Lee Tasseff of Destination Mansfield and Jodie Perry of the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development speak at a Thursday Richland County commissioners' meeting. 

MANSFIELD -- Destination Mansfield and Richland Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development leaders attended the Richland County commissioners' meeting Thursday morning to provide a mid-year update.

Destination Mansfield President Lee Tasseff and Chamber President and CEO, Jodie Perry both highlighted successes from the past seven months.

They attributed a significant portion of the progress to the collaboration they've seen growing since March 2018 when 15 local leaders attended together the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas.

The group, which included Perry, then spent a year developing what's become known as the "Mansfield Rising Plan." The project has since looped in others like Tasseff to further ideas, such as the notion to create a brand for Mansfield. 

"The cool thing is that everyone can share in the success," Perry said. 

Tasseff said he has long hoped for this type of swift-moving potential in Mansfield, but struggled to find it until recently.

Finally, he said, he's seeing leaders across Richland County purposefully looking to align their visions and then taking it even a step further to work together towards common goals. 

"Some of it is timing. Some of it is the next wave of leadership that's stepping into the arena," Tasseff said. 

Commissioner Tony Vero put it this way: "There's an appetite for risk and behind it the right pieces in place to make the risk worth the investment." 

A CRAZY GOOD YEAR: The first seven months of 2019 have been busy, Tasseff told the county commissioners.

"It's been a crazy good year all the way around for everybody," he said. 

Earlier in July, Mansfield's annual tattoo festival and rock concert, Inkcareration drew larger crowds than ever before. Tasseff estimated the recent event had more than 2.5 times more people attend than last year.

The official headcount hasn't been released yet, but Tasseff said the economic impact was clear. He believes the impact exceeded $4 million. 

Support Our Journalism

Destination Mansfield is now looking towards The Shawshank Redemption 25th anniversary celebration at the Ohio State Reformatory, the 55th annual Studebaker Drivers Club International Meet at the Richland County Fairgrounds and a possible expansion to the existing wine and ale trail

"Things are humming right along through the haunted season," he said. 

Shawshank director Frank Darabont to attend 25th anniversary festivities

PLENTY OF NEW JOBS: Since the beginning of 2019, Perry said more than 152 jobs have been added in Richland County. 

She said the Chamber has focused heavily on retention and expansion visits to local businesses and has spent time investigating its current capacity to bring in new businesses. According to Perry, the Chamber staff has made 62 retention and expansion visits since January.

"That's a key number that we track because when we're out talking to businesses... we learn about expansions they are considering," Perry said.

She also noted that the number of leads coming to the Chamber from JobsOhio seems promising.

Staff Reporter

Proud Pennsylvania native. Joined the staff in April 2017. Formerly Tracy Geibel.