Columbus. Preserving the rural nature of Knox County can
be helpful in attracting potential incoming residents. Outdoor activity tourism, such as hiking, fishing, biking,
etc., can be very successful in creating an interesting image of the county by providing a reason for people to
come to Knox County. The beautiful natural scenery provides opportunities for new developments such as
riverfront businesses that provide a more quality and scenic workplace. Using the natural character of Knox
County can be beneficial to attract new businesses, new residents, and help retain the current population.
EXPANDING HEALTHCARE DIVISION
Providing a healthcare service to accommodate a growing heroin problem would be very valuable to the
community. The hospital can provide a large amount of jobs in a single network, which could be a huge impact
on not only the economy but also the quality of life in the communities through improved public health and
provision of community services and programming. A more developed network of healthcare facilities can
bring in more jobs to the area at multiple sites, improve public health and quality of life, attract more people
with better neighborhoods, and address issues in the community; therefore, it could make Knox County a more
desirable to place to work and live.
AVAILABLE LAND AND REAL ESTATE
EXPANDING HEALTHCARE DIVISION
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 27
UNORGANIZED PARTICIPATION IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Due to the discrepancy between the preservation of the rural beauty and the urban growth, Knox County does
not have a clear goal for the county’s future. A prime example of this is the “Focus 2100” plan implemented in
order to preserve the balance between the rural character of the community and potential development. Much
of the county wants more development, however, the majority of those who support development also did not
want it to affect their standard, highly rural quality of life. The notion of boosting the economy is consistently
in direct competition with preserving the quiet, and private standard of living that has been established
throughout most of the county. Contrasting goals for the future of the county make establishing and achieving
county-wide goals difficult.
LITTLE DIVERSITY IN INDUSTRY
Little to no diversity in Knox County’s businesses and general population poses a risk in the county’s ability to
respond to potential economic recession. Knox County relies on a few major
industrial employers such as Siemens Energy and Aerial Corporation, which shows a strength in the energy
industry. However, the economy should not depend on only a limited number of industries should one of those
industries begin to decline, become obsolete, or leave the area. There is a need to diversify the workforce of
the county as a resource for the diverse industries and businesses that Knox hopes to attract. Additionally, the
county’s aging population coupled with an out-migration of ages 20-29 indicate a lack of growth and retention
of residents. This poses a threat to the community as the workforce is aging and the young workforce is
choosing to work outside of Knox County.
PERCEPTIONS OF KNOX COUNTY
It is crucial to look at the community from the perspective of companies and the potential workforce who have
no previous background knowledge of the area, as they are the targeted groups to attract to the county. Two
major perceptual issues, weakness in certain school districts and drug use, are of concern for the county. There
is perceptual discrepancies surrounding the strengths and weaknesses in the school districts, indicating a lack
of communication and knowledge across the county. The negative image of the schools and the potential drug
use problem creates a misrepresentation for the great sense of community and quality of life for Knox County’s
UNORGANIZED PARTICIPATION IN ECONOMIC
LITTLE DIVERSITY IN INDUSTRY
PERCEPTIONS OF KNOX COUNTY
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 29
The economy of Knox County would be greatly improved by taking
advantage of economic development tools. There are many of
these tools in existence, but there are 4 specific tools Knox County
could benefit from the most. First Knox County could use bonds. A
bond is an issuance of public or private debt that is to be repaid in
the future. They are typically used to fund larger projects such as
infrastructure. Second Knox County could create access to capital
programs. These are programs targeted towards small businesses
and entrepreneurs that have difficulty securing traditional forms
of funding. Third Knox County could benefit through the creation
of new Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts. A TIF district is an area
established where development is expected to increase property
values, it does not involve an increase in tax rates. The increment
is the difference between property taxes collected before and
property taxes collected after development. The increment is used
to cover the costs of the development. Finally Knox County could
benefit from implementing tax credits. These are reimbursements of
taxes that companies are able to earn.
30 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
A bond is an issuance of debt by private or government institutions that is to be paid off at a
future date. Private bonds consist of debt issued by corporations and investors with varying goals.
Government Bonds come in 2 types. First there are general obligation bonds. These are bonds that
are paid off from the general fund of a government body. Second, there are revenue bonds. These
are bonds that are paid off by a specific revenue stream. There are several agencies in Ohio that
can issue bonds including the State Treasurer and the Ohio Public Facilities commission. Bonds
allow governments to invest in more expensive projects such as infrastructure and economic
development without having to wait to save up for them. Cities and Counties in Ohio can also
participate in this bond market. They primarily do this through the use of a Port Authority.
Industrial Development Bonds (or IDB’s) are
a form of private activity bond that look like
municipal bonds since they are issued by a
government entity. They allow manufacturing
companies to benefit from a government
institution’s tax exempt status to finance their
industry projects. IDB’s can be used to purchase
new equipment, renovate facilities, or catalyze
growth. They are currently the most utilized
bond tool for manufacturing industry.
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT BONDS
Aggie bonds offer farmers loans at below market interest
rates. They are primarily supplied by local private entities
and offer first-time farmers rates that are on average 3%
lower than the commercial farm loan rate. The liability
for the loans are solely on the lenders, therefore the
state and federal government cannot take part on the
loan. The private nature of these loans removes the risk
involved from government entities and does not impact
the government's debt limit.
A 501(c)(3) bond is a non profit bond established for
tax exempt charitable organizations. Interest on these
bonds is exempt from federal and state income tax.
501(c)(3) bonds can be used to build things such as
hospitals, charter schools, and churches. They may also
be used to test for public safety.
TYPES OF BONDS
The Development Finance Authority of
Summit County has successfully issued tax
exempt Industrial Development Bonds to
finance manufacturing projects such as Exal
Corp’s 170,000 ft plant expansion and the
updated Superior Roll Forming facility.
Utah has utilized the Industrial Facilities and Development Act
to expand IDB project eligibility to cover financing for energy
efficiency upgrades and renewable energy systems.
►IOWA AGGIE BONDS
Iowa has the largest Aggie Bond program in the nation. Aggie
Bonds may be used to purchase productive agricultural farmland
and new or used depreciable agricultural property such as livestock
or farm machinery.
WHAT ARE BONDS?
