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Monday, February 14, 2005

Econ. Dev. - Economic development financing via the Indiana Port Authority

A story in yesterday's Cleveland Plain Dealer, headlined "Just add water: The Port Authority found a new recipe for development. But critics fear it's left the port itself high and dry", is about Ohio's Port Authority. But Indiana is mentioned:

The Myers project, along with a dozen other deals, contributed to the port authority's busiest year ever for financing. Since adding the service to its maritime duties in 1993, the authority has emerged as one of the region's more powerful economic development engines.

True to its "More Than a Working Waterfront" slogan, the port authority financed more than $500 million in nonmaritime projects as diverse as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, a surgery center at Parma Community General Hospital and the large outdoor video screens at Playhouse Square.

"Increasingly, the port is a player in getting jobs done," said Stephen Strnisha, chief finance and development officer for the Greater Cleveland Partnership, a group devoted to improving the region's business climate.

And this niche has proven lucrative for the port. Revenue from financing fees jumped tenfold - from nearly $160,000 in 1997 to $1.6 million last year.

Of 85 major U.S. ports, nearly 20 pursue economic development financing.

The Ports of Indiana modeled its new program after Cleveland's. William Friedman, the Indiana ports director, credits his counterpart in Cleveland, Port Authority President Gary Failor. "He's known in the port industry as a pioneer on this subject, and he has a strong track record," Friedman said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 14, 2005 09:56 AM
Posted to Indiana economic development