Reflecting Over the Past Year
As the year draws to a close, there is so much to reflect on and to be excited about throughout our county. Once again this year, we’ve seen so many organizations and projects that have a positive impact on our community and that will continue to pay dividends for many years to come. Here’s a list of just a few of the many significant achievements that are continuing to transform our county.
Our Licking County Courthouse is a community icon. The completion of a multi-million-dollar renovation was completed this year. It returns this gem to its historical grandeur and is a perfect emblem for our county’s pride and achievement. This project is also a signature for the completion of the comprehensive streetscape and infrastructure improvements that have been a critical component of the on-going downtown renovations and reinvestment of both public and private funds into our county seat’s reinvigorated downtown – a long-term redevelopment initiative of Newark Development Partners.
Another iconic Licking County institution announced an expansion that strengthens and adds value to its operations this year. Park National Bank entered the Carolina marketplace through acquisitions of existing banks. This adds depth, breadth, and reach to one of our community’s largest employers and community supporters – and helps “build our brand” throughout the country!
Several other significant achievements took place in and near downtown Newark in 2018. Our friends at The Works unveiled an amazing new frontier with the launch of SciDome. This new technology will not only give area students – young and old – a totally new exposure to science and technology, it will also increase visitors from far and wide to our community as they come to experience this unique asset.
Those SciDome visitors won’t have to go far to learn more about all the things to see and do in Licking County. This is because Explore Licking County has become one of many new downtown tenants this year. Our energetic and creative convention and visitors experts now call downtown home while waiting on their permanent Sullivan Building home, as the Licking County Foundation-led restoration to this landmark continues to transpire.
We’ve seen good news throughout the county, as well. Our western region continues to experience growth and investment, most recently with the announcement of a new Kohl’s distribution center set to locate in Etna Township. This 1.2 million square foot facility may eventually house up to 3,000 employees! It’s yet another great success for an area of our community that continues to see investment and growth.
Similarly, new “market ready” industrial facilities have been added in the city of Heath this year, thanks to investment by Southgate Development and the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority. These new facilities demonstrate the interest in our community by industrial users, and the confidence of a development community ready to meet their needs.
Another good news story is the completion of the Buckeye Lake Dam project. This significant infrastructure project offers a rebirth of the Buckeye Lake community, with normal water levels, new walkways, and beautification projects awaiting boat owners and tourists next year.
That’s a reflection on a few of the countless, and significant positive changes we have seen throughout our community. I’m so proud of all we continue to achieve, together, and excited about the achievements 2019 will bring. Stay tuned.