AGGIE BONDS 501c3 BONDS
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 31
Port authorities are the primary bond issuers in the state of Ohio and
each of the bonds found below requires an authority to issue them. A
port authority is a unit of government created by a city, township, or
county. It is governed by a board of directors with the ultimate goal of
economic development. Port authorities are allowed to issue bonds
anywhere in the state, but are generally focused on a specific area.
Bond financing will make the County more favorable to businesses
looking for somewhere to locate. Industrial Development,
Agricultural, and 501(c)(3) bonds should be the primary focus for
bond financing projects in the county.
INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT BONDS
Knox County can utilize IDB’s to help improve existing
industrial facilities and attract new manufacturing companies to
the county. IDB’s would allow Knox flexibility to finance both
traditional and more ancillary industries such as technology
and research-based endeavors.
Before being able to issue Aggie Bonds the state run First
Time Farmer Aggie Bond program must be reinstated.
Once reinstated it will be possible to begin writing bonds
for the county and potentially the state. This will benefit
the county by helping to expand farming and further
utilize farmland already in use. Using these bonds will
allow younger farmers to get involved in the industry.
Knox County can use 501(c)(3) bonds to improve
many nonprofit organizations in the county. First
these bonds should be used to expand the healthcare
industry. This is one of the county's biggest strengths,
but money needs to be made available to the industry
in order to keep it competitive in the long term. The
second major place to implement 501(c)(3) bonds
is in the physical improvement of schools. Finally
this type of bond should be used to construct
community centers such as YMCA’s. This will
work to improve the quality of life of residents
and can make the county more appealing to
companies looking to relocate.
The county is currently utilizing bonds to
fund several projects as they have over 9
million dollars in general obligation debt
outstanding. This is being used to fund the
Department of Jobs and Family Services, repair
Columbus road, improve the fairgrounds,
and upgrade 911 equipment. In addition,
the county utilizes over 6 million dollars of
financing through the Recovery Zone Economic
Development Bond program. This money is being
used to improve wastewater systems. The debt
created by this project will be paid off from the
district's operating revenues. At current there are
limited opportunities for private companies to access
bond financing in Knox County. Most of the bond
issuance in the county is focused on the improvement
of government owned general infrastructure. Pursuing
bonds for private enterprise will make the county a
more appealing location to businesses.
BONDS ALREADY EXISTING
IN KNOX COUNTY
• Port Authorities as an Economic Development Tool for
• CDFA Spotlight: The Basics of Industrial Development
• GE Capital: Industrial Development Bonds
• Cornell University Law School: Industrial Development
32 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Small businesses and start-ups can only be successful if they have the necessary capital. Many new
businesses have trouble finding traditional lenders to provide them capital as they are seen as too
risky of an investment. Therefore it is necessary to create alternative means for these businesses
to acquire funds. There are many ways to provide these businesses with capital and each operates
significantly differently from the next. Below you will find a summary of the best types of access
to capital tools that ADF should consider using.
ACCESS TO CAPITAL
WHAT IS ACCESS TO CAPITAL?
CAPITAL PROGRAMS INNOVATION FINANCE
►REVOLVING LOAN FUNDS (RLFS)
A Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is a self replenishing pool
of money that is used to make loans. Funds are made
available for new loans from the repayment of old ones.
RLFs are typically used as a supplement to go along
with other sources of funding. They can supply funding
options for new businesses that are seen as high risk or
unqualified for traditional loans. RLFs assist organizations
in becoming financially independent thereby helping
them qualify for traditional loans.
Mezzanine Financing is a combination of debt and equity
financing that is used to finance expanding existing
companies. Mezzanine financing gives the lender the
ability to convert the loan into an ownership share. The
loan is typically distributed quickly with little to no
collateral on the borrower.
A loan guarantee is a promise by the guarantor to
assume debt obligation of a borrower if that borrower
happens to default. Arrangements are typically made if
the potential borrower is an unattractive candidate for
a loan. Government agencies often times take on the
responsibility of guarantor by purchasing the debt from a
financial lending institution. This allows businesses access
to needed financial assistance without creating excessive
risk for the lender. Guarantees can either be limited or
unlimited, meaning the guarantor can be liable for just a
portion or all of the debt.
Largely managed by the private sector, innovation
financing focuses on providing funds for entrepreneurs
and small businesses at various stages of development.
Seed capital is typically sought after by entrepreneurs
or new businesses lacking access to traditional funding
sources. These investments allow entrepreneurs to move
forward with their new venture. Investments are generally
provided by private investors in exchange for a high
rate of return on investment (15% - 30%). Seed capital
investments are high-risk, but they can be used to capture
the attention of venture capitalists.
Venture capital is used by young, growing companies that
are already somewhat established. Venture capital firms
can be made up of private partnerships, corporations
funded by private and public pension funds, endowment
funds, individuals, and foreign investments. These
investments are high-risk but can yield a high rate of
return over five to seven years. The expected return on
investment for this particular method is between 25 and
35% per year over its lifespan.
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
►504 LOAN PROGRAM
The 504 Loan Program funds the purchase of assets such
as land, buildings and machinery. 504 loans are funded by
a combination of banks and administered by non-profit
Certified Development Companies as well as the Small
Business Administration and private lenders.
ACCESS TO CAPITAL TOOLS
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 33
Micro-enterprise finance target the smallest businesses in
a community. This is often a high-risk investment.
The Small Business Association (SBA) Micro-Loan
Program makes funds available to nonprofit, community
Local micro-lending programs are often tailored to
address specific niches such as minority-owned and
Peer-based micro-lending occurs when entrepreneurs
or small businesses lend to other micro-enterprise
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or
venture by raising monetary contributions from a large
number of people. This is done almost exclusively online.
Angel investors are wealthy accredited investors with
many years of experience in starting companies, investing
in startups, and working in particular industries. Angel
investors finance small businesses that are too large
to depend on just family and friends but too small to
receive venture capital. Angel investments represent a
large portion of early-stage financing for small start-up
companies. Angels also offer entrepreneurs assistance
through networking and advising. Angels can build
important credibility for fledgling businesses. Although
highly selective, nine out of ten investments are in small
start-ups with less than 20 employees. Angel investors can
act individually or in group funds.
Economic incubators provide entrepreneurs with a
space to work on their idea while collaborating with
other individuals. They allow entrepreneurs access to
education, legal support, and funding. These facilities can
get the funds necessary to develop from the US Economic
Development Association, however they are typically
sustained through private funding.
