‘Optimistic about the future:’ Commissioner look back on ‘20, ahead to ‘21

Wood County was patient during the pandemic and it paid off.
During Wednesday’s State of the County address — posted online due to the coronavirus pandemic — the
commissioners said pace is picking up for projects and employment.
“Life is less than normal at this minute,” said Commissioner Doris Herringshaw, adding that the address
is usually held in person in the Wood County Courthouse Atrium. Last year’s presentation was one of the
last group events held in the county before the state shutdown.
“Last year was difficult, unlike any we have experienced,” she said.
There were many projects in the works when the pandemic hit.
“One year ago today, at this time, we were working on significant projects for the year,” Herringshaw
said. “Shortly thereafter, COVID-19 became the new reality and altered nearly every aspect of our lives.
The pandemic continues to dominate daily life, but we are optimistic about the future.”
County officials put the brake on projects, such as the jail expansion, but they are ready to hit the gas
again, Herringshaw said.
The commissioners recently approved an $18 million jail expansion that will renovate the booking and
medical areas and also add a new female inmate space. The project had been on hold since March 2020.
Commissioner Craig LaHote said it would take a year for the bidding process and a year to build.
“In the end, this project will serve the jail needs of Wood County for decades to come,” he said.
LaHote said that Wood County unemployment in March 2020 was 4.3%. In April it was 9%. In December it was
back down to 4.2%, he said.
“Several economic development projects made progress in 2020 and bring good employment opportunities to
area residents,” LaHote said.
The Amazon Fulfillment Center, with 1,000 jobs, opened in Rossford in the fall.
United Parcel Service announced it would build a 400,000-square-foot distribution center in Henry
Township.
NSG Pilkington completed its new 500,000-square-foot facility with a float-glass line in Troy Township.

Employment at Home Depot Fulfillment Center in Troy Township grew to 1,100. The Fed-Ex Ground
Distribution Center in Perrysburg Township increased employment to 2,300.
The commissioners offered a Wood County Small Business Relief Grant Program with a portion of the
county’s allocated Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security funds.
Following the retirement of Director Frank McLaughlin, the Child Support Enforcement Agency will go under
the umbrella of Wood County Job and Family Services.
“Many counties have moved to this model over the years for more efficient operations and cost savings,”
said Commissioner Ted Bowlus.
The Wood County Veterans Memorial project continues to progress and will be re-dedicated on Sept. 11. The
memorial is located on the grounds of the Wood County Courthouse.