BY ED GEBERT
Business Journal Writer
BOWLING GREEN — Wood County, Ohio stretches along the southern bank of the Maumee River as it runs to Lake Erie at Toledo. Within its boundaries, the county is home to 125,488 persons, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Wood County is varied in its makeup, but business is obviously a strong component. The county is home to 2,086 businesses, 212 beginning in 2007, the last year for which statistics were available.
In all, the State reports 2,694 private sector business establishments with an average employment of 47,846 an as average weekly wage of $683. More than 30 percent of the establishments are classified as Education and Health Services with another 26 percent classified as Financial Services.
Major employers in the county include Chrysler, Cooper Standard Automotive, First Solar, Great Lakes Windows, Magna/Norplas, Owens Illinois, Walgreen Rudolph-Libbe, Wood County government, and Bowling Green State University.
As of July 2014, Wood County had an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent with a labor force of 67,300, 3,800 listed as unemployed.
Agriculture is also big business in Wood County. With 301,000 acres in farmland across the 1,040 farms in the county, average cash receipts per farm are around $120,000.
In all, over 80 percent of the usable land is utilized as cropland with another 3.5 percent used as pasture. In contrast the percentage of land in urban settings is just shy of 10 percent.
As expected, the largest city in the county is Bowling Green with a 2007 population of an estimated 28,884. The City of Perrysburg has just over 17,000 residents, according to the same estimate. Rossford has a population of 6,400, and Northwood is approximately 5,500. Perrysburg Township has a total of 13,700, while Lake Township has 6,250, and Troy Township is around 3,500. The Village of North Baltimore has a population of 3,300 and the Village of Walbridge is approximately 3,000.
Wood County contains a total of 617.4 square miles, including six state parks, forests, wildlife areas, and nature preserves, making up nearly 660 square miles
Housing in Wood County is made up of 47,468 housing units, more than 95 percent of those are occupied housing units with another five percent unoccupied. Approximately 23 percent of those homes were built during the 1970s with another 20 percent built before 1940. One-third are occupied by the building owner, while renters fill about 28 percent of residences. The majority of the housing units have a value between $60,000-$200,000. Statistics show that 70 percent of housing units are heated by utility gas, and another 15 percent by electricity.
Nearly half of the families in Wood County consist of a married couple with both husband and wife in the workforce, and only 4.7 percent of families live below the poverty level. Just over 53 percent of residents have lived in the same house for the past decade.
Among Wood County tourism sites are Fort Meigs, a rebuilt fort that dates back to 1813 when it was originally constructed by William Henry Harrison. The rebuild was completed in 2003, and a new visitor center with a 3,000-sq. ft. museum were added. The fort has four interactive blockhouse exhibits detailing the history of the fort and daily musket demonstrations are given all summer. Reenactments are held monthly in the warm-weather months. The museum is open year-round.
The Wood County Historical Center and Museum stands on the former county infirmary, which operated from 1869-1971. A wealth of information about the history of Wood County and different aspects of life through the years can be gleaned during a visit.
The National Construction Equipment Museum is open in Bowling Green by appointment, while classic cars, viewed in a 1940’s-style setting, can be seen at Snook’s Dream Cars in Bowling Green.
The Maumee River, along the county’s northern border is home to world-class fishing. Lake Erie Walleye migrate up the Maumee to spawn every spring, attracting anglers from all over the country and the world. Peak catches are hauled in between mid-March and late April.
Other attractions in Wood County include the courthouse which was constructed beginning in 1894, the Bowling Green Wind Farm , a venture between the City of Bowling Green Public Utilities, American Municipal Power, and Green Mountain Energy Corporation. The four wind turbines measure 391 feet in height.