LANCASTER, Ohio (WCMH) — Lancaster’s mayor said Google is putting his city on the map.
The rural Ohio town is the latest to join a list of locations in the state where tech giants are making huge investments.
“Now that Google has discovered it and the announcement is out, we kind of have the Google seal of approval,” Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler said. “If it’s OK for Google to be here, it’s OK for a lot of other people to be here.”
Google is investing more than $2 billion into the state to build one data center off Whiley Road in Lancaster and another in South Columbus. Google already has a running location in New Albany.
Scheffler said the construction is already bringing in tons of jobs to the area.
“Many of them are staying here, eating here, shopping here, buying groceries here, and that likely will go on for some period of time,” Scheffler said.
Scheffler said this is just the start for his thriving town. He said this investment will bring other opportunities and open doors for other businesses that may want to call Lancaster home, adding Lancaster is already getting notice in the economic development world, and not just from Google.
Scheffler said people in the town seem to be excited. However, he said he doesn’t think that some people realize just how big the impact will be.
“I occasionally get the question. ‘Why do we want economic development? Why do we need economic development?’” he said. “My answer is always, ‘So your kids and your grandkids stay here, and they don’t think they have to go somewhere far away to get a good job, to get an interesting job, especially in the tech industry.’”
Steve Stivers, the CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, said this may be the biggest announcement Lancaster has had in years. The area will join a list of names right along with Silicon Valley to house one of the biggest tech giants in the world.
Stivers said this is a great opportunity for Fairfield County to keep up its growth and for Lancaster to show off its vibrant economy and social fabric.
“You were starting to see Lancaster really grow and I think you’ll see a lot of towns in Ohio that maybe people were thinking, shrinking, start to grow as a result of these new companies coming to Ohio, and bringing jobs in investment,” Stivers said.
He said this is a big deal for Lancaster and all of rural Ohio.
“When you thought about high-tech companies, you thought about either Silicon Valley or the Boston area; now middle America and Ohio and Columbus,” Stivers said. “Ohio has Intel, it has Meta, it has Google and has AWS. A lot of those high technology companies are coming right here to Columbus and to central Ohio including communities like Lancaster.”
Scheffler said construction has been underway for about a year now. He thinks the data center will be up and running toward the end of this year.
Google has not revealed the exact number of permanent jobs the data center will bring to the area.