Warsaw Ranks High In Site Selection Magazine

Warsaw placed in the top 22 for economic development success among small cities in a recent ranking by Site Selection magazine.
The magazine, which serves the corporate real estate field, ranked 100 micropolitans, or small cities, by looking at the number of projects, the jobs and capital investment in each area. Warsaw ranked number 22 in the top 22, in a tie with several Louisiana and Ohio cities.
Among states, Indiana placed sixth in the top 12 with seven high-scoring micropolitans, just below Kansas and above a tie between Texas and Tennessee. Other Indiana micropolitans making the top 100 include Frankfort, Huntington, Jasper, Madison and Seymour.
Findlay, Ohio, took the number one spot among micropolitans, one of 20 ranking Ohio towns that put the state itself at the top of the list – twice as many towns as the second-rank tie between Kentucky and North Carolina.
This is Warsaw’s first time making the list, said George Robertson, president of the Kosciusko Economic Development Corp. KEDCo was recognized in the rankings for attracting $72 million in investment and 145 jobs. 
Robertson noted the magazine and Conway Data, which compiled the rankings, are very credible in the economic development field, and said inclusion matters because it puts Warsaw on the radar for a lot of site selectors and corporate real estate executives.
He credited Indiana’s ranking to a business-friendly environment and pro-economic development efforts in the state.
“In a sense the reputation and business climate of a state is critical to any community’s success, but for micropolitan areas, it is the strength of the local governments and economic development efforts,” Robertson said. “Obviously, we have a strong focus on workforce because by definition a micropolitan area is far enough away from a metropolitan area not to benefit from 30-mile commuters.”
Robertson explained that micropolitans are towns that fall outside of larger cities’ federally designated metropolitan statistical areas, such as those surrounding Fort Wayne, South Bend and Elkhart-Goshen. Wabash, Rochester and Plymouth are counted as micropolitans; Columbia City is not because it’s within the Fort Wayne statistical area.
“The feds consider these communities as bedroom communities to the larger city and they benefit from being in a metro market where there is more likely to be a large labor pool,” he said. “Since workforce is the number one driver of the decision on whether to locate or expand, the challenge to micropolitan areas is to stay ahead of the workforce curve.”
He observed that many states, like Ohio, put a greater emphasis on tools and resources for the micropolitan areas. The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, under the lieutenant governor, is beginning to do more and more of that, he said. OCRA oversees community development block grants and the Indiana Main Street program, which provides economic revitalization and professional assistance to cities restoring their downtowns.
In announcing Warsaw’s inclusion on the list, KEDCo expressed appreciation to the city council, redevelopment commission and city staff, and recognized “the significant role our county government and its employees do in creating a welcoming, pro-business, fiscally responsible environment.”

(Story By The Times Union)