Close to 40 city officials, economic development representatives, business owners and concerned citizens met at Delphos Eagles Tuesday night to discuss economic development for the city. DHI Media Advertising Manager Peter Ricker, right, explains the desire to get things moving to the panel, including from left, Safety Services Director Shane Coleman, Van Wert County Economic Development Director Sarah Smith, Mayor Michael Gallmeier, Bob Ulm, Community Improvement Corporation President Dave Roach, Van Wert County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Larry Lee and Allen County Coordinator of Strategic Workforce Development Eric Davis. (DHI Media/Stephanie Groves)
Close to 40 city officials, economic development representatives, business owners and concerned citizens met at Delphos Eagles Tuesday night to discuss economic development for the city. DHI Media Advertising Manager Peter Ricker, right, explains the desire to get things moving to the panel, including from left, Safety Services Director Shane Coleman, Van Wert County Economic Development Director Sarah Smith, Mayor Michael Gallmeier, Bob Ulm, Community Improvement Corporation President Dave Roach, Van Wert County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Larry Lee and Allen County Coordinator of Strategic Workforce Development Eric Davis. (DHI Media/Stephanie Groves)

DELPHOS — Close to 40 city officials, economic development representatives, business owners and concerned citizens met at Delphos Eagles Tuesday night to discuss prospects for the city.

The meeting included a panel of seven individuals belonging to county and city organizations that have been involved in or are offering assistance with the economic development of Delphos. The panel included Delphos Safety Service Director Shane Coleman, Van Wert County Economic Development Director Sarah Smith, Mayor Micheal Gallmeier, Bob Ulm, Community Improvement Corporation President Dave Roach, Van Wert County Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Larry Lee and Allen County Coordinator, Strategic Workforce Development Eric Davis.

Ulm took the helm and led the meeting by stating, “There is no name for this group of local businesses interested in the private sector, but rather we have a mission to find the common ground to get a plan started.”

Ulm then introduced First Federal Bank’s Community Banking Center Manager Cindy Metzger who said she feels as if Delphos has the momentum to move forward.



“Delphos is rich with individuals that have years of experience we can tap into,” she explained.

DHI Media Advertising Manager Peter Ricker said the community wants to get the economic engine moving.

“Everyone wants to see the community succeed,” he said. “We have to figure out what the next step is.”

Panel members were then asked to address the group and give an overview.

Gallmeier said when the city gets a lead, whether in Van Wert or Allen County, the administration works with the economic development groups and its own people to create and offer an attractive package to get new businesses into Delphos.

Smith told attendees that economic development is a huge project to take on and it’s the community and downtown working together.

“It means more than just jobs and the community has to be ready for it,” she said. “A lot of entitlements are lost to Lima and Van Wert since Delphos sits in both counties.”

She said the biggest question is “where to start?” Smith said Delphos needs a point person, a main contact.

Roach said he is interested in assisting with the development for the city of Delphos.

“We have over $50,000 we can lend to enhance businesses,” he added. “We also have the Dienstberger House which has served as an incubator, of sorts, for small businesses just stating up.”

He said there have been businesses that have taken advantage of getting their feet wet, running their business from the Dienstberger House and then moved out and bought their own buildings.

“People want an authentic and real experience, small town attractions and memories they can take home and remember,” he said.

Davis described economic development as a coopitetion where businesses want to help others succeed and at the same time, ensure competition.

“With economic development, the number one issue is site selection with regard to the workforce. Capital investment is very expensive,” he added. “The second thing businesses look at is the community — churches and long term services — all the great resources around us.”

Ulm said Delphos is in a unique position and seemingly sometimes an afterthought when it comes to Lima and Van Wert.

“How do we keep from being that afterthought?” he asked.

Communication is key. Davis said people have lost their ability to communicate unless it’s via texting. Lee agreed with Davis.

Smith was adamant and strongly suggested Delphos start by appointing a contact or point person and build a resume for the city.

It seems Delphos has no single source and that the information and people are fragmented. The question is how to support these groups, overcome the unique challenges and recognize a resolution to fix it?

Delphos Optimist Club member Jay Metzger said the community needs to feel good about its town.

Additionally, there is a feeling that development groups will not promote sustainability because of the constant shifts or movement of outside sources.

After a series of questions and answers with discussion, the consensus seemed to be that Delphos needs to appoint a contact or point person and he or she should be full time. The majority of the attendees also expressed that they would attend a second meeting, if one were held.