MORPC Hands HUD Plan to CEDCO to Create Food-Processing Jobs in Weinland Park

(Columbus – August 23, 2013) The Community Economic Development Corporation of Ohio (CEDCO) will kick off its campaign to build a state-of-the-art food-processing and employment center in Weinland Park at 7:45 a.m. on Thursday, August 29. Plans for the Food District @ Weinland Park (http://www.thefooddistrict.org) were completed through an $865,000 Community Challenge Grant that the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) received in 2011 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

MORPC and its grant partners will hand over the finished plans to CEDCO at a breakfast meeting for Columbus-area government, business and civic leaders, and will present a short video that showcases the proposal. The breakfast will be provided by Two Caterers, a successful catering business that has expressed interest in operating a third-floor event center that will be part of the Food District.

The cornerstone of the Food District is a proposed local-food processing plant that will generate revenue to support a job-training and -placement center for unemployed residents of Weinland Park and nearby neighborhoods. The Food District also will have a co-op market, café, wholesale cash-and-carry food market, education programs and office space and businesses services for food entrepreneurs. A planned aquaponics system, combining the production of fish and salad greens, will be incorporated into the Food District.

Grant partners in the project are MORPC, Godman Guild Association, Local Matters, The Ohio State University (Knowlton School of Architecture, Extension, South Centers, and the Center for Urban & Environmental Economic Development), City of Columbus, and Wagenbrenner Development, which owns the land to be used for the Food District, at 5th Avenue and 4th Street, and remediated the soil with help from the Clean Ohio Brownfield Revitalization Program. Other collaborators were Keida & Associates, Design Group, MKSK Studios, and McMahon DeGullis LLP.

CEDCO is a not-for-profit subsidiary of the Godman Guild Association and emerged during the planning process to take the lead in moving the project toward implementation. CEDCO will manage the capital campaign and the development of the site.

For questions about this project, please contact MORPC Agriculture Specialist Brian Williams at bwilliams@morpc.org or 614-233-4187 or CEDCO Executive Director Jon Moorehead at jon.moorehead@cedcohio.org or 614-294-5476 ext. 107.
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Designated as central Ohio’s metropolitan planning agency, MORPC is a voluntary association of 41 local governments. The Center for Energy & Environment at MORPC serves as a community resource in the region by offering a variety of services including: daily air quality forecasts, trail coordination, educational presentations, watershed planning, home weatherization, government carbon footprint analysis and more.

CEDCO announces members of Operational Council

Making this Weinland Park Food District (WPFD) vision a reality requires the expertise of many disciplines from serial entrepreneurs to food and marketing/social media professionals. Approaching the end of the HUD Challenge Grant, the WPFD requires a Developer/Operator to assume responsibility for the creation, financing and implementation of a viable business plan resulting in a sustainable project.

The Steering Committee of the WPFD concept has agreed to designate the Community Economic Development Corporation of Ohio (CEDCO) as the organization to oversee the development of the business and design plans, to attract project financing through a combination of investments, grants and project revenues and to eventually operate the project.

CEDCO has selected a group of individuals to serve on the WPFD Operational Council (OC) to be the entity that manages the final planning stages through the implementation of the project. The OC will eventually serve as the management group that operates the project on an on-going basis for the benefit of the Weinland Park neighborhood and beyond. The members on the OC represent organizations that have collectively spent decades serving the Weinland Park residents. They were chosen for their understanding of the neighborhood needs, as well as their expertise related to the components of business plan.

We now need to move from planning to making our vision a reality. CEDCO is actively seeking the assistance of technical business visionaries to help guide us to completion of the Weinland Park Food District.

The OC will recruit members for the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), who will provide the guidance and advice critical to the successful completion of the WPFD project. Members of the TAC will come from the various disciplines/industries represented in the Program of Requirements (POR), which will lead to the creation of the business, program and design plans. While the membership of the Operational Council will remain fairly consistent, the membership of the TAC will ebb and flow depending on the expertise needs of the OC.

Mark Wagenbrenner
Wagenbrenner Development Company

President

Michael Jones
Local Matters

Executive Director

Susan Colbert
The Ohio State University

Program Director, OSU Extension

Kaci Harris
Weinland Park Community Resident

Public Engagement

Joyce Hughes
Weinland Park Community Civic Association

President

Kay Bea Jones
The Ohio State University

Associate Professor of Architecture

Brian Williams
Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission

Agricultural Specialist

Linda Silva
Godman Guild Association

VP Development & Operations

Wendy Hansen-Smith
Godman Guild Association

VP Workforce Development

Paul Keida
CEDCO

Project Manager, WPFD

Jackie Graham
CEDCO

Business Development

Ellen Moss Williams
CEDCO

Sole Member