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Q & A
Special Q & A Section for Persons Conducting A Site Search
This web site has been designed for busy site search professionals, including business owners, executives, researchers and seasoned consultants. We realize that most visitors must be as efficient with their time as possible, so the 24 most commonly asked questions are presented here with summarized answers. If you are at the initial stages of a site search, it is a good investment of your time to review this section in its entirety. We then invite you to contact our Department of Economic and Community Development so we can partner with you to advance to Blue Ash.
Q: For purposes of my site search, how is Blue Ash, Ohio is different from other cities?
A: (1) We are a value-added community. (2) You can locate here and not worry about negative surprises after your start-up is completed. (3) As professionals working for city government, we love what we do, who we work with and who we work for-our 2,000 businesses and nearly 12,000 residents.
Q: What or where is the central point of contact for economic development in Blue Ash, Ohio?
A: It is the Department of Economic and Community Development, a unit of the City of Blue Ash municipal government. The primary contact, Neil Hensley, Economic Development Director, can be reached at 513-745-8524 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What should I expect from your economic development department?
A: The economic development director and her staff are here to collectively serve you as your trusted business advisor, working with integrity and candor to establish how your organization can advance to Blue Ash to achieve your goals. Our professional team is your one stop to facilitate your entire site search analysis of Blue Ash.
Q: What geographic area does your department represent?
A: Our role is to cultivate business growth within the 7.7 square miles of Blue Ash, Ohio. Since we are a team player with the regional marketing initiative, we are knowledgeable and networked in matters pertaining to the Greater Cincinnati area that may be important to your Blue Ash location decision.
Q: What is the difference between "economic" and "community" development?
A: Essentially, economic development is the process of having us bring Blue Ash to life in front of you with information, introductions and interpretations of site location opportunities. Community development is our orderly process of ensuring that real property is designed, developed and occupied according to reasonable and consistent standards. These are standards of quality that enhance the value of your investment and add economic value for our community.
A: Department directors have considerable latitude to deliver services within established policy. Special circumstances are presented to the city manager who administers the day-to-day business operations and long-term planning for city government. The city manager will work with the mayor and city council to provide assistance, recognizing that any assistance provided to one company must not be detrimental to others or the community at-large.
Q: What is the key to success in working with your local people?
A: (1) Be as candid as possible with site search criteria and corporate objectives. (2) Have one person as your primary spokesperson throughout the project so your messages are consistent. (3) Visit Blue Ash sooner rather than later.
Q: How hungry is Blue Ash for jobs?
A: We realize that most companies exist to make a profit and pay dividends to their shareholders, not to create jobs. Similarly, our view is that jobs are only one positive aspect of growing a business base. Blue Ash is enthusiastic to work with progressive companies who will be around 20-30 years from now. Jobs created today mean more to us if they are here tomorrow.
Q: Is Blue Ash going to compete aggressively for us like the other cities we are talking to?
A: Of course! Our first responsibility to you is to ascertain whether or not your project is a good fit with our existing corporate community and our city's commitment to quality. If, like most companies we work with, your project is compatible, we will work tirelessly and with enthusiasm to advance you to Blue Ash.
Q: How do you determine if a specific project is a "good fit?"
A: Before we even learn what the project is, sizing up the attitude, cooperation and communication style of the client is human nature. The attitude of the site search executive speaks volumes about whether a project is fully funded, well planned and served by a good support team. The proposed project is a good fit if the business function and the real estate development are commensurate with the types of operations and facilities already present in Blue Ash.
Q: Why is the compatibility of a "good fit" so important to Blue Ash?
A: Many of the other communities you are probably considering for your location share such similar traits they almost look alike. A "good fit" means we do not lose our distinction as a well balanced community. The City of Blue Ash has been asked by our residents to not lose our unique sense of "community" nor our aesthetic beauty. Further, many of our prominent corporate citizens thank us for having reasonable standards of quality because their Blue Ash location is a credit to their corporate image.
Q: Since "compatibility" with the community is also very important to us, what types of businesses are a good fit for Blue Ash?
A: Our land use plan continues to be ideal for Class A office space in manicured office parks. We seek to encourage forward thinking, mixed-use developments that embed residential, entertainment and hospitality features. The retail establishments we desire serve our top-tier demographics, with boutique quality, niche-market services. For our existing buildings, office operations, research and development and even many types of light industrial projects are compatible.
Q: Since we understand the importance of a good fit, I need to know now what types of businesses are not a good fit for Blue Ash.
