Over $68,000 has been awarded to the Scioto County Economic Development Department by Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth. “Out of that money $18,000 has gone towards our travels and expenses to Columbus, meeting with different liaisons up there, economic developers and state officials. Along with a couple of classes, the ODEA Summit, and other economic development related events,” said Scioto County Economic Development Director Robert Horton.
“$40,000 of that is being spent as we sit here for infrastructure studies to the waste water in the Haverhill area, which is also known as the Ohio River of the Industrial Corridor, which involves Scioto County and Lawrence County, they makeup this corridor. That study is for the waste water treatment, we’re looking into the future of water we hopefully eventually come to those properties down there, the industry that will be involved and we’re trying to get an average of the quality of water we’re going to have to try and treat as these companies hopefully come.”
Horton suggested that PureCycle Technologies coming to the DOW facility in Lawrence County is what prompted the two counties, Scioto and Lawrence to try to work together.
“This particular infrastructure we’re looking at will probably, the water treatment plant if it’s a new build, be built in Scioto County and some of its services will be in Lawrence County. So the two counties will have to come together and make an agreement on how that will be managed, so one county doesn’t get stuck. The commissioners in both counties are meeting and that will go on, but the study is almost complete. It’s been underway now for about two months,” said Horton. “The $9,940 of that $68,000 plus is going towards two studies at the airport industrial park area for a water study and a sewer study. That’s where that money has gone, and of course we can’t thank Fluor enough for their belief in our department and what we are doing. There are currently two applications for two more grants that we have submitted to Fluor, and those are under review for two new projects in Scioto County. One is in Portsmouth, and the other is in the county.”
Horton stated that Fluor has indicated they will back both of those upcoming projects. “It’s really exciting, not to mention Jobs Ohio is backing a third project in Portsmouth, and they’ve actually given us a letter of assistance, an obligation, for $250,000 towards that project, and Fluor that’s one of the projects we have requested a grant from them to up the $250,000.”
Horton stated he could not name those projects yet, but stated they were well underway. “It’s exciting to know you’ve got somebody like that in your backyard that’s helping you do what we’re trying to do, because not everyone understands what we do, they really don’t.”
“Along with Fluor, that also involves Joint Economic Development Initiative of Southern Ohio (JEDISO) which was formed out of four counties, Scioto, Pike, Ross and Jackson. Fluor actually created so that the monies from Fluor, which is the A-plant, is dispersed among these four counties and the way they derived that is because the people that used to work at the A-plant prior to it shutting down, a majority of those people came from these four counties. Those were the ones hurt the worst economically, and that’s what it’s all about. At JEDISO, I set on the board for our county, you submit these projects through JEDISO, we score them and then we submit them to Fluor and they go out. That’s been an awesome team, the four counties,” Horton said. “They understand economic development because they’re fighting it just as hard as we are for their own counties. It’s hard not to thank these people, you’ve got to thank them all the time Jim and Tim at Fluor have probably been the most supportive people I’ve had in my pocket for the last year that I’ve been here. They come in, they’re strictly non-biased, it doesn’t matter what they think or what they believe, they come in and look at a project for what it’s worth, what they think it will economically do for your county or for your cities, and all the decisions are made based purely on that, and that’s hard to find.”
Horton stated he feels like now is the right time for change. “I think we’re in a good position right now to make a change, we’re feeling a lot of positive, especially in the last four or five months and as we start to do more things for these companies they’re realizing “these guys are straight up, they don’t care what our politics are, they don’t care what we think, they’re doing it for the right reasons. I think we’re getting more flexible with them because of that. When I first took office it was a nightmare to say the least. What happened prior to me getting here was kind of a mess and everyone was pointing fingers at everyone else, I just looked at all of them and said I don’t care. I don’t live in the past, I live for the future and we’ve got to find common ground in order for the county to grow.”
Reach: Ivy Potter (740)353-3101 Extension 1932