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Job Creation, Strategic Economic Development, & Fiscal Security

A thriving economy and livable neighborhoods are pillars of any strong community, and growing that economy and ensuring that there are high quality jobs and affordable places for residents to live is one of the commissioners’ primary focuses.

The county team engages in a lot of traditional economic development, and also supports our economy in other ways such as by working to bring large events to our convention center and sports venues, and also by providing direct support to small businesses struggling in the pandemic economy, and investing heavily in affordable housing.

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners joined other community partners in funding Experience Columbus’ Diversity Apprenticeship Program – providing  a paid, hands-on, on-the-job experience for persons of color to work across multiple departments (e.g., guest services, event planning, human resources, marketing, sales, finance, etc.) in travel industry organizations. Upon successfully completing 600 working hours over a period of six months, apprentices will be offered a full-time, manager-level position, at one of the participating partner agencies.

The commissioners Department of Economic Development and Planning provides funding and technical assistance to support community development in Franklin County, as well as providing community planning, zoning, and code enforcement in unincorporated areas of the county.

New Home Permits
Building Receipts
The county’s economic development team engages in direct support to small businesses struggling in the pandemic economy, and invests heavily in affordable housing.

This year, like many county agencies, the Department of Economic Development and Planning has been focused largely on COVID-19 relief for Franklin County residents and businesses, including distributing:

  • $3,654,387 in grants and loans to small businesses.
  • $3,215,630 to support the homeless and prevent residents from becoming homeless.
  • $500,000 in workforce training for people who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.
  • $500,000 to provide 10,000 computers and internet hotspots (with pre-paid broadband access) to low-income students learning from home during the pandemic.
  • $700,000 in foreclosure prevention funds for people who lost jobs during the pandemic.
  • $411,730 for services to refugees and immigrants.

Home Program

The agency also distributes federal Housing and Urban Development funds to support local community development and affordable housing.  Among these, our HOME program consistently ranks among the top in the nation in terms of leveraging its annual allocation.  Other HUD funding highlights include:

tool rentals provided
people provided with fair housing assistance
individuals provided with down payment assistance

Building Futures is a nationally award-winning, innovative public/private partnership between the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, the Columbus/Central Ohio Building Trades Council, and the Columbus Urban League that works with residents in underserved communities to teach them basic construction skills, but also equips them with the life skills necessary to pursue this pathway to the middle class.

Members spend 12 weeks in a paid apprenticeship program where they learn the importance of proper financial budgeting and how it can impact and serve their families and allow them to build a secure financial future. They also learn basic skills used by members of the building trades. Those who successfully complete the program can join one of the affiliated trades.

One of the challenges of living in a thriving, growing community is the lack of affordable places for people to live in neighborhoods with transportation, jobs, shopping, and good schools.

The commissioners invest more than $23 million per year in affordable housing, including in the Touchstone Fields complex, which provides 50 affordable units, and seven other projects that were in development last year.

McKinley Manor represents a public/private partnership to develop 44 new affordable housing units for low-income seniors.

Situated in Franklinton, these homes are convenient to public transportation and steps from neighborhood amenities, and will allow some of our older residents to remain in a community where they have lived for many years.

Affordable Housing

Name Location Group Units Amount
Enclave on Main E Main St; City of Whitehall Woda-Cooper 102 $1,350,000.00
Starling Yard W Broad St; Franklinton Area Commission Woda-Cooper 97 $1,350,000.00
Easton Place Homes Phase 2 Stelzer Rd; Northeast Area Commission Homeport 100 $1,350,000.00
The Reserve at Woodland (Maryland Ave) Near East Area Commission Connect Realty 74 $1,350,000.00
West Broad 2021 Westland Area Commission National Church Residents 92 $1,350,000.00
McKinley Manor W Broad St; Franklinton Area Commission CMHA 44 $660,000.00
Berwyn East Place Livingston Ave; Mideast Area Commission National Church Residents 88 $1,320,000.00
Sub-Total 597 $8,730,000.00

In addition to the rental and mortgage assistance the commissioners have been providing throughout the pandemic, their Economic Development and Planning team has also launched Rentful614, a simple and easy-to-access website that connects Franklin County residents with programs aimed at keeping them in their homes.


Even as we begin to recover from the pandemic, one-in-three Ohio renters have little confidence in their ability to pay next month’s rent, so Rentful614 can be a lifeline for families who are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Travel and Tourism

Travel and tourism are important parts of the Franklin County economy, accounting for nearly 80,000 jobs in the hospitality industry and $7.6 billion in local spending each year.

The commissioners provide annual financial support to Experience Columbus and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission to help attract the more-than 43 million yearly visitors who contribute more than $1.3 billion in taxes, and to One Columbus, the economic development organization for our 11-county region.

The Columbus Clippers

Franklin County even owns the Columbus Clippers, a Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians, and is the only county in America to own a baseball team and the park they play in. Huntington Park welcomes more than half a million fans each year, and the Clippers are ranked as one of the most valuable minor league teams in the country.