A: Our Strategic Vision suggests that we do not want to deepen the existing base of fast food franchises, automotive service shops and other forms of commercial activity that can easily be accessed within minutes outside of Blue Ash. Additionally, we are not encouraging big box retailers and shopping malls.
Q: Are you pro-business or anti-business in Blue Ash?
A: Visit Blue Ash, Ohio and see the 2,000 businesses operating within 7.7 miles to understand that we have an attractive business climate where organizations aspire to innovation and achieve prosperity. From time to time, there are businesses approaching us with projects that are clearly not a good fit. If Blue Ash is not right for your project, we will give you excellent recommendations for other communities in the region that would be a better fit.
Q: How long will it take us to get through your site plan review process?
A: If your site plan is complete and we schedule a first work session where your development team meets with our team, the review process can be a matter of weeks, not months. Our attitude is to be customer oriented, not a government bureaucracy. Therefore, the actual time frame will be determined largely by how ready you are with your plans and how many meetings you need to get all of your pertinent persons folded into the process.
Q: Do I work with the State of Ohio in separate discussions about taxes and incentives?
A: We have a very close working relationship with representatives from the State of Ohio for business climate topics. If you do not already have an established relationship with someone in state government for taxes, job training, incentives, etc., it is a standard part of our service to introduce you to the right people to expedite your due diligence. There is a representative of the Governor's Office for Economic Development based in our metropolitan area and our recommendation is to let us set a meeting with state officials as part of the agenda when you visit Blue Ash.
Q: Since we found out about Blue Ash from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, should we keep working with them instead of contacting you?
A: Your comfort is important to us so if you have developed strong rapport with a specific person at the Cincinnati Regional Partnership office, we will work through them to serve your needs. The reality is that all site searches end up at the local level so it is going to save you time and therefore money to come to us early in your search and talk directly with Blue Ash if you are seriously considering our community.
Q: Our business operation in Blue Ash is considering expansion and I am free to choose any compatible city in America for our new capacity. Does Blue Ash care?
A: Of course we care! Now that you have made us aware of your need, we can do something about it. Because you are a valued member of our corporate community, we offer you courteous, prompt and professional assistance as we want you to achieve your new goals in Blue Ash. Call us or click on the "contact" link now as we are prepared to meet with you at your office or anywhere else you designate to discuss your expansion as soon as possible.
Q: Your economic development department is part of city government so how can you honor our request for confidentiality?
A: We do our best to balance the public's "right to know" with companies' concerns that they must keep trade secrets or the site search itself confidential. During the initial stages of your site search our department keeps your information confidential and the existence of your project is only on a "need to know" basis within the municipal government. We use a code system in lieu of your company name in our files and records. Should you desire a zoning change or other procedural request, it is your decision as to how to label your project's identity to ensure that honest communication about the project occurs without needlessly revealing the end identity of your company. All reasonable care will be taken by our staff members to not divulge what is not required to be disclosed.
Q: As a small business owner I want to be sure that I'll be as welcome locating in Blue Ash as a big company would be. Will I?
A: The entire small business community is essential to the economic vitality of Blue Ash. Prioritizing how to allocate manpower to assist the business community is often based on the economic impact of a given project-not the size of the company. A small business with an innovative project being developed with significant market potential is as important to us as a major company's expansion. Regardless of what your service or product is, we welcome your inquiry and will do our best to assist you.
Q: As a small business owner why can't I get incentives like the big companies can?
A: The State of Ohio is the entity with business incentives programs in all Ohio cities that meet basic criteria. Some of the incentives are driven by the magnitude of your project's economic impact, and some are there to specifically help small businesses. At the local level, you are treated the same as the largest company because the City of Blue Ash does not have a formal incentives program for any company-regardless of size. When a given business or non-profit has a specific need that fits within the realm of the mission of local government, we do consider providing "in-kind" assistance to benefit the business as a whole, since that, in turn, benefits the community's economic vitality.
Q: Do you have all the available land and buildings information or do I have to work through a realtor just to get started?
A: The City of Blue Ash works in cooperation with companies that own, manage and represent available buildings and land. We have listings of many properties on this web site. When you find properties of interest in our listing, we suggest you contact the representative of each property. We are happy to set up first meetings to discuss properties or accompany you to tour the properties.
Q: After we locate here, will you forget us so you can chase the next "new" company?
A: Absolutely not. We believe in providing "service after the sale." Our existing companies-our corporate residents of all sizes-are very important to us. After you locate here, we will tastefully fold you into our existing industry program so your leadership team in Blue Ash can stay plugged into developments of interest to you. We will have touch-point luncheons with our city manager, mayor and council members so we may listen to you and get to know the realities you face each day as you lead your company.