ACCESS TO CAPITAL TOOLS cont.
MICRO-ENTERPRISE FINANCE ANGEL INVESTMENTS
Historically, Knox County has not employed many access to capital tools for its local businesses. However,
the Area Development Foundation does currently operate a county revolving loan fund.
There is ample potential to implement these tools despite there not being a history of using access to
capital tools in the county. The Area Development Foundation of Knox County can provide guidance
on how access to capital tools may be utilized in the county. The vast majority of access to capital can
be geared towards potential start up companies and entrepreneurs that call Knox County home. Other
beneficiaries would include micro level enterprises that might not otherwise be approved for financing.
The Area Development Foundation should act as a facilitator that brings investors and entrepreneurs
together. ADF could be the conduit for investors at all levels that would finance Seed and Venture Capital
for Knox County’s local companies. For example, ADF can expand its Revolving Loan Fund program in
order to provide more funding for local businesses. ADF could also serve as a guarantor for small business
endeavors that require assistance securing loans from lenders. With time, ADF could establish itself as the
main hub for catalyzing local investment opportunities.
Micro-enterprise finance target the smallest businesses in a community. This is often a high-risk investment.
34 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
TIF is used to develop areas in need of
improvements to increase economic value or
social capital. TIF is commonly implemented
where land is undeveloped, underutilized,
or blighted. This means that a vacant, barren
area can be financed to prepare it for future
development. TIF may also be used to restart
previously failed redevelopment efforts,
enhance socially depressed areas, or to assist
private companies in funding a project.
Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts are used in areas that are seeking redevelopment. A TIF
district is established by an initiating jurisdiction. Once established the district determines the
tax increment. This tax increment is the increase in property tax revenue, as a result of increased
property values, from the time the district is created until the time it is complete. The increment
is then used to reimburse the company that has been used by the city for development. Once the
district closes, the increased revenues are returned to the underlying taxed entities as well as the
WHAT IS TAX INCREMENT FINANCING?
WHO CAN USE TIF
WHEN TO USE TIF
WHERE TO USE TIF
TIF is commonly used by local governments (townships,
cities, municipalities, or counties) to redevelop an area
of land and take advantage of future tax revenues that are
accrued by that redevelopment. The Ohio Development
Services Agency (ODSA) uses TIF to support Ohio's
large and small businesses as they maneuver in the global
economy. They assist companies ranging from medium
technology companies looking to take the next step and
commercialize to first time entrepreneurs establishing a
TIFs are typically used for public infrastructure, land
acquisition, relocation, demolition, utility construction,
debt service, planning costs, and redevelopment. TIF
has been used at Easton Town Center in Columbus, OH.
Easton is a large multi-use retail complex that includes
outdoor and indoor components. Thirty year TIF bonds
using 100% of non-school revenues were used to finance
the construction of parking structures on the site. TIF
was also used in the construction of the Polaris Fashion
Mall. Polaris consists of over 1,000 acres of mixed use
development that spanning from office, retail, and hotel.
It was difficult to create public support for the financing
but eventually a non-school TIF was created and revenue
flow grew to $1.2 million in 5 years.
WHEN, WHERE, & WHY
• ADAPTIVE REUSE
• SPECIAL PROJECT
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 35
There are four active TIF’s in Knox County, three of
which are within the city limits of Mount Vernon, the
fourth is in Clinton Township. The first TIF (TIF 131)
is a municipal Public Improvement TIF for Coshocton
Avenue (State Route 36). This TIF was created on
January 25, 1999. Public improvements include
pavement widening, construction of storm sewers,
installation of new curbing, sidewalks on both sides
of the street, expansion of sanitary sewer line, and a
detention area for storm runoff. This TIF is set to expire
in 2024. The second significant TIF district in Knox
county is operating in the Mount Vernon industrial
park area (TIF 952). It was created on December 31,
2006. The improvements include transportation and the
expansion of sewage and water lines. The debt will be
retired in 2029. The third TIF project in Knox County
(TIF 1411) was created on December 18, 2012 and runs
along the Sandusky Street corridor. The purpose of this
district is to improve public infrastructure through
utility, streetscape, and landscape improvements as
well as environmental studies, demolition and the
construction of traffic controls within the boundary
of the TIF. The final TIF (TIF 1266) pertains to
general public infrastructure improvements in Clinton
Sites with high development potential often require
some initial development before they are ready for
businesses to move in. TIF is a great tool to finance
this work. The now vacant Mount Vernon Academy
site has a large amount of land that could benefit from
economic redevelopment. However, this site needs
crucial improvements before a business will consider
purchasing it. The existing buildings are deteriorated
and purchasers do not want to cover the cost of
demolition. Creating a TIF district in this area would
help finance demolition and contribute to the costs of
infrastructure needs for the site such as roads, water, and
gas. This work will make the Mount Vernon Academy
site more valuable and more attractive for development.
Knox County can also expand its usage of TIF beyond
infrastructure improvements. A TIF district focused
on enhancing Knox’s city centers would spur economic
growth. Potential districts would help provide increased
retail and entertainment options. Districts financed by
TIF that feature both shopping and dining can help keep
money local. Renovated downtowns would bring a new
energy as well as increased tax revenue to reinvigorate
KNOX COUNTY TIF DISTRICTS: POTENTIAL IMPLEMENTATION IN KNOX:
IN KNOX COUNTY
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
36 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Tax credits are federal and state government programs that provide financing tools for brownfield
redevelopment, low-income housing, emerging markets, venture capital, job creation and historic
preservation. Tax Credits are tax deductions for investors and can effectively reduce the interest
on certain financing packages. They can also be used as a repayment system for investors as an
alternative to cash. Tax Credits are flexible, as they have application in urban, rural, and suburban
communities. They are able to attract many stakeholders from outside of the market to make a project
financially feasible which allows developers to improve their cash flow. It is important to note that
during economic downturn tax credits do not disappear.
WHAT ARE TAX CREDITS?
FEDERAL TAX CREDITS
HISTORIC PRESERVATION TAX INCENTIVES NEW MARKET TAX CREDITS
These incentives were established to preserve older
buildings to maintain the flow of capital in older urban
areas. The credit is equal to 20% of qualified rehabilitation
of a specific certified historic building. Buildings become
certified historic structures based on the Secretary of the
Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. For uncertified
historic buildings put in service before 1936, a 10%
credit is obtainable.
