Mercer County Commissioner Jerry Laffin will head up the newly-formed, two-county Grand Lake St. Marys Restoration Community Improvement Corporation (CIC).
The CIC’s voting members will be the six county commissioners from Mercer and Auglaize counties. At a Tuesday meeting, the commissioners also appointed an advisory council for the organization.
The advisory council will include Mercer County Economic Development Director Jared Ebbing, Auglaize County Commissioner Doug Spencer, Lake Restoration Commission (LRC) facilitator Tom Knapke, LRC member Tim Lovett and local grant writer Ron Puthoff of Chickasaw.
Those members are the same people currently serving as the legislative subcommittee for the LRC.
Final approval of the CIC’s formation must come from the offices of the Ohio Attorney General and Secretary of State after local officials complete the application process.
The initial cost of establishing the CIC is estimated at $10,000 to $20,000 – the majority stemming from attorney fees – and will be paid equally by the two counties.
The CIC’s main purpose is "to better enable the region to work in concert with the state of Ohio" to restore Grand Lake and improve the economic vitality of the local region, as stated in a vision statement adopted by commissioners Tuesday.
State and federal agencies requested the development of such an organization as a single go-to entity, commissioners said.
"This body is here as a springboard to get what our state legislators have asked for," Spencer explained.