By Katelyn Sattler
The Big Walnut Area Community Improvement Corporation (BWACIC) is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation, established in 1995, to facilitate economic development in the city of Obetz.
The BWACIC owns property and receives rent from that property. The entity then funds various activities such as the beauty contest and the Queen’s parade at the Zucchinifest, purchases advertising for various events, runs a facade street improvement program, improves streetscapes by providing mulch, and has donated money to the now-defunct Obetz Historical Society.
The BWACIC does these things via ownership and leasing certain pieces of property. It leased land to the Columbus Crew soccer team for practice, which was donated to the CIC in 1997. The Crew lease agreement ends this month, at which point the team will practice in another practice facility built for them by OhioHealth near the state fairgrounds. It’s unknown what will happen to that piece of property after the lease expires.
“It depends on what Obetz decides to do with it,” said Obetz City Administrator Rod Davisson. “There are a lot of good ideas, but no decision yet.”
The CIC is run by a board of seven appointed trustees: the mayor (Mayor Angela Kirk), the Obetz administrator (Rod Davisson), the president pro-tem (councilman Derek Varney), Buck Stewart (president, Capitol City Trailers, Inc.), David Tiggett (managing director at KeyBanc Capital Markets), Matt Cramblitt trustee/treasurer and Obetz finance director), and one seat remains open.
The CIC holds public meetings at the beginning of the year to determine the budget and as needed throughout the year. The trustees will also appoint a member to fill the vacant seat at the first meeting in 2022.
“When there is an open spot, the trustees generally take resumes from interested parties and look for skills that would help us develop,” Davisson said. “Usually, these folks come from the business community.”
Obetz also has a Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB), which is governed by the same seven member board that makes up the BWACIC. The CVB receives half of the lodging tax levied by the city and is used for the promotion and marketing of the Obetz area.
“A CIC has less regulatory oversight, which makes it more nimble than a city or a village,” Davisson said.