Featured News Archives for 2016-06

Visitors will soon see new welcome signs when they enter Hardin County on U.S. and state routes. The Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance unveiled new ‘Welcome to Hardin County’ signs on Tuesday featuring the county logo of a ‘great place to live, work and prosper’ as well as the county website, hardincountyoh.org.

Visitors will soon see new welcome signs when they enter Hardin County on U.S. and state routes. The Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance unveiled new ‘Welcome to Hardin County’ signs on Tuesday featuring the county logo of a ‘great place to live, work and prosper’ as well as the county website, hardincountyoh.org.

The 15 signs, which were made locally by Scioto Signs, were paid for by the county commissioners, the Hardin County Community Foundation, the villages of Ada, Forest and Mount Victory, the City of Kenton and the Ada CIC.


The 2016 Eats on the Street Festival held in downtown Kenton Friday night was a big success. Jacqualine Fitzgerald, Director of Community Development for the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance said the weather was perfect for the event which left people wanting more, "People keep asking when are we going to do this next year, can we do it sooner? We had quite the crowd last night. The weather was perfect, we couldn't ask for anything better."

The 2016 Eats on the Street Festival held in downtown Kenton Friday night was a big success.

Jacqualine Fitzgerald, Director of Community Development for the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance said the weather was perfect for the event which left people wanting more, "People keep asking when are we going to do this next year, can we do it sooner? We had  quite the crowd last night. The weather was perfect, we couldn't ask for anything better."

As for a rough crowd estimate, "There were over 5000 at one point around 7o'clock. We'll probably have a little better a count next week. Someone had a GoPro and a drone out there so we'll get more of a feel I'm sure next week."

One of the activities at Eats on the Street was the Chairs For Hope auction to benefit Night By Choice, which Fitzgerald said brought in more money this year than last, "I was told that total was $13,500, so it's better than last year. I think it's maybe a $1000 higher than it was last year, so it was amazing that the community comes out. I guess I shouldn't be amazed, because we have such a giving wonderful community."


Twelve food trucks from Columbus will roll into downtown Kenton on Friday afternoon for the second Eats on the Street Fest. The event will run from 5 to 10 p.m. and also feature activities for children, an auction to benefit a local cancer support group, a car and motorcycle show and a live band. It is presented by the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance.

Twelve food trucks from Columbus will roll into downtown Kenton on Friday afternoon for the second Eats on the Street Fest.

The event will run from 5 to 10 p.m. and also feature activities for children, an auction to benefit a local cancer support group, a car and motorcycle show and a live band.

It is presented by the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance.

A year ago at the inaugural event, six food trucks made the trip and were greeted by long lines of people who weren’t deterred by a light rain.

News of the success of the fest made its way back to Columbus, resulting in a doubling of the food trucks this year.

“I had people calling me (to participate),” said Jacqualine Fitzgerald, Director of Community Development with the Alliance. “It was nice.”

Scheduled to participate are Kona Ice, Pitabilities, Phillybuster, Paddy Wagon, Schmidts, Dos Hermanos Taco, Mixing Bowl Asian Grill, Barley 31, Cupzilla Korean BBQ, Eric’s Ice Cream, Sweet The Mobile Cupcakery and Dine & Dash.

The food trucks will be lined up along Columbus Street from Detroit to Wayne. There will be limited seating with 12 picnic tables added this year.

Registration for the car/motorcycle show will begin at 4 p.m. at the corner of Main and Carrol streets. The fee is $15 per vehicle.

A Kids Zone will be located on the courthouse lawn at the corner of Columbus and Main streets. There will be face painting, an appearance by Tater the Clown and 3D chalk artists.

At 6 p.m., a Chairs of Hope Auction to benefit Not By Choice, a local group that provides support for cancer patients, will be conducted on the east side of the courthouse.

On display on Main Street will be Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 NASCAR vehicle. People can register to win an autographed racing helmet.

The band Wet Bandits will begin performing at 7 p.m. on the east side of the courthouse.

Craft and draft beer will be available, as well as wine from a local winery, Fitzgerald said.

Nice weather is forecast and she expects a big turnout.

“I think it’s going to be slam packed,” Fitzgerald said.


Hardin County is doing the right things to attract business and industry according to an economic development expert. Christine Schmenk, of the Brickler and Eckler law firm of Columbus, told a group of about 20 area leaders that Hardin County has developed a “pretty impressive” five-year plan.

Hardin County is doing the right things to attract business and industry according to an economic development expert.

Christine Schmenk, of the Brickler and Eckler law firm of Columbus, told a group of about 20 area leaders that Hardin County has developed a “pretty impressive” five-year plan.

She made the comments during an economic and community development briefing hosted by the Chamber and Business Alliance on Wednesday night.

“You have to have a strategy in place and you have a pretty impressive five-year plan,” said Schmenk, whose past experience includes serving as the director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, vice president for external affairs for the Scotts Miracle-Gro company, mayor of Marysville and is on the Ohio Northern University board of trustees.

“That is a really good thing because you are thinking about where you want to be in five years and are putting a plan together to get there,” she added.

Schmenk noted it’s good to have strong partnerships in place between public and private entities.

“Get the public involved and have businesses involved because they are the ones that are paying your employees in the town or county and you need those kind of teams working together for a comprehensive business development program,” Schmenk said.

“It’s good to always be looking at the plan and what should be done and when it should be done and to update it regularly. It’s very important to know where you’re going. As far as a structure you have there is no real right or wrong.

“Your plan from an outsider looking in, looks like you have all the important decision-makers all working together, which is wonderful. We don’t see that always. I’ve known communities where they maybe didn’t get a new project or new company because when that community called they didn’t know who to talk to and couldn’t tell who the decision-makers were. .. It’s good to have that organization and it seems like you do.”

Schmenk, who also detailed the different entities that can be put together to attract business such as port authorities, community improvement corporations, community reinvestment areas and enterprise zones, said it’s good to have a unified plan before it is needed.

“It’s good to really come together before the pressure is on,” she said.

“To think about if a big business approaches us, what would we want to do, That’s something I would encourage.”

“It’s always good to think ahead of time about would we offer any kind of incentive or programs and if we offer what would be our criteria. … when you have that it helps you make faster decisions because you’ve already got people on board like school superintendents, the commissioners or board of trustees,” she said.

“It also gives you the ability to say no if a business doesn’t meet the criteria.”

The importance of taking care of existing business and industry also was stressed by Schmenk. “It may not be as sexy or cool as getting new business into a community, but statistics show most jobs come from the businesses that you currently have,” she said.

“It’s always good to reach out and see what kind of help they may need.”

“Once you have the structure and tools, I encourage you to have a system in place and stay current on what is happening,” Schmenk said.

Also during the forum Gregory Lestini gave an update on what is going on in the state legislature.


Jacqualine Fitzgerald, director of Downtown Development with the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, stands with the colorful suspended chairs she placed on the wall of a building at the corner of Main and Columbus streets in Kenton.

Jacqualine Fitzgerald, director of Downtown Development with the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, stands with the colorful suspended chairs she placed on the wall of a building at the corner of Main and Columbus streets in Kenton.

Fitzgerald purchased five antique chairs from vendor John Sieg in Mount Victory and bought spray paint from Ace Hardware before completing the project with plants from New Leaf Garden Center.

“If these colored chairs make someone smile, then it is worth it,” Fitzgerald said. She hopes the art form becomes popular throughout the county. “I would love to see other walls decorated. It doesn’t need to be with chairs,” she said.