Links & Resources

Event Planning

Grand Opening and Groundbreaking Tips

Conducting events at your development, including ribbon cuttings and groundbreakings, are an essential part of the development process. Not only do they provide an opportunity to celebrate and announce the progress of your project, but they provide an opportunity to thank all of the partners involved in the project. The following resources can help you plan your event.


 Event Planning Form
 Event Planning Checklist
 Sample Grand Opening Press Release
 Sample Groundbreaking Press Release

If you are an Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing partner, contact Rhonda Snyder at 614.224.8446, ext, 168, or by email at to request an address list of investors in your property.

Event Planning Guidelines

  1. Determine date or possible dates.
  2. Decide on what key people you definitely want to attend; coordinate your available dates with their schedules. This may include Mayor, Congressional representatives, key community or development officials.
  3. Decide on location (at the complex – what area?).
  4. Think of a potential theme. This provides a "hook" for media coverage. This can also be used to determine how to celebrate the grand opening (ribbon across a resident's door or community center; presenting a door decoration or key to resident; big red ribbon with lots of scissors, etc.). Is it a place for families? What makes this development unique, desirable? Is the event formal or casual? A theme isn't always necessary with a standard ribbon cutting, but having one could attract more attention and could help tie the whole event together.
  5. Arrange for a tour of a couple of the units – this would be best if you could get some of the residents involved – to look at "lived in" units.
  6. Decide on a schedule of events – who will be the main speaker – who else you would like to speak. Make sure participants keep their talking points to a minimum. You want to make sure the program does not take longer than a half-hour – especially if people will be standing – just make sure everyone involved is acknowledged. You also may want to have a resident involved in the ceremony. It is usually appropriate to have the highest elected official speak first, but you may want to check with their office for their preference.
  7. Touch base with selected speakers to see if they are able to participate.
  8. Prepare invitations – try to send out at least two weeks prior to event. Put an RSVP on the invitation, project name, map, directions, phone number, contact name, etc.
  9. Suggested invitees:
    • Any federal officials involved with the project – also try member of Congress
    • State officials involved in project (Ohio Housing Finance Agency, Ohio Department of Development)
    • Local officials involved in project (Mayor, City Council, etc.)
    • All people involved in financing (lenders, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing and/or other syndicators, Federal Home Loan Bank, all investors, etc. OCCH can provide you an address list of investors involved in the project.)
    • Local organizations involved in the project (local community development corporations, neighborhood groups, etc.)
    • People with the project (manager, resident manager, owner, architect, accountant, etc.)
    • Residents
    • Media
    • If there is a residential neighborhood nearby, you may want to invite local residents or any resident group to promote positive relations and for them to be more informed on the project.
    • Anyone else?
  10. Coordinate any sort of refreshments, decorations, name tags if using them (cookies and punch, balloons, etc. ). Refreshments after the ceremony give a reason for people to stay a little longer, do some networking and receive personal thanks.
  11. Send media advisory out to local press – newspaper, radio stations, TV stations.
  12. Call press to follow up a couple days before the event.
  13. Prepare fact sheets or brochures on the project (including the name of every organization involved).
  14. Prepare an agenda to hand out.
  15. Prepare a press release for media acknowledging the grand opening and recognizing everyone involved in the project.
  16. Have a photographer on hand or have a staff person take photos.
  17. Make sure there is appropriate signage at the entrance of the complex and directional signs if necessary.