A New Market Tax Credit is financial assistance provided
for low-income communities by giving investors state
tax credits in exchange for the addition of below-market-
rate investment opportunities for Ohio businesses. The
intent of these tax credits is to create jobs and improve
the overall well being of an area’s residents. Investors
receive a 39% tax credit spread throughout seven year
period only if they invest in qualified low-income
community businesses, facilities, housing or other
►OTHER RESOURCES ►OTHER RESOURCES
Understanding the Federal Historic Tax Credit
Applying for the Federal Historic Tax Credit
Understanding New Market Tax Credits
Apply to Become CDE Certified
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 37
This Unity Center was proposed in 2003 to act as a
provider for services, programming, and recreation
for the entire community, but focused on low-income
individuals. The Salt Lake City Foundation, a 501(c)3,
was created to be the manager of the funds. The project
cost a total of $6.8 million and a New Market Tax
Credit loan was found for $6.7 million of the project.
• Community Center
• Total Project Cost: $6.8 million
• New Market Tax Credit: $6.7 million
• Total Jobs: 85 construction, 50 permanent
The VNA of Fox Valley Health Center completed
an expansion project in 2007 in order to meet an
increased demand for health services in the Aurora
area. This demand stemmed in part from an
increasing senior population as well as a low income
patient population of 81%. In order to alleviate the
total cost of the expansion, which totaled $6.9 million,
a New Market Tax Credit of $1 million was provided to
• Healthcare Facility Expansion
• Total Project Cost: $6.9 million
• New Market Tax Credit: $1 million
• Total Jobs: 10 new permanent
The Clendenin School, built in 1912, had been sitting
vacant for many years. With an aging population in
the area it was decided that the former school would
be transformed into a mixed-use facility, housing a
health care clinic on the first floor and apartments
for senior residents on the first and third floors. The
project was finished and opened in 2011.
• Health care clinic
• 18 units of senior housing
• Total Project Cost: $5.1 million
• Historic Tax Credit: $1 million
This is a historic rehabilitation of a five-story
brick factory north of downtown Omaha. The
unemployment rate is 2.38 times the national rate.
It was the first significant reinvestment act in the
community in recent years. It was originally built in
1916 as a Ford Motor Company manufacturing factor,
and was added to the National Register of Historic
Places in 2004.
• Apartment Complex
• Total Project Cost: $24.5 million
• New Market Tax Credit: $12 million
• Historic Tax Credit used
• Total Jobs: 270 construction, 138 permanent
The Community Transitional School focuses on
providing a stable learning environment and home
atmosphere for children who are homeless, in
transition, or in chronic poverty related-crises. To help
finance their facility, they used the New Market Tax
Credit system to acquire $3 million of $3.5 million
total cost of the project.
• School for Homeless Children
• Total Project Cost: $3.5 million
• New Market Tax Credit: $3 million
• Total Jobs: 50 construction, 6 permanent.
SORENSON UNITY CENTER:
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
VNA OF FOX VALLEY HEALTH CENTER:
KANAWHA COUNTY, WEST VIRGINIA
TIP TOP APARTMENTS:
COMMUNITY TRANSITIONAL SCHOOL:
of TAX CREDITS
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 39
Knox County displays a strong foundation upon which it can
build for the future. The following list of recommendations are
based on the information the team found in the analysis of the
county. The recommendations are rooted in five different areas
of economic development and were created in response to the
SWOT and programs analysis. They include utilizing Knox's strength
in healthcare, aggregating its economic development processes,
bolstering the county's entrepreneurs, taking advantage of the
county's natural resources, and fostering relationships within the
40 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Healthcare is one of the biggest industries that the county has at its disposal. The Knox County
Community Hospital, along with numerous other care facilities, provides care for many people in
the county. These facilities make Knox County a healthcare powerhouse with a high comparative
advantage to surrounding counties. It would be beneficial for the Knox County Area Development
Foundation (ADF) to become a healthcare hub for the county. ADF could coordinate between different
healthcare providers, specifically the Knox County Community Hospital, to find communities in need
of a health care center. It could then help these communities build health centers. Healthcare in Knox
County is superb and seems to be underutilized considering its strength in the county.
The county could benefit from creating a multifunctional public health facility. The facility could
address drug issues in the county as well as a lack of critical care facilities. With the county's vast
medical resources, this facility could become one of the top rehabilitation centers in the area. The
recently for sale Mount Vernon Academy could provide the perfect location for one of these new
health facilities. This location is very close to Mount Vernon and already has existing infrastructure.
There are several options for financing a large project like this. Tax exempt 501(c)(3) bonds are
available for non-profit organizations such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers and charge very low
interest rates. The county could also use New Market or Historic Tax Credits. These are all offered at
the federal and state level and the county is capable of receiving them.
One issue Knox County faces is a scarcity of young professionals. To combat this problem, ADF
could work with healthcare facilities in Knox to create more opportunities for this demographic.
These facilities could offer opportunities for young professionals to intern or volunteer. ADF could
mediate any communication issues that might arise between healthcare employers and these young
professionals. ADF could act as a promoter for these facilities by reaching out to young professionals
to attract them to the county. The more opportunities that young professionals have to interact and get
involved with the county, the more likely they will be to move to the county and stay. Furthermore,
a larger workforce would be necessary if Knox County were to create a new rehabilitation center or
expand their healthcare facilities in the future.
Knox County could also expand its healthcare possibilities by coordinating with the City of Columbus.
As a major metropolitan area, Columbus has a lot of access to resources that would be beneficial to
Knox County. There are many doctors and medical professionals in Columbus that could come to
Knox County to assist with new or expanding health care programs. The county could even reach
out to Ohio State to create a partnership with both faculty members and students. In doing so, Knox
would become more exposed to both young and experienced professionals who could relocate to
the county for job opportunities. Coordination through the city and university would provide Knox
County with outside perspective and assistance that would be beneficial to the county’s well being in
the long run.
