Economic Development Director James Stifler shared the economic future of Hudson with Council members Jan. 24 at a Council workshop.

Stifler, who replaced Chuck Wiedie seven months ago said economic development in Hudson was at a "tipping point that presents opportunities we don't want to get away."

His plans include reintroducing Hudson as business friendly to Northeast Ohio. The theme is "Hudson is connected to our past, but it's built for your future."

Stifler said he would need $35,000 more per year to fulfill his objectives. The economic development department has a budget of $201,680 for personnel and operating in 2017.

"It's imperative," Stifler said. "We do it this year and next year and create foot traffic of those who consider Hudson and get winds in the sails of Downtown Phase II."

Stifler said he has visited 28 businesses in Hudson.

It's easier to retain businesses we have than to find new ones, Stifler said. He also monitors at risk businesses.

"We are making effort to show they are loved," he said.

Available office space is one of the problems for Hudson.

"There's very little space available," he said.

But Hudson Crossing has two office building lots and Phase II will have office space, Stifler said. There are two industrial lots in Hudson Crossing and five industrial lots in Seasons Greene available. Also Stifler will be promoting the YDC property on Hines Hill Road, hopefully, with a new name.

"We need to rename the YDC and make national awareness of it," Stifler said. "I want to sound the alarm we're in business."

Velocity Broadband, which provides high-speed internet to businesses, is helping to keep and attract businesses, he said.

"The city is already a wonderful place but will be better in a few years," he said. "If businesses understand what is coming, it should give them pause about moving. Where are they going to find a better place?"

Stifler said 104 businesses are connected or waiting to connect this year to Velocity Broadband.

"Broadband is a supreme marker of an intelligent community where you want to live, good schools are and where you want to raise your kids," Stifler said.

This year the fiber team will target customers who can transform their businesses with Velocity Broadband.

"The next steps we need to think about are strategically reaching outside our boundaries and targeting highest users adjacent to current users," Stifler said.

Stifler wants to create a message that is easy to understand by the public and explain some of the tax incentives and opportunities in Hudson by updating the economic development information on the city website and reaching out to guest columns in newspapers.

"We're going to wade into social media. It's small but growing." he said.

Email: lfreeman@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9434

Twitter: @LauraFreeman_RP