Franklin City Manager Sonny Lewis facilitates a discussion about economic development with members of Carlisle Village Council and key staff members during council’s annual planning retreat Jan. 27 at Town Hall. Discussions focused on economic development, park improvement and community outreach. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Carlisle wants to grow. One question: How to get residents more involved?

During the discussion, council members reviewed the strengths and weaknesses of the village, such as low taxes, plenty of available and reasonably priced land with some parcels having access to public utilities and rail all within several miles of Interstate 75, they said. Other strengths include a new K-12 school facility that is in the works and other vocational programs. However, council members were uncertain what type of businesses the village should try to attract.

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Councilman Brad McIntosh said Carlisle will always be a place for small to medium-size businesses, and that business owners start other businesses. He said the village may want to start there to shorten their logistic chains by reaching out to their supplier customers.

Councilman Tim Humphries noted nearby Miamisburg being a technology hub. He suggested finding “an opposite widget” to build relationships with its tooling and injection molding plastics businesses in Carlisle. He added that business owners want to have “face time” with council and school board members.

Franklin City Manager Sonny Lewis said Carlisle’s charter defines council’s roles, but usually a council speaks with one voice through the village manager or mayor. He said those are the two people a business owner should know.

Village Manager Julie Duffy noted the village leverages itself by working with other state and regional economic development entities such as JobsOhio, the Warren County Port Authority and REDI Cincinnati, which helps to market Carlisle to possible opportunities.

Council members agreed that they will create a special committee to reach out to local business owners by hosting a lunch or breakfast once or twice a year. In addition, the village will inventory local businesses to determine what is already located there and explore joining the Franklin Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Another area of mutual agreement was the difficulty in finding residents to serve on city boards and commissions.

Park improvements were also a topic as council members talked about problems with maintaining enough park board members, an issue that results in few improvements being made to accomplish the master plan. Council members agreed that in addition to creating the special business relations committee, they will be creating council subcommittees for the parks as well as for special events.