Last updated: July 24. 2013 2:30PM - 132 Views

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Wayne Allen

PDT Staff Writer

The Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) met Thursday for the first time since its membership was expanded from 11 members to 21.

During a meeting of the Scioto County Commissioners before the SOPA meeting on Thursday, the commissioners accepted the resignation of SOPA board member and former Scioto County Economic Development Director Steve Wells from the SOPA board. Upon the news of Well’s resignation, members of the SOPA showed their appreciation for Wells and his service to the board.

“Unfortunately we have received a resignation letter from Steve Wells from the board. I did my best to discourage Steve from resigning,” said Bill Thacker, Acting SOPA Chairman. “Steve had been going through a lot of changes in his life. Steve has done a great deal of work not just for the port authority but for the county as well. He has served in many capacities and he’ll be missed, but at his request I’ll be accepting his resignation.”

Wells’ regination immediately reduced the new board memebership to 20, leaving one vacancy.

On the agenda for board members included hearing a presentation by Jim Morgan from Fluor-B&W Portsmouth. The presentation was about Fluor-B&W Portsmouth Community Commitment and the things they are doing throughout Scioto, Pike, Ross and Jackson Counties to promote economic development and spur activities.

Board members also heard a presentation from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about a proposal to cleanup a portion of the former New Boston Coke Plant.

Thacker explained that conversations are ongoing with the Ohio Development Services Agency, along with the U.S. and Ohio EPA, “to perhaps test a demonstration project at the site of the old New Boston Coke Plant, which is pretty much contaminated. The site has benzene, PCPs, some coal tar and things of that nature,” Thacker said. “This (demonstration project) is a technology that’s been developed by Patel Institute. In essence its a smoldering technology which you would literally burn, underground the pollutants and clean it up that way.”

He said if the technology works it would cut the cost of remediation.

“If we move forward this would not likely get off the ground for another year. There will be a great deal of time devoted to studying to determine what is exactly at the site,” Thacker said. “When completed, that would open that land up for development.”

Other items on the agenda included a discussion of the SOPA bylaws, and a discussion of organizational financial information. Also an update was given on the Infra-Metals project slated for New Boston, and updates on some potential industries looking to come to the area in the future.

Chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners Mike Crabtree has indicated that additional changes may been needed for SOPA.

“We are asking the newly expanded port authority to review its bylaws and committees to determine if more structural changes are needed,” Crabtree said.

One of the items not of the agenda for the SOPA board to consider was the election of a new board chairman. In January former SOPA Chairman Mick Sturgill resigned. During the meeting Thacker assumed the chairmanship. Prior to Sturgill’s resignation Thacker had served as Vice Chairman.

Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com

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