Civil Municipal Magazine Aug 2023

153 CIVIL AND MUNICIPAL VOLUME 4, ISSUE 8 While economic growth is clearly on the horizon for this dynamic city, it is all the more remarkable, as many towns have had to grapple with an inflationary climate over the last year and a half, as well as continued supply chain disruptions that have slightly slowed down economic growth for some cities of a similar size. Despite facing these same barriers coming out of the pandemic, Middletown is experiencing somewhat of an economic renaissance. As with anything in life, meeting this growth with adequate preparation is also the key to economic growth for any town or municipality. Middletown has laid the infrastructure groundwork to welcome new business and is well prepared to add commercial and residential development. Historical charm Located in the Southwestern part of Buckeye State, Middletown has grown to embrace a population of close to 52,000 residents. The city has a long and proud history that dates back to its origins in 1802. Strategically positioned halfway between Dayton, Ohio to the north and Cincinnati directly to its south, the name is fitting for its ‘middle’ position between these two well-known cities. The origins of its name can also be traced back to the home of its founder, Stephen Vail, who hailed from Middletown, New Jersey. The city’s prime location served as the perfect base for an active agricultural trading community with riverboats, canal barges, and freight wagons moving wheat, corn, tobacco, livestock, fruits, and vegetables to eastern markets and beyond. Later on, four railroad lines complemented the town’s trading dynamism. Middletown’s early industrial sector centered around tobacco, paper, and especially, steel. It first became a city in 1886 and 14 years later, in 1900, George M. Verity founded the American Rolling Mill Company (ARMCO) and built its first steel mill in Middleton to supply the flat-rolled steel he required for his roofing operations. The company’s successor, the AK Steel Holding Corporation, which acquired ARMCO in 1999, MIDDLETOWN, OHIO was itself purchased in 2020 by Cleveland- Cliffs, the largest producer of flat-rolled steel in North America that currently employs about 2,100 workers at its Middletown facility, representing one of Middletown’s largest employers and economic drivers. Poised for commercial and industrial growth Middletown of today, although steeped in agricultural history has grown to become an innovative and forward-thinking city that is embracing economic development and preparing for it head-on. Although the city may have been viewed by many in previous years as more of an industrial town with steel being a major economic base, the City has managed to transform itself and is working hard to rebrand as a modern, thriving, and progressive community with plenty to offer visitors and residents.