By Wayne Allen
Members of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) met in regular session on Friday afternoon, where it was announced that SOPA Director Jason Kester will lend his support to the proposed New Steel project.
“The Southern Ohio Port Authority is fully supportive of his (John Schultes) project.” Kester said. “If that thing (New Steel project) would go, it would be the greatest thing in the world. We are still trying to figure out ways to help them get funding and the best way we can do that is having me (Kester) be supportive and offer help in any way I can.”
At the January meeting of SOPA ,Kester announced he was working on a recommendation for the SOPA Board and the Scioto County Commissioners on whether or not the county should give New Steel the money they’ve requested.
In December of 2013 it was made known that New Steel was asking the Scioto and Lawrence county commissioners collectively for $100,000. When news of the request was made known a number of officials from Scioto County raised a lot of questions about the request.
When asked about the subject, Scioto County Commissioner Doug Coleman said, “this has been going on for eight or nine years. Do we (commissioners) want to see the steel plant go, yes we do. Somethings got to happen, they’ve got to do more that what they’ve been doing. Are we for the steel mill, we’d be stupid not to be, but after eight years now something should have happened.”
Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree said, “there has to be some serious interest in that project. I don’t think that local communities have the kind of budget to keep that (New Steel) afloat, if they don’t have people backing them. I’ve advised them in the past to get the governor and some of the states U.S. Representatives on board and put more power in the mix. I don’t think as a county, even us and Lawrence County together could keep that project alive if there is no serious interest in it.”
Crabtree said New Steel has been asking the county for money since August of 2013.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT