Airport could play vital role in development


By Wayne Allen - tallen@civitasmedia.com



One of the ongoing conversations local leaders have been engaged in is how can the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport be used to attract development in the Minford area and Scioto County.

In 2016, the Southern Ohio Port Authority and the Scioto County Commissioners partnered to have a report done on the airport and what the target industries need to be. One of the recommendations from the report on target industries was aerospace.

Jason Kester, executive director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority, said leaders from Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia have come together as a region to market the are to potential businesses.

Kester said the airports in Huntington, Pikeville, Prestonsburg and Ashland are working the same evaluation that was completed on the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport.

He said once those evaluations are complete they will be able to move on some things.

“Some preliminary next steps include, asset mapping, founding out the strengths and weaknesses of each communities are,” Kester said.

He said all of this information could mean the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport could play an important role in the development of the area.

“I’m having conversations with (people in) West Virginia and Kentucky. That’s really a new thing too,” Kester said.

He said the tri-state cooperative of airports are working on attracting aerospace businesses to the region.

“JEDISO (Joint Economic Development Initiative of Southern Ohio) has four or five (target industries). the tri-state corporation is going to put all of their efforts into that one target industry (aerospace),” Kester said.

When asked if attracting aerospace business seems feasible Kester said, “it does. If you draw a circle from Columbus, down 71, across 70 and down 75 towards Cincinnati. Down Cincinnati to Lexington, across up through central West Virginia and back across to Columbus, we’re right there in the middle.”

Kester pointed out that GE Headquarters is in Cincinnati and Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which is the research and development command for the military.

In November, a new Fixed Base Operator was announced for the Greater Portsmouth Regional Air Port. PMH Aviation started operating at the airport last year and plans to offer aircraft rental, ground on instruction, training supplies, on site testing and many other things. The aircraft services offered include; on-duty mechanic, fill service maintenance shop, major and minor aircraft repairs and many more things.

The Scioto County Commissioners have also been working on some development projects around the airport to boost the possibility of development around the airport.

“There’s a bright future for the airport. The Scioto County Commissioners are excited about the possibilities that surround the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport,” Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis said.

Davis said he along with the other commissioners are excited about the new FBO. Davis announced the county will be spending nearly $200,000 on a project aimed at enhancing the infrastructure in the area of the airport, with an eye towards future development.

Davis hinted at plans being developed for future projects in the Minford area to enhance infrastructure.

By Wayne Allen

tallen@civitasmedia.com

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or at @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101 ext. 1933 or at @WayneAllenPDT on Twitter