A. HEALTHCARE HUB
B. DRUG REHABILITATION CENTER
C. ATTRACT YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
D. CONNECT WITH COLUMBUS
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 41
DIRECTION OF DEVELOPMENT
ADF has the potential to become the main authority on real estate efforts within the county. There is a
substantial void in the county in regards to both identifying and preparing shovel-ready development
sites along with standard community real estate. ADF has both the capability and resources to fill
this hole by acting as the key player in real estate brokerage in Knox County. Not only would ADF be
responsible for identifying the potential real estate sites, the foundation could also link these sites to
incoming business interested in relocating to the county. Buyers and sellers would be unified under a
consolidated approach provided by ADF.
The county could create a port authority and ADF would be tasked with the operations of this body. A
port authority could facilitate bond issuance to finance new projects and create financial opportunities
for the county. Specifically, the use of industrial development bonds and aggie bonds could be
beneficial in expanding Knox’s existing industrial and agricultural bases, respectively. Port authorities
can also issue tax exempt bonds that pass on savings to businesses and could promote growth in the
county. Additionally, port authorities have the ability to sell and lease publically owned land. If the
creation of a port authority is deemed too costly or unnecessary, ADF could look for a partnership
with an already existing port authority located nearby in the state as well. Knox County could then still
reap the benefits of tax exempt bond financing without having to sustain a port authority of its own.
ADF can establish an increased use of Tax Increment Financing in relevant areas of the county. As
of now, the use of TIF in Knox County is underutilized as there are only four active TIF districts and
three of these are located in Mount Vernon. Vast improvements could be made in the Knox County
city centers by creating TIF districts. TIF can be used to catalyze economic growth and finance
infrastructure improvements where they are most needed. Other examples where TIF could be applied
include any redevelopment of the Mount Vernon Academy site along with improvements to Knox’s
Knox County should look into the use of an overlay system to properly identify sites and match them
with the appropriate economic tools. Utilizing an interactive GIS map of Knox County would help
ADF analyze when the use of certain tax credits may be applicable. For example, the overlay would
highlight historic sites that could utilize historic tax credits and also identify those that could use new
markets tax credits. Using a traditional planning tool in an innovative way can help developers find
potential incentives to build in Knox County.
A. COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE
B. PORT AUTHORITY
C. TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
D. OVERLAY SYSTEM
42 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
ESSENCE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
ADF should consider creating an economic incubator, a place designed to speed up the growth
of new companies and provide startups the necessary resources to get off the ground. A successful
incubator provides startups with access to capital, education, and legal support. There is an
undeniable entrepreneurial spirit throughout the county, however, there is currently little support
for entrepreneurs. Knox County has the potential to set an example in Ohio for how to encourage
and support entrepreneurship and in doing so may attract new entrepreneurs to the area. Before
constructing an incubator, ADF must first secure funding options and avenues for participants to
receive legal and educational support.
Funding is crucial to getting a business on its feet. Knox County should create pathways in which its
small businesses can access capital. The county could do this by creating a revolving loan fund for
home based and small businesses. A revolving loan fund would use principal and interest from old
loans in order to fund new loans. Not only are these programs self-sustaining, but they are also a way
to get capital for businesses that would not necessarily meet the prerequisites for a loan or might be
considered a risky investment.
Around 9.4% of Knox County is self-employed and the amount of home-based businesses is unclear.
ADF should identify its home based businesses and then survey these to assess their needs. Currently,
Centerburg has an online survey that home based business owners can take in order to give input
on city’s resources. Knox could expand upon Centerburg’s survey and push the survey out to these
businesses.The Knox County Chamber of Commerce also hosts an annual Business Showcase for
home based businesses. Knox could expand upon this event by inviting the additional home based
businesses identified through the survey.
There are five cities in Knox County that assess a municipal income tax. These cities collected 12.5
million dollars of tax revenue in 2013. Knox County should consider instituting a municipal income
tax credit in these cities, especially Mount Vernon. Currently, none of these cities are utilizing this tool.
A municipal income tax credit can be instituted for two reasons under the Ohio revised code. First,
a credit may be issued to businesses that foster new job growth. Second, credits can be implemented
to foster job retention. Knox County should focus on the former usage in order to encourage new
businesses to locate here. Please visit sections 718.15-718.151 of the Ohio revised code for specifics.
A. INCUBATOR/MAKER SPACE
B. ACCESS TO CAPITAL
C. SUPPORT HOME-BASED BUSINESSES
D. MUNICPAL TAX CREDIT
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 43
LEVERAGING THE LAND
Highway access is a pivotal component of expanding industry in Knox County. The lack of a four-lane
highway connecting major cities has been a concern for industrial companies looking to relocate to
the area. Knox County should expand roads leading to major highways, in order to promote further
industrialization. Creation of a new Tax Increment Finance district would be the most feasible way
to successfully expand a highway. Interviews conducted by this studio course indicated that several
public figures have cited a lack of highway access was a negative attribute to the county, especially the
city of Mount Vernon. This could easily be remedied considering there are multiple TIF districts in the
county for infrastructural improvements already.
Poverty rates in Knox County have been steadily increasing since 2000. Poverty in 2000 was at 10.1%
and has since risen above the state average to 15.5% in 2014. Rising poverty rates create more pressure
on the affordable housing market to accommodate vulnerable populations. Currently, affordable
housing in the county is not a significant player. As of now, there are only 623 units classified as
affordable housing. ADF should partner with Knox Metropolitan Housing Authority, responsible
for providing decent, safe, and affordable housing and administering federal housing programs, to
expand the inventory of affordable housing to provide for those in lower income brackets as well as
the aging population. Housing that is affordable will maintain stability for residents and could reduce
abandonment and blight that affect propety values.
The 2012 comprehensive plan for Knox County discouraged the county from acquiring and developing
agricultural land and instead advocated brownfield redevelopment for any future development
projects. Preserving agricultural land will also maintain the hgihly-valued rural quality of life in
the county. To build off of this, ADF could use abandoned structures in urban corridors for the
distribution of locally-sourced produce and entrepreneurial classifications to include development
and research in agriculture. Both of these changes could lead to increased prosperity in the urban
economic centers of Knox County by recirculating money throughout the county. Development of this
kind could attract a different demographic to Knox County as young professionals tend to be attracted
to localized urban social programs.
