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Q&A: Moraine’s new community development director

The city of Moraine’s new community development director has been busy the last few months getting to know local business owners.

Matt Eisenbraun has committed his time to getting to know the local business community and the people that live there, in addition to learning more about what makes the city tick.

Previously, he served for a decade as economic development program manager for the city of Middletown. There he built a variety of programs to welcome people into the community. One thing is certain: Eisenbraun is dedicated to making Ohio a better place to live.

What drew you to your new position at the city of Moraine?

I think what drew me to the position is taking on the challenge that is facing a lot of organizations today and led to the integration of community and economic development for a lot of communities. I’m pretty sure every business we talk to today has the same question – ‘How can the community help us attract and retain staff’? And young folks today prefer to live where they work so economic development has become a ‘team sport’ involving the whole community. Today, it’s so much more than incentive packages and landing new companies. If you aren’t attracting workforce through dynamic community development, you’re behind right from the beginning.

What is the state of economic development in Moraine?

In general, Moraine is in pretty good shape. While there are opportunities, the general mix of available buildings and gray fields is actually very good for where we would like to grow. Historically, we have had a very robust industrial and manufacturing base and we’d like to continue with that focus. We never overbuilt in our retail sector so we don’t have too much vacancy there and we have some incredibly dynamic technology, medical, back-office, and C-suite community members that we can continue to grow around.

Our legacy residential neighborhoods are in really good shape comparatively and one of the most impressive opportunities is the amount of residential green field areas we have on the west side and that’s a real opportunity to support our workforce attraction efforts. I think after we complete the Comprehensive Plan Update, you’ll continue to see robust development in all areas and sectors.

Can you talk more about the Comprehensive Plan Update?

It’s scheduled for late this year. I’m a big believer in ‘planning the work and working the plan.’ In a basic sense, it’s an enhanced SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and resource analysis combined with market research and a lot understanding of what the citizens and businesses would like to see.

Ideally, we’ll bring in dynamic consultants who will help us figure the best path forward to connect the goals of the community with the opportunities that are out there and the resources we have to work with. We’ll understand where we are, what it’s like out there, and where we want to go – then it’s setting a pathway and decisively moving down it.

What direction is Moraine headed?

Without a doubt, Moraine is headed on an upward track, and I would even say that the community is accelerating on that trajectory. We came out of the great recession with a much more diverse business base, and it has helped stabilize our economy while allowing for continued growth in numerous sectors. Covid put a pause on some projects, but we’re now ready to go.

I am most excited about where we are at within the region and its position – both literally and figuratively. Not only are we geographically right in the middle of an incredibly well positioned region, we’re also well positioned to support the economic growth that’s coming due to the partnerships and alliances that also working here. Primarily, my role will continue to be as a facilitator — putting people together to create win/win projects that help grow the community and provide our folks with a great quality of life.