RITTMAN — The city has hired an economic development advisor to gain a competitive edge in its quest to attract new business.

Rittman will contract with Emily Lipovan, founder and partner of Experium360, who has more than 25 years in the project development and economic development field. She previously served as a Cleveland city councilwoman and has strong ties to the manufacturing industry, according to Rittman City Manager Derek Feuerstein.

“The city hopes to learn from Ms. Lipovan and from her experiences so we can continue to put our best foot forward,” Feuerstein said. “Ms. Lipovan has many connections to the manufacturing industry and our hope is those connections can help market the industrial park and bring interested parties to learn more about Rittman.”

The Wayne Economic Development Council has served as a “tremendous resource” for Rittman, according to Feuerstein, but the city lacks a full-time economic development staff or a fully-staffed Chamber of Commerce like other cities in the county.

Lipovan came recommended by the city of Norton. She’s looking forward to meeting with city employees and the greater business community in Rittman.

“I am excited for the opportunity to ... learn more about the existing condition, assets, opportunities and the capacity for growth within the business community,” she said. “I am looking forward to listening to and meeting the city departments, companies, stakeholders and employees of the community.”

Rittman’s top priority is for Lipovan to help them with its economic development of the industrial park that formerly housed the Caraustar-Rittman Paperboard company, but she also will work with the city to find other economic development opportunities.

Urban Renewals II, a limited liability corporation established by Hull & Associates, purchased the 300-acre site from Caraustar Mill Group in 2013. The site will contain a 75-acre industrial property and a 210-acre wildlife preserve and recreation area, all part of a comprehensive brownfield revitalization project by Urban Renewals II.

The company received a grant from JobsOhio to help improve the property and is marketing a 75-acre industrial property on the site in partnership with JobsOhio.

With Rittman as a municipal sponsor, Urban Renewals II was also approved by the Ohio Public Works Commission for more than $2.5 million in grant funds through the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund for the nature preserve.

 

Reporter Emily Morgan can be reached at 330-287-1632 or emorgan@the-daily-record.com.