Knox County ranks in the top one-fourth of all Ohio counties in terms of acreage(SCORP). However,
the amount of public outdoor recreation acreage in Knox ranks lower than most counties in Ohio at
62 out of 88. By expanding its recreation and cultural opportunities, the county could build upon its
strong sense of community and increase tourism. The Ariel-Foundation Park is successful example of
reusing abandoned industrial land as a cultural amenity. The park is a site for concerts and festivals,
and this model could be replicated in other landscapes across the county. ADF could facilitate
collaborations with communities and organizations to establish a mroe diverse set of cultural events
for community members and future tourists.
B. AFFORDABLE HOUSING
D. NATURAL RESOURCES
44 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
ADF, as leader of economic development in the county, should market itself to increase its presence
and credibility in the economic development community. An increased presence in the county could
be expanded by hosting county-wide events, like networking opportunities, to strengthen networks in
the community. By establishing mroe connections throughout the county, ADF will be able to expand
its impact.These events would advertise ADF’s ability to serve companies in the county, promote
awareness of ADF, and increase organization membership.
Because ADF is a membership organziation, it should represent and advocate for its members' interests
and concerns for future development. In order to maintain awareness of member goals and visions,
ADF should regularly and deliberately communicate with its members to assess their needs. ADF
could then administer surveys and regular assessments to determine the best areas in which to focus
its programming. ADF must prepare to adjust its development activities in order to accomodate for
changing economic needs and directions to best support its members.
A tax levy would create an additional stream of funding with which ADF is enabled to increase and
improve its development activities. Because raising taxes effects everyone, ADF must be transparent
about the intended purpose of the money generated by implementing a tax levy and how the money
will benefit the whole county.
Knox County public school systems is facing competition from homeschooling. Families may opt for
homeschooling because there is a lack of trust or misperception about the quality of schools in the
county. Public schools have the unique opportunity to make connections and create programs with
vocational schools to create a more holistic education experience for their students. For example, Mt.
Vernon City Schools have fostered connections with several vocational schools in Mt. Vernon. ADF
should assist other public schools in extending these partnerships to better cater to the population and
ADF is positioned to be a resource for facilitating partnerships across Knox County. ADF could
be a platform to connect interested individuals and organizations to other members in the area for
development and new projects. In this way, the foundation could act as a catalyst for change and
growth in the county. Additionally, ADF should continue to develop its website in order to update
residents and developers alike on development projects and opportunities in the county. ADF should
also establish itself as a collector of potential projects and connect players with the right partners in
the county. Through ADF, county players can discover new methods and collaborations that could
eventually lead to greater projects and goals.
B. COALTION INTERESTS
C. TAX LEVY FOR ADF
D. PUBLIC SCHOOLS/HOMESCHOOLING
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 47
This economic development plan prepared by The Ohio State
University City and Regional Planning Studio lays the groundwork to
re-establish Knox County’s status as an economic force. The Ohio
State and the Area Development Foundation have a strong history
of partnership with a planning collaboration on a mid-1960s study
that resulted in the creation of the Ariel Foundation Park. It is only
fitting that The Ohio State University and ADF come full circle with
the current economic development plan. The recommendations
set out by the plan encourage strong determination in order
for them to be realized. The Area Development Foundation of
Knox County should adopt these recommendations to catalyze
growth and development for the entire county. Each of these
actions implemented by ADF will foster productive relationships,
strengthen economic and financial programming, and establish
ADF as a partner and leader for Knox County. With a strong sense of
community spirit and an impressive existing support structure, Knox
County is well positioned to revitalize itself for the 21st Century.
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 49
The following is an account of businesses and services found within
Knox County. Information is organized by type of program within the
county, and includes contact information, location, website, and
a brief description for each entry. When possible a primary contact
is provided for further outreach. This appendix has been created
to inform the Area Development Foundation about the various
organizations which make up the community.
50 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Address: 35 Blackjack Road Ext, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 397-0311
About: Worlds largest manufacturor of separable reciprocating gas compressors.
Address: 116 S Main St, Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050
About: Originally and ice cream and candy shop founded in Mt Vernon, the Alcove currently serves as a dining room with charming banquet
David J. McElroy
Address: 200 Commerce Drive, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
About: Metal fabricator which supplies its product to the original automotive equipment menufacturers, as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers.
Address: 51 Parrott St, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: A Northern Appalachian hardwood lumber company, a a rich tradition of utilizing green and kiln dried lumber.
Central Ohio Fabricators
Address: 105 Progress Dr, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: A detailed and high quality manufacturor of industrial racks.
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 51
Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnston
Clinton G. Bailey
Address: 10 S Gay St, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: A civil practice which actively engages in civic life of the community, with the highest ethical standards.
Address: 8924 Columbus Rd, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 392-1383
About: A manufacturing company specializing in waterjet cutting and fabrication.
Dennis & Schisler, Inc.
Kenneth E. Dennis, CPA
Address: 206 S Mulberry St # A, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 397-1721
About: Accounting services offered to large entities, as well as small capabilities for individual needs.
ECR Computers, Networks, and Web Design
Address: 895 Harcourt Road, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (877) 392-9246
About: Internet Technology support company for business needs.
Address: 106 West Ohio Avenue Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050
Phone: (740) 393-4040
About: Importer of European supplies supplying North Americas tooling and distribution sectors. Euro Link offers high quality products in a
timely fashion at affordable rates.
52 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
First-Knox National Bank
Vickie A. Saint
Address: One South Main Street, PO Box 1270, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 399-5120
About: Bank proving financial services including but not limited to personal, business, and investment in Knox County.
Flowers-Snyder Funeral Home
C. Clay Snyder
Address: 619 E High St, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 392-6956
About: A funeral home serving Knox County, which believes in the importance of accepting change and celebrating life.
Heating & Cooling Products
Address: 325 Commerce Dr, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (724) 974-1540
About: A heasting and cooling production manufacturor. Heating and Cooling Products goal is to distribute the highest quality sheet metal
Info-link technologies inc
Address: 601 Pittsburgh Ave, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: A provider of computer solutions for education and business, as well as individuals in Knox County.
Address: 8800 Granville Rd, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 397-5215
About: A paper-based packager of paper and pulp, which leads the industry globally.
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 53
Address: 1201 Newark Rd, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: High quality designer of windows and doors, providing services for historic renovation, lighthouse restoration, improving livable spaces
and window safety at home.
First Federal Savings & Loan Centerburg
Address: 5 E Main St, Centerburg, OH 43011
Phone: (740) 625-5392
About: Trusted banking specializing in FDIC insured deposits and mortgage loans in Centerburg Ohio.
Mike & Patty Burch
Address: 17860 Ankneytown Rd Fredericktown, OH 43019
About: Treatment and drying of municipal biosolids and other types of semi-solid sludges.
Address: 10439 Sparta Rd, Fredericktown, OH 43019
Phone: (740) 694-5096
About: Oldest independent fabricator of metal culvert pipes in the state of Ohio
FT Precision, Inc.
Address: 9731 Mt Gilead Rd, Fredericktown, OH 43019
About: Manfacturor, which accurately machine and assembles combustion engine rocker arms
54 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Rolls-Royce Energy Systems Inc.
Address: 105 N Sandusky St, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 393-8888
About: Production of MTU high speed engines and propulsion systems for ships, oil and gas industry, heavy land, and rail and defense vehicles.
Central Ohio Technical College, Knox Campus
Dr. Bonnie Coe
Address: 236 South Main Street, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 366-9494
About: Technical college, part time high school program
Knox County Career Center
Address: 308 Martinsburg Road, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 397-5820 x2254
About: Vocation District, including a preschool
Knox County Career Center - Adult Education
Address: 308 Martinsburg Road, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 393-2933 x1104
About: Vocational Adult education program
Knox County Career Center - High School
Address: 306 Martinsburg Road, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 397-5820 x2223
About: Vocational High School program
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 55
St. Vincent de Paul
Address: 206 East Chestnut Street, Mt. Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 393-3611
About: 178 Students
Mount Vernon Nazarene University
Dr. Henry Spaulding, II
Address: 800 Martinsburg Rd, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 392-6868 x4200
About: 2,267 Total Students, 242 Employees - 79 Full-time - 163 Part-time
Mount Vernon City
William (Bill) Seder Jr.
Address: 300 Newark Road, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 397-7422 x6025
About: 1 High, 1 Middle, 6 Elementary
Address: 119 S. Preston Street, Centerburg, Ohio 43011
Phone: (740) 625-6346
About: 1 High, 1 Middle, 1 Elementary
Address: 117 Columbus Road, Fredericktown, OH 43019
Phone: (740) 694-2956
About: 1 High, 1 Middle, 1 Elementary
56 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Address: W Rambo Street, Danville, OH 43014
Phone: (740) 599-6116 x3229
About: 1 High, 1 Middle, 1 Elementary
East Knox Local
Address: 23201 Coshocton Road, Howard, OH 43028
Phone: (740) 599-7493
About: 1 Jr/Sr High, 1 Elementary
Address: 106 College Park Drive, Gambier, OH 43022
Phone: (740) 427-5114
About: 182 Admin Staff, 1,676 Undergraduates, Oldest private college in Ohio (1824)
Mid-Ohio Corporate Care
Address: 1490 Coshocton Rd, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: Associated with Hospital
York Eyecare Associates
Address: 1684 Venture Drive, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: Services include: Eye evaluation, treatment of eye diseases, and Lasik
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 57
Whispering Hills Care Center
Address: 416 Wooster Road, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: For-Profit Nursing home, 44 beds, 2 star rating
Sleep Medicine Clinic
Address: 307 Vernedale Drive, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: Deals with sleep related illnesses and treatments
Alcohol & Drug Freedom Center
Address: 106 East Gambier Street, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: Community outreach programs for women, intensive care, and adolescents. They also have many treatment programs and Medical
Assisted Treament. Get’s funding from the county.
Fresenius Medical Care Knox County
Address: 14 Woodlake Trail, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
KCH Urgent Care
Address: 1490 Coshocton Ave, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
Phone: (740) 393-9111
58 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Knox Community Hospital
Address: 1330 Coshocton Rd, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: Non-profit hospital, etc.....
Center for Rehab and Wellness
Address: 3782 Columbus Road, Centerburg, OH 43011
Address: 29 North Clayton St, Centerburg, OH 43011
Family Medicine Center
Address: 4550 OH-229, Centerburg, OH 43011
Centerburg Chiroppratic Center
Address: 29 North Clayton St, Centerburg, OH 43011
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 59
Foster’s Healthmart Pharmacy - Centerburg
Address: 4584 Columbus Rd, Centerburg, OH 43011
Phone: (740) 625-7626
About: 3 locations: 2 in Mt Vernon, 1 Centerburg. Its a pharmacy...
Knox Community Hospital Family Medicine - Centerburg
Dr. Ron T. Martinson
Address: 4581 Columbus Rd, Centerburg, OH 43011
Phone: (740) 625 6234
Knox Community Hospital Family Medicine - Fredericktown
Dr. Edward D Blackburn
Address: 16361 Village Parkway, Fredricktown, OH 43019
About: Family Medicine, Family & Emergency Medicine
Fredricktown Family Practice
Dr. Jeffrey Bowers
Address: 16361 Village Parkway, Fredricktown, OH 43019
Phone: (740) 694-2110
About: Hospitalist, Geriatric Practitioner, Family Practitioner
Fredricktown Veterinary Clinic
Dr. D. Scott Harmon
Address: 156 Columbus Rd, Fredricktown, OH 43019
About: Vet clinic, work heavily with cattle and equine medicine
60 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
American Health Network
Dr. WIlliam Elder
Address: 122 Columbus Rd, Fredricktown, OH 43019
About: Family Medicine, Preventative health, osteopathic, Dr. Elder is a Fredericktown native
Mental Health and Recovery of Knox and Licking
Address: 1435 W Main St, Newark, OH 43055
Phone: (740) 522 1234
Address: 117 East High Street, Suite 120, Mount Vernon, OH 43050
About: Chief fiscal officer of the county and tax assesor. Cannot legally audit anyone. That is the role of the Auditor of the State
Regional Planning Commission
Address: 117 E. High Street Ste 221, Mt. Vernon, OH 43050
About: Addresses issues larger than a single municipality, Figures out improvements for health, safety and welfare of the residents of Knox
Clerk of Courts
Mary Jo Hawkins
Address: 117 E. High Street Ste 201, Mt. Vernon, OH 43050
About: Finds ways to make the county offices more accountable and accessible to the public. Receives, dockets, indexes, certifies, and preserves
county pleadings and court orders among other legal documents. Also serves court papers such as subpoenas.
