of Anna

When Honda came to Ohio with the first Japanese auto plant in the U.S., it made world-recognized names out of some small Ohio towns. Anna is one of those towns.

Honda of America Mfg. selected a site near Anna for its engine plant in 1985. Today, the giant facility, barely visible through the west central Ohio cornfields, employs 2,300 in production of auto and motorcycle engines, brake and suspension components and transmissions.

What Honda liked about Anna was its location on I-75, its peaceful rural atmosphere and the reputation of west central Ohio for providing versatile, loyal, hard-working employees.

Since Honda's arrival in Marysville, Anna and East Liberty, hundreds of suppliers have flocked to Ohio to feed the three plants with parts and components. In Shelby County alone, over 20 suppliers have located to serve Honda.

Anna is a village of just 1,200 people. It is a quiet town that has long served as a bedroom community for larger cities like Sidney (pop. 20,000), the county seat, which is seven miles away, or Lima, 25 miles up the interstate. The large soybean processing facility operated by Cargill signals the importance of agriculture in this corn-soybean-wheat farming community. But for Honda, it might be just another ordinary farming town, with nothing to stop the 28,000 vehicles that pass by on I-75 every day.

But in recent months Anna's civic officials have put in place all the necessary infrastructure to support new business growth. To wit:

  • A new sewage treatment system, with 400,000 gpd capacity, has just come on line. Current usage is only 110,000 gpd.
  • A new water supply system has a capacity of 290,000 gpd; current usage is less than half of that.
  • Tax abatements for new businesses were installed. The entire Village is designated a Community Reinvestment Area, meaning that property owners who renovate existing facilities or construct new ones benefit from the direct property tax exemption program. Anna's commercial and industrial parks are in an Enterprise Zone.
  • Zoned industrial and commercial sites, serviced with water, sewer and utilities, are available. They include over 25 acres of developed land in Interstate Industrial Park, which has a 40,000 sq. ft. spec building available. Another 46 acres of undeveloped industrial land abuts the CSX railroad. On the east side of the interstate are 170 acres of industrial land, as well as several acres of commercial sites.
  • A new bridge over I-75 eases traffic into the village.

These elements enhance existing transportation and utility infrastructure. CSX serves Anna on its Cincinnati to Detroit line, and Rail Tex parallels the CSX line through Anna. Conrail's mainline runs east-west through the county. Dayton Power & Light supplies electricity, and there are two natural gas suppliers -- Dayton Power & Light and East Ohio Gas -- in the village.

Anna has also put together the proper organizational structure to help new business and industry. The effort is led by Mayor Dale Locker, a well-connected former state legislator and former Ohio Director of Agriculture.

Profile of Anna

Location: West central Ohio, 45 miles from Dayton, 60 miles from Columbus

Anna: 1,200
Sidney: 19,238
Shelby County: 46,679

Road: On I-75
Rail: CSX, Rail Tex
Air: Dayton International, 45 miles

Employment Mix (Shelby

Manufacturing: 54%
Trade: 14%
Services: 13%

Major Employers (Shelby County): Honda of America Mfg., Airstream, Alcoa/Stolle, Eagle-Picher Industries, Emerson Electric/Copeland, Findlay Industries/Wapakoneta Products, Gilardi Frozen Foods, Masland Industries, Plastipak Packaging

Incentives: Community Reinvestment Area and Enterprise Zone property tax incentives.

Education and Training: Edison Community Colleges offers courses in Anna; Upper Valley Joint Vocational School. 13 colleges and universities within a 50-mile radius.

Medical Clinics: 2

Anna's attitude toward economic growth is strongly supportive. "I've always felt we are a bubble waiting for some sharp object to pop us and set off an explosion of growth," says Mayor Locker. "Now that we have our tax abatements in place, we're set for growth."

Anna's new elementary school has been named one of the top seven in the nation.
"Cooperation and teamwork are two words that come to mind when I think of Anna," says Robert Kuck, developer of Anna Interstate Park. "Even though Anna has a great location off I-75, our industrial park would not have been a success without community enthusiasm and support."

Adds Anna businessman Paul Dunkman: "The village has started with necessary improvements to ensure a future for business, such as the water tower, new sewage system, natural gas, new schools and street improvements. The new bridge over the freeway can be counted as a plus. We have also started the Anna Community Improvement Corp. which will be helpful to business."

The citizens of Anna strongly support their education system, always ratifying any bond issue that improves their children's chances for success.

One of Anna's most important civic improvements was the recent completion of a new $6.5 million elementary school. Among its features are on-line communications, introducing students to the world via the Internet at an early age. The school was voted by the National School Boards Assn. as one of the top seven elementary schools in the nation.

Anna's high school is undergoing $5.5 million in improvements in the coming years. The expansion project includes equipping the school with on-line communications and video conferencing.

For higher education, there are 13 colleges and universities within a 50-mile radius of Anna. In addition, Edison Community College delivers courses to Anna to promote continuing adult education.

Anna's location on I-75 means big city amenities are just a short drive away. A one-hour drive gets you to Dayton, and in less than two hours you can be in Columbus, Cincinnati or Toledo. For shopping, there are the thriving retail centers of Lima and Sidney nearby. For health care, Anna has a new medical center and Wilson Memorial Hospital, with 128 beds, is just seven miles from the village. Lima has three well-appointed hospitals.
Interstate Industrial Park at I-75 is one of several sites in Anna serviced with all utilities.

Shelby County's labor force is heavily into metal working. Over 10,000 manufacturing workers in the county of 47,000 people churn out such diverse products as aluminum and vinyl building products, auto and appliance parts, electronic apparatus and controls, refrigerators, compressors and condensing units, machine tools, metal forming presses, metal can machinery, index drives, rock drills, paper folding and bindery machinery, cookware, travel trailers and mobile homes, bakery mixing machines, castings, medical furniture, gaskets, tools and dies, sports clothing, automotive seating, plastic containers, resins, pasta and pizza.

Honda's Anna plant employs 2,300, drawing from west central Ohio's wide labor market.
While Shelby County's unemployment rate is low, that fact doesn't seem to have stymied economic growth. Because of I-75 and good state highway access, industry can draw from a large labor market area.

"While it may seem that this area is 'dry' in terms of labor availability, it truly isn't," says Mayor Locker. "We know that trees will grow as far as the roots can expand. The industrial roots of this area are finding new waters, so the economic tree continues to flourish."

Ohio Main
Ohio Main
Village of Anna
Village of Anna
Auglaize and Mercer Counties
Auglaize & Mercer Counties
Cleveland Metro Area
Cleveland Metro Area
Crawford County
Crawford County
Darke County
Darke County
Resource Guide
Resource Guide
Steubenville and Jefferson County
Steubenville & Jefferson County
Knox County
Knox County
Marion County
Marion County
Muskingum County
Muskingum County
Southeast Ohio
Southeast Ohio

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