PDT Staff Writer
Officials in both Scioto and Lawrence counties are coming together to share resources in an effort to further industrial development at the county line.
“It’s an extension of some of the ideas and proposals brought forth in that Fluor/B&W plan,” Scioto County Economic Development Director Steve Wells said. “With everything that is happening up and down the (Ohio) River, it is amazing how much interest has been focused on this general area, this southern part of the state in the last few months, because of the increase in rail traffic; because of the increase in river traffic and all that stuff.”
Fluor/B&W commissioned a study by Canup & Associates in association with Bruce Facility Planning Consultants, climaxing with a report titled “The Future of the South Central Economy.” That study was focused on Scioto, Ross, Pike and Jackson counties, based on the regions where workers at the Piketon reservation lived.
“It was an effort to help identify reuses of that reservation out there, but knowing that is a long-term cleanup process, the more immediate focus by the consultants was, what do we do now, with assets that are within these communities outside of that reservation, and help build an economic base before that reservation is ready to be marketed,” Wells said. “It culminated in a final proposal for folks to think about. And we are in that process now of working with them now.”
Wells said the consultants identified several industry classifications they felt would be most likely to be attracted to southern Ohio.
“Now we are in the process of working with them to identify specific companies and specific people to carry the message to,” Wells said. “One of the best sites we’ve got in this area lies right between Lawrence County and Scioto County.”
Wells specifically cited the 950 acres being considered for the proposed New Steel project. Another area Wells said is attractive to industries is 170 acres along the riverfront controlled by Hadsell Development, that runs from U.S. 52 to the Ohio River.
“One of the things that came out of that study was the need to leverage resources by several entities here, because no one entity could make it by itself in this economy,” Wells said. “But by leveraging resources and with some help from Fluor’s Community Commitment Plan, and joint marketing efforts, and several things put out at that plant, our chances for success are greatly increased, especially with the way the world is looking at this region.”
Wells said Lawrence County officials have been helpful throughout the efforts involving industries to the area, including New Steel.
“They have some things set us such as trade zones we can benefit from,” Wells said. “They have worked jointly with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Huntington, West Virginia, to get docking permits for Infra-Metals, and other projects.”
Infra-Metals is currently moving forward with construction of a steel distribution center in New Boston.
“Lawrence County wasn’t in the original focus of the Fluor study, but it was one of the the suggested additions, just as a natural neighbor, a natural partner in daily life,” Wells said. “And because we’ve all worked together. They’ve (Lawrence County) worked great with the (Southern Ohio) Port Authority and the (Scioto County) Commissioners, and on the (Scioto County) Jail - just all sorts of projects - it goes back a long way. So we’re just trying to get together and see what this is going to look like, what we can do together. We want to include Lawrence County as a partner in these efforts.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.