BY ED GEBERT
Business Journal Writer
LIMA — Allen County, Ohio, in northwestern Ohio with 105,298 persons in residence, lies at the crossroads of a pair of major thoroughfares favored for shipping by road to the north, south, east, or west. Interstate 75 provides access to Allen County from the north and south, while four-lane, limited-access U.S. 30 handles east-west traffic. The highways are convenient for county employers like Ford Motor Co., General Dynamics, Procter & Gamble, Husky Energy/Lima Refining, MetoKote Corp., Nickles Bakery, Lima Memorial Health System, St. Rita’s Medical Center, and Lima City Schools.
The highways also provide convenience for members of the workforce heading to the job. The State of Ohio reports that almost 82 percent of the workers have less than a 30-minute drive to work, half of those have a commute of less than 15 minutes.
The majority of the population is near the City of Lima, which is the county seat. Lima’s population was 38,771 in the 2010 census. The City of Delphos was home to 3,922 that year and the Villlage of Bluffton had 4,081. Also within Allen County, Bath Township has a population of 9,569, Shawnee Township has 12,290 and American Township contains 12,379 as of the same census. Of the total population, 83.6 percent are white and 12 percent are African-American, and 17.7 percent is the percentage of minority population within the county
Of the 27,393 families, 37.5 percent are married couples with both husband and wife in the workforce. Another 19.6 percent of families are married with either the husband or wife in the work- force. Families within the county have incomes above the poverty level 86.5 percent of the time.
Just over 37 percent of households in Allen County have an average income between $10,000-$40,000, while another 33.5 percent earn between $50,000-$199,000 annually. Around 82 percent of workers live within a 30-minute commute of their place of employment. That figures to a mean travel time of 19.2 minutes.
The average home in the county is occupied by its owner. Almost 70 percent are owner-occupied with 30 percent rented. The median year build of Allen County homes is 1962. The average value of owner-occupied homes in the county is $104,400. More than 40 percent of homes have been built since 1980. Nearly 65 percent of the homes are heated with utility gas and another 22 percent are heated with electricity.
Allen County is home to several places listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A full 30 properties and districts are listed, including the Allen County Courthouse, Lima Stadium, the Miami and Eric Canal Deep Cut, St. John Catholic Church in Delphos, the Lima Post Office, the Ohio Theater, Lima Memorial Hall, and the Armory-Latisona Building in Lima.
Also in the county are many attractions like the Allen County Museum, the MacDonell House Victorian Mansion, an observatory, art gallery, minor league sports teams the Lima Locos and Lima Warriors, public golf courses, and parks districts.
The latest unemployment reports show Allen County with a 5.0 percent unemployment rate, the lowest monthly rate since the late summer of 2001. The labor force is given as 48,500 with 2,400 of those unemployed. Two years earlier, the number of unemployed was 3,500 and a rate of 7.1 percent. The county suffered through the economic downturn at the end of the century’s first decade with double-digit jobless rates in both 2009 and 2010 and 9.6 percent in 2011.
Allen County saw 122 business starts in 2013, making 1,938 total businesses in the county. There are five television stations, 11 radio stations, two daily and two weekly newspapers in the county. In 42 public school buildings, an average of 17,116 students are educated by 995.9 teacher full-time equivalents. There are also seven non-public schools with another 1,734 students. The county has four public colleges, universities or university branches, including Ohio State University-Lima.
Across the county, the 904 farms use 183,186 acres of land. Nearly two-thirds of the land is cropland with another 17.76 percent listed as residential/commercial/industrial/transportation and urban grasses. Just over eight percent is forest and another 4.26 percent is in pasture. Total agricultural cash receipts in the county is $144,091,000 with three-quarters of those receipts from crops and the other one-quarter from livestock and other products.