“We’re growing,” says Cathy Bieterman, economic development director for the City of Painesville.
While that might sound like a simple statement, it’s not one that every Northeast Ohio city can make. And Bieterman can back up her claim. Painesville’s population was recorded to be 19,563 in the 2010 census. The city saw an 11 percent increase since between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, and Painesville is the third-largest municipality in Lake County. It is one of the fastest-growing cities between Buffalo and Chicago.
In addition to residents, businesses recently have found new homes (or expanded their operations) in the city. One of the most impressive newcomers is Mar-Bal Inc., a thermoset plastics company that held a grand opening in August of its compounding unit, operates as Altraset Composite Technologies.
“That division was the major driver behind opening the Painesville facility,” says President and CEO Scott Balogh, whose international company will retain its research and development division in Chagrin Falls. “Four years ago my brother and I started looking around the world where we could expand. We wanted to build the best in the world compounding facility.”
Balogh found his opportunity in Painesville, buying an abandoned, 110,700-square-foot building that once held a plastic company, hiring some of that company’s former employees, acquiring 5 adjacent acres for future growth, and investing $14 million into the project. About 50 new employees will push the Painesville facility’s workforce up to 140.
Bieterman also is proud that Aero Fluid Products, an aerospace design and manufacturing company originally from California, will create 40 new jobs and is expanding to its building within the city. Add the newest industrial developments to the existing stars of Painesville’s economy generators, including ECKART America, Cintas Corp., Avery Dennison and others, and the growth is multi-faceted.
Incentives, including easy access to highways; city-owned, low-cost utilities; skilled labor and educational opportunities also push Painesville’s appeal to entrepreneurs, established businesses and national corporations.
“There is lots of change in Painesville,” says Bieterman. “We will have a new Lake County administration building. The five-story building will add to a campus-like look in the area and be completed in 2019. We haven’t had a new investment on the square for a while and we are looking forward to all the new opportunities. People connect with the square and Painesville has one of the most walkable areas compared with many cities our size.
“Also, we are focusing on new residential development in one corner of our downtown — 7.5 acres which is a former hospital site. It’s unusual to have that amount of land in a downtown area to develop, and we want to make sure we plan well for it,” she says.
And while all that new extensive commercial and residential development is good for Painesville and its economy, Bieterman also knows what else matters to residents: A new downtown brewery is scheduled to open in 2019 and a new coffee shop has already opened.
“Those businesses are a good fit for what the community wanted to target in our downtown,” says Bieterman.