Commissioners apply for funding for InfraMetals

August 21, 2012


PDT Staff Writer

According to Scioto County Economic Development Director Steve Wells, the $13 million InfraMetals steel distribution plant in New Boston is closer than it’s ever been to becoming a reality.

“We are getting very close, there has been a couple of last minute boundary issues and a couple of old easements that had to be solved. I would say by the end of this week, we ought to be in great shape and be able to move on down the road,” Wells said. “We’ve got the docking permit and no further action letters from the EPA. So, the hard things are done.”

Wells estimates the plant could begin construction as soon as September.

On Tuesday, the Scioto County Commissioners approved an application to the Governors Office of Appalachia for $150,000 for InfraMetals. If approved, the money would help InfraMetals purchase an overhead crane that will be used in the New Boston facility.

According to Commissioner Tom Reiser, once open, the facility will have between eight and nine overhead cranes operating. When asked what InfraMetals will mean to Scioto County Wells said, “this is going to mean 65 well paying jobs with benefits. There will be a nice new large building in New Boston and there will be a lot more river and rail traffic coming and going.”

He said over the past six years various people have been working to make this project become a reality.

“Bob Walton and those that had worked with him have been working on this project for six years. It was a fantastic undertaking, because that site was one of the most desirable sites anywhere on the Ohio River,” Wells said. “The site was also one of the most contaminated along the Ohio River. So, they leveraged all kinds of funds and assistance to get that place cleaned up, so the EPA could accept it, It’s just taken a while.”

The Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) first announced in 2007 their plans to remediate land behind the former Walmart building, where a diesel shop once operated in the New Boston Coke Plant. InfraMetals agreed to purchase the land from SOPA after it had been remediated and approved by Environmental Protection Agency. After SOPA had completed its remediation of the New Boston property last fall, they and InfraMetals hosted a formal groundbreaking ceremony, even though the company still had not — and has not — yet purchased the land.

“That’s not normal, but obviously the Southern Ohio Port Authority was very excited about our coming to the area and that was kind of their groundbreaking for their portion of the property. They were very excited to have us aboard, but officially the building won’t be started until the land purchase is completed and the title work is completed. But we feel as if we’re very close,” said Michael Dean, InfraMetals project manager.

Now with remediation behind them and the site approved by the EPA, Dean said the company is moving forward with legal transfer of the property to build the new facility.

As further incentive to build in New Boston, the company was granted a 40 percent, six-year Job Creation Tax Credit from the state of Ohio and a 75 percent, 10-year local tax credit from the village.

“What that does for us is it gives us additional monies to be spent on facilities and equipment. Both of those issues certainly have a positive affect on the size and scope of our project. I’m sitting in an airport right now getting ready to go look at equipment for this building,” Dean said, speaking over the telephone Monday morning.

The savings could also assist with hiring additional employment further down the road, he said.

Once the title has been cleared, Dean said the company will begin construction right away. He estimates the business will be completely operational by mid-first-quarter of 2013 with 25 starting employees and increasing to 65 or 70 as quickly as possible. The company will reportedly generate $1.8 million in new annual payroll at its New Boston plant.

A subsidiary of the publicly-traded Reliance-Infra-Metals (NYSE: RS) of Wallingford, Conn., InfraMetals steel distribution company already operates six steel service center warehouses in Florida, Virgina, Maryland, Connecticut and Illinois.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or wallen@heartlandpublications.com.