PDT Staff Writer
Officials with the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) have found success raising the necessary funds to hire a director and fund economic development activities.
“We are taking this as a sign the local business community is behind economic development and likes the idea of having a single point (person) for the county, headed by a professional,” said C.B. Herrmann, SOPA spokesman.
When asked about the response SOPA has received, Herrmann said, “At this point it seems we are limited by the number of calls we can make. We’ve gone to the local governments for support. The village of New Boston, city of Portsmouth and Scioto County are seeing the advantage of working together. Individually nobody can afford to put the money into economic development that it takes.”
Herrmann said collectively, those things can happen.
“We’ve also gone to the former SOGP (Southern Ohio Growth Partnership) members and (Portsmouth area) chamber (of commerce) members who are solid in the community and want to see it grow for support,” Herrmann said. “We’ve been very pleased with the support we’ve received from big organizations to individuals.”
When asked if there were any expectations going into the fundraising campaign, Herrmann said, “We feel this is the right thing to do. We thought the community would support it and they have,” Herrmann said.
“I’ve been asked by (SOPA) members what was realistic number that could be raised. I initially said I thought we can raise $60,000, I was confident of that. After less than a couple of months of knocking on doors and talking to people I’ve now raised that to $100,000 and I think we are going to surpass that.”
Herrmann said thus far SOPA has support from Sun Coke, Southern Ohio Medical Center, Glockner’s, Hatcher Realtors, American Savings Bank and Lutes Supply. He said most of the commitments have signed on to support SOPA for three years.
He said a number of other appointments have been set up to gain more support from other organizations.
Earlier this week it was announced that Jason Kester, a Columbus Attorney and Scioto County native, had been hired as SOPA’s first executive director, with an annual salary of $65,000.
For more information about SOPA visit them on Facebook.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.