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Erie County Profile
Strategically located in north central Ohio between Cleveland and Toledo on Lake Erie’s southern shore, Erie County is within a 75 mile radius of a population and market of 4 million people. Two of the country’s most traveled interstates pass directly through Erie County: I-80 which runs east and west from New York City to Los Angeles and I-90 which runs east and west from Boston to Seattle. And, I-75, the busiest U.S. interstate, which runs north and south from Michigan to Florida, is only 30 minutes west of Erie County. 54% of the nation’s population and 53% of the country’s manufacturing plants are within 600 miles – a one-day drive – from the County.
Erie County has business-oriented government officials from the private sector; excellent availability of reasonably priced office, commercial, and industrial space; a productive, skilled workforce with an old school work ethic; first-rate interstate highway access; commercial air service from two international airports an hour away; excellent mainline rail service; and three ports on the St. Lawrence Seaway which empties into the Atlantic Ocean providing access to ports in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
If your business depends on an abundant and inexpensive supply of fresh water for its operations, Erie County also has two surplus waterlines that can deliver an additional 34 million gallons per day of fresh water from Lake Erie. These lines are independent of the county and municipal water systems which already serve residential and commercial demand. You would be hard pressed to find a better fresh water source and infrastructure than the untapped water capacity of Erie County Ohio.
Erie County is a low cost place to do business. In 2005, Ohio enacted the most sweeping tax reform in the state’s history. Taxes were eliminated on capital investment, inventory, sales of goods and services to customers outside of Ohio, as were corporate income and franchise taxes to help make Ohio the ideal location to build a successful global business. In addition, personal income tax was reduced by 21% helping Ohio citizens afford an even more fulfilling life.
Erie County has a skilled labor force of 42,600 with 43% of these workers 25 or over having some college, and associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or a graduate or professional degree. In addition, the enrollment at the 39 Ohio colleges and universities within a 100 mile radius of Erie County totals almost 310,000 students providing a deep pool of college graduates for the region in almost all professions and disciplines.
Eire County is also home to NASA’s 6,400 acre Plum Brook Station. This facility’s cryogenic and rocket engine test capabilities were developed as part of NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and Apollo missions. Today Plum Brook is the headquarters of NASA’s Space Power Facility (SPF) which house the world’s largest deep space environment, vacuum simulation chamber. This chamber has been used to test a variety of space exploration equipment, including portions of the International Space Station and the landing system used for putting the Mars Rovers safely on that planet’s surface.
Erie County and the State of Ohio are located in a section of the country that is not prone to or threatened by natural disaster. This helps protect your facilities, business operations, and employees from risks such as earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires that can cost your customers, money, production downtime, and in some cases much, much more.
The City of Sandusky in Erie County Ohio has the most affordable housing in the U.S. according to the 2009 National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index. Almost 98% of existing homes sold in Sandusky during the first quarter of 2009 were affordable to median-income earners compared to 72.5% in the rest of the country.
Median household income in Erie County is $48,658 while the 2008 cost of living index was 79.5 which is low, the U.S. average is 100. Home prices in Erie County are also low with the median existing home selling price of $128,500 – 23% below the already declining national median home selling price of $167,300. And, the median apartment rental rate for a one-bedroom apartment in Sandusky for 2007 was $461 per month.
The County offers excellent educational opportunities, safe neighborhoods, and a wide range of family-oriented attractions. Public school expenditures per student are $9,859, the student to teacher ratio is 17.6, and the graduation rate 89.4%.
While Erie County communities can truthfully pride themselves on having that small town, neighborhood ambiance and feel, the big city amenities of Cleveland are less than an hour to the east. Cleveland has the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; the Cleveland Opera, Ohio Ballet, and the Great Lakes Theatre Festival all three of these at Playhouse Square Center; world-class shopping; and major league baseball’s Cleveland Indians, the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, and the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Erie County lakeshore from Sandusky to Kelleys Island and beyond is Ohio’s most exciting, year-round vacation destination. It is one of America’s favorite vacation spots and was recently named to the top 20 family vacation destinations by Disney’s Family.com.
Erie County is home to the world-renowned Cedar Point Amusement Park, boasting 17 roller coasters, plentiful children’s attractions, and Cedar Point, was ranked “Best Amusement Park in the World” in 2009 by Amusement Today for the twelfth consecutive year. Outside the park, the County entices residents and travelers with its sandy white Lake Erie beaches, stunning coastal trails, mysterious Seneca Caverns, and numerous refreshing water parks and hotels like Kalahari Resort and Convention Center, featuring the Largest Indoor Waterpark in America.
With 24 marinas and boat launch ramps, Erie County is a boater’s paradise whether you favor sail or prefer a power boat. Fishing from various piers, your boat, or a charter will provide enjoyment in the “Walleye Capital of the World.”
All this makes Erie County one of the most exceptional areas to live and work in Ohio and the Midwest.
Erie County Economic Development Corporation
247 Columbus Ave., Suite 126
Sandusky, OH 44870
Phone: (419) 627-7791
Fax: (419) 627-7595
Business Expansion and Retention Specialist