Ground was broken for the new Wal-Mart Supercenter on the former Detroit Steel property on Monday.
The majority of the jobs will be produced at Wal-Mart.
“I would say we will be adding at least 300 new jobs when the store opens,” said New Boston Wal-Mart Co-Manager Mary Lee Robinson.
Warren said that when the new Wal-Mart Supercenter and the in-line stores are opened, it will be a boost to the area's economy.
“We turned an ugly barrier into something viable to benefit the entire area, not just New Boston,” Warren said.
The ground that the development project is on, was considered a “brown field,” that is, it had been identified as contaminated.
“We at the Port Authority purchased the land, then filed for Clean Ohio funds,” said Mick Sturgill, chairman of the Southern Ohio Port Authority. “We had to do two phases of planning, identifying all contaminants, and have an end-user (agreement) in order to apply for the maximum of $3 million from the Ohio Department of Development, and we did, with Wal-Mart being the end-user, and received the $3 million.”
Sturgill said that the funds were divided into two parts.
“We spent $1.1 million on the Wal-Mart property and $1.9 million on the 17 acres west of the Wal-Mart site,” he said. “We are setting that area aside strictly as an industrial site.”
Sturgill said that the paperwork required for the grant application weighed 58 pounds. SOPA's first project was the OSCO Industries site, that was completed before the funds were available.
Present for the ground-breaking were Larry Wills and David and Daniel Sadd, the developers, who provided $9 million as their part of the cleanup of the property, Ken Dewey, of the Environmental Protection Agency, Rep. Todd Book, D-McDermott, John McGill, Community Development of Ohio, the agency responsible for the Clean Ohio funds, and Bob Walton, vice-chairman of SOPA.
Bill Mason, who will continue as manager when the store is moved from its current location to the new property, also was on hand for the event and talked about his hopes for the new store.
“I hope that it will drive down the cost of living for the community, and it should, because there will be more selection among the grocery business,” said Mason. “People will have more money to spend on other things, if they spend less on their grocery trip.”
The project is nothing new for Robinson, who has been with Wal-Mart for 15 years.
“Been there, done that,” he said. “I was involved in the opening of the Wal-Mart on Route 60 in Huntington, (W.Va.) and a month later, the store at the Huntington Mall. I had to do double training at the time, so it was really hectic. We won't have that issue here.”
Robinson said that the store, when completed, should be around 210,000 square feet and will have a lot of new features.
“In addition to the grocery, we will have a drive-through pharmacy where people can drop off and pick up their prescriptions, a tire and lube express where you can buy tires too, and according to the mayor, we will also be having a gas station,” said Robinson.
Warren said that it looks like Murphy Oil will be putting in a fuel stop at the Wal-Mart location, and that Bob Evans has already signed on to put a restaurant in the plaza.
“It makes me proud that SOPA has, along with Wal-Mart, provided the leadership in cleaning up this site,” said Warren.
Mason said that he expects the new store to open around May 9, 2007.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.