Athens County Economic Development Council releases new comprehensive strategic plan

Plan has strong emphasis on site development, living wage jobs and business investment


Athens, OH – February 21, 2017 – At its February 15th board meeting, the Athens County Economic Development Council moved to adopt a new comprehensive, county-wide economic development strategic plan that sets goals for site development infrastructure, increasing living wage jobs, and securing business investments in Athens County. Following a request for qualifications last March, the ACEDC hired business development consultant The Montrose Group to complete the plan. Its five-year goals include:

  • Adding 2,500 new high wage jobs paying about $17.40/hour
  • Cutting children poverty rate by 5 points
  • Increasing per capita incomes by 15%


The strategic plan is a product of the Montrose Group’s “Learn-Listen-Do” approach, which combines extensive community research and data analyses with a series of community, university, business and political stakeholder focus groups. Using this information and feedback, Montrose developed a detailed action plan tied to local and outside funding sources centered on business retention, attraction of high wage jobs, and business investment through a forthcoming community fund for emerging companies and entrepreneurs.


“These goals are lofty but we must aim high and challenge ourselves as a community to support positive economic change for long term, lasting benefits,” explains ACEDC executive director Sara Marrs-Maxfield.


It is the hope of the ACEDC that other city and village councils and development entities adopt the plan as well to ensure cohesive and successful execution. On February 15th, the Athens County Port Authority moved to endorse the strategic plan and discussed leading components of its site development efforts. Port Authority Board Chairperson Jack Bortle added, “the plan provides a path to reaching our goal of attracting companies who can provide good jobs for the people of Athens County. The Port Authority looks forward to helping execute the plan successfully.” The Athens County Commissioners also moved to adopt the plan as the county’s strategic economic development plan at the February 21st Commissioner meeting.


Several steps to implement the strategic plan have already been taken by the ACEDC, including a rebrand of the organization and the rollout of its new website. The ACEDC has requested funding increases from its partners for plan execution, and are in the process of forming strategic plan sub-committees that cater to specific objectives. ACEDC Chairperson Lenny Eliason explained, “the plan also ties in the private sector with public sector efforts, which will be crucial in creating more jobs for Athens County citizens.”


Review the ACEDC Strategic Plan at