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 61
Address: 117 E. High Street Ste 161, Mt. Vernon, OH 43050
About: Commissioners are the main executive branch of the county. Provides efficient government opportunities for the county as well as
promotes strategic development tactics.
Department of Jobs and Family Services
Address: 117 East High Street, 3rd and 4th Floors, Mt. Vernon, OH 43050
About: Promotes development of employment and economic opportunities for individuals and families within Knox County.
Address: 117 E. High St, Suite 103, Mt. Vernon, OH 43050
About: County’s chief investment officer. Duties are similar to the duties of banks including the collection and management of payments and
receipts. Keeps track of transactions and balances them with the Auditor on a daily basis.
62 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
OhioMeansJobs Knox Center
Address: 17604 Coshocton Road, Mt. Vernon, OH 43050
About: Provides resources for and personally assists job seekers and employers including resources for potential careers and training opportu-
Chamber of Commerce
Address: 400 S Gay St, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: Represents/promotes the local businesses and economy as a whole while encouraging future business/industrial investment. Provides
employment opportunities and is able to broaden the tax base.
Mt. Vernon City Council
Address: 1365 New Gambier Road, Mt Vernon, OH 43050
About: Legislative body that governs county government. Policy makers
Capital City Oil
Address: 375 Columbus Road Mt. Vernon OH 43050
About: Recycling of Antifreeze, gasoline, motor oil, and oil filters.
Ross Bros Salvage Inc.
Address: 106 Tilden Ave Mt Vernon OH 43050
About: Recycling of steel, scrap metal,brass, copper, aluminum and batteries.
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 63
Address: 301 Columbus Road Mt. Vernon OH 43050
About: Recycling of scrap metal,plastic bottles, glass, appliances, cardboard and food cans.
US Consolidated Farm Services Agency
Address: 1025 Harcourt Road Mt Vernon OH 43050
About: This agency will provide USDA regulations and financial support for the Knox County agiculture.
Knox County Water/Wastewater
Address: 17602 Coshocton Road Mt. Vernon OH 43050
About: To provide clean water to Knox county and provide proper water waste protection.
Address: 40 Public Square, Suite 206, Mt. Vernon, OH 43050
About: Mayors have an abundance of responsibilities but generally they oversee all of a town’s operations and advise specific branches as well as
the public. Spokesperson for the city council and the general public
Address: 49 1/2 E Main St, Centerburg, OH 43011
64 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Address: 2 E. Sandusky St., Fredericktown, OH 43019
Green Machine Recycling
Address: 10439 Sparta Road Fredricktown OH 43019
About: To provide recycling for asphalt and shingles aluminum, brick, cardboard, pvc piping, steel, paper and plactic.
Address: 512 Market Street, Danville, OH 43014
Ohio House of Representatives
Margaret Ann Ruhl
Address: 77 S. High St, 11th Floor, Columbus, OH 43215
About: Representative for the citizens of Knox County, listen to their concerns and relay them to other State representatives to develop effective
solutions. This is done through legislative action
Collins Country Greenhouse & Farm Market LLC
Address: 7211 Patton Road Mt. Vernon OH 43050
About: The sale for fresh produce to support community farmers. Collins also offers commuinty supported agiculture which allow local resi-
dents to pay a fee and recieve fresh grown produce throughout the growing season.
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 65
4-H Youth Development
Address: 160 Columbus Road Mt Vernon OH 43050
About: 4-H provides life learning skills for kids ages 5 thru 19.
OSU Extension Knox County
Address: 160 Columbus Road Mt Vernon OH 43050
About: OSU provides knox county with 4H programs community support and development for agiculture and natural resources.
The Knox County Agricultural Museum
Address: 125 Fairgounds Road Mt Vernon OH 43050
About: This agricultural museum will take you on a trip from the 1800 and 1900. The museum will give you an ideal of what it was like to live as
an early settler and history of Knox County.
Heritage Centre Association
Norita F Hissong
Address: 120 South Main Street Mt. Vernon OH 43050
About: Heritage is a community organization that promotes economic development in the downtown distict while perserving the historical
sites in knox county. They also host a number of festvials and events in the downtown district.
Area Development Foundation Of Knox County
Address: 110 East High Street Mt Vernon Ohio 43050
66 Foundations for the Future of Knox County
Dan Emmett Music & Art Festival
Address: 107 S Main Street Mt Vernon Ohio 43050
About: The Dan Emmit music festivals started in 1988 by a group of Mt. Vernon Citizen the wanted quality a quality art and music festival.
Mt Vernon Christmas Walk & Parade
Norita F Hissong
Address: 120 South Main Street Mt. Vernon OH 43050
About: Hosted by the Heritage organization.
First Friday Mt Vernon
Address: 102 South Main Street Mt. Vernon Ohio 43050
About: Sponored by the chamber of commerce with live entainment food, harvest market and a car cruise in with a petting zoo from May thru
October on the first friday of the month.
Knox County Fair
Address: 601 Fairgounds Road Mt Vernon Ohio 43050
About: Knox County fair supports everything from 4H to boys and girls scouts, live music, food, rides and agirculture is the the highlight of the
fair for the last 150 years.
Kno Ho CO
J. Michael Stephen
Address: 309 S. Main Street Mt Vernon Ohio 43050
Phone: 740-622-9801 x 1014
About: Kno ho Co is a non profit community out reach center for Knox, Cochoston, and Ashland County. The provied econmonic support to
help people in need of finacial and medical assistance.
Foundations for the Future of Knox County 67
Address: 103 North Main Street Mt. Vernon Ohio 43050
About: The YMCA provides healthly exercise options for the whole famliy.
Mid Ohio Regional Council
Address: 1 Avalon Road #1 Mt Vernon Ohio 43050
About: MEORC supports providing services to persons with developmental disability.
Heart of Ohio USA Days
Address: PO Box 594 Centerburg Ohio 43011
About: The Heart of Ohio festival has been in the community for ten years this festival provides entrainment for the whole family.
Old Time Farming Festival
Address: PO Box 668 Centerburg Ohio 43011
About: Old Time Farming Festival is a agriculture festival that promotes farming this festvial has been in place for the last twenty-four years.
Fredricktown Tomato Show
About: This will be the fourty year of the tomato festival in Fredricktown.