Committee forms to attract local development

November 16, 2012

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Scioto County Commissioner Tom Reiser said Friday he does not see much chance he will be re-elected, though the counting of some 1,500 provisional ballots will not take place until Monday. On election night, the unofficial count showed Doug Coleman defeating Reiser 14,696 to 14,392. But Reiser said the election results will not keep him from continuing to be involved in the New Steel project, and in a new development committee he has been working with.

“I’m going to stay involved as a private citizen in the effort to get a public/private economic development organization,” Reiser said. “I’ll do it as a Commissioner until the last of December. Then I’m going to continue to work with this group, because without the economic development group, the community is dead in the water. You’ve just got to have some professionals to do the marketing and to cross all the “T’s” and dot all the “I’s.”

Reiser said in any kind of negotiations with a business the situation is complicated.

“There’s grants and loans and real estate issues and all that,” Reiser said. “You’ve just got to have somebody that knows what they’re doing.”

Reiser said the people currently involved with the single-county effort represent a cross-section of the community, including business, labor, education, government, and other facets of community operation.

“We have just been calling our committee the Economic Development Committee,” Reiser said. “We don’t have a name for the organization. We’ve got some ideas where it’s going to go, so it’s probably premature to really get into great detail on it.”

Reiser said the group will meet on Nov. 27, and 4 p.m. at the Scioto County Welcome Center to make the effort official.

“We’ve done a lot of background work on it, and now we’re talking about the actual organization, and how it would look, and who would be involved,” Reiser said. “Those things are still under consideration. We’re looking at some similar organizations that have been formed in other counties. It’s always easier to go out and adopt somebody that has been successful, than it is to have an adventure into disaster.”

Reiser said it will probably take another couple of months to get the organization’s’s framework together and present it to all of the interested parties. He said it is his hope that Scioto County would put money into the organization and that the city of Portsmouth would also contribute.

“We’ve got to design an operating budget and where that money would come from,” Reiser said. “Fluor (B&W) has made a commitment. Not a solid commitment. But they’ve said they will participate in it because it goes along with their vision of a regional plan.”

Reiser said the blueprint for how to operate a development organization is already in play, and that the group will need only to follow the way similar programs have been implemented.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com.