Today, with many local, state and national leaders and representatives in attendance, the Scioto County Economic Development Department and the Scioto County Commissioners officially unveiled Project SOAR, which includes the Southern Ohio Aeronautical Regional Business Park at the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport. This project promises to bring economic growth and prosperity to our region.
These two groups made theannouncement at the Greater Regional Portsmouth Airport in Minford Friday at 10:00 a.m., to all in attendance, who had an interest in this project.
Scioto County Commissioner Brian Davis, began by speaking on behalf of the commissioners himself, Cathy Coleman, and Mike Crabtree and thanking everyone who was in attendance. And he wanted to welcome everyone, especially as he said, “our state and county representatives who are here, and the many partners who have gotten us where we are today and will take us even further in the future.”
“The Scioto County Economic Development has been in full swing on many many projects, these guys have been working very hard and we owe them a debt of gratitude for all their hard work,” Davis said. “They’ve been working on these projects for many months and the focus and concentration have been to the development of Route #823, with no less than 17 projects ongoing right now, it has been a very busy year. The business park development process here is our vision for better economic development happening now in Scioto County.
“We are partners with Flour-BWXT Portsmouth, AEP Ohio APEG Economic Development in Eastern and Southern Ohio, JEDISO Joint Economic Development Initiative Southern Ohio Scioto County Airport Authority Jobs Ohio, Scioto County Engineer’s Department Ohio Valley Business Development Commission and many others,”
Davis also told the crowd, “Today you are going to hear about a very important project Project SOAR (Southern Ohio Aeronautical Regional) Business Park, the vision and planning of which started in late 2015. I can honestly tell you that as soon as they announced the building of the highway, plans are starting for this that we are talking about today. It is officially launching today, now, and in the future.” He then asked Doug Green, Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 66th district to lead the pledge.
Liberty Schindel representing AEP, then presented a check in the amount of $10,000 to the Scioto County Economic Development for Southern Ohio Aviation Region. Davis then mentioned Darren LeBrun, Scioto County Engineer, and the work that his office has done in getting this project underway and what they will be doing right away.
Davis then turned things over to Jack Williams and Jonathan “JD” Dowell, from Flour-BWXT. “I’d like to reaffirm our commitment to the economic prosperity of Scioto County,” Dowell said. “It’s an honor to be part of this group For the next two years (we have a ten-year contract and have used eight years), we are committed to being a part of this wonderful part of Ohio. It matters to us to be part of our community. I’m excited to be looking at a prosperous future.”
“Back in 2015, we started working with the Scioto County Commissioners, the airport board, Robert, Mark(Scioto County Economic Development), Phil LaJoye and looking at what we could do when the bypass was going to go through here,” said Scioto County Career and Technical Center Central Office Administrator Josh Shoemaker. “Where we are looking at is in the next five to ten years…within two hours we can train an airport technician making $70,000 a year the high-quality in-demand jobs. We want people to take a leap of faith and sent their kids out here and try to get a profession that will be successful and rewarding.”
Davis added to that. “The idea is to build the need to have that demand here at this airport.”
Bryn Stepp from Lieutenant Governor, Jon A. Husted’s office, was introduced saying, “Ohio’s workforce and economic development are priorities for the DeWine Husted administration and announcements like this from AEP, are going to pave the way for economic growth for Scioto County and help to boost workforce opportunity with the addition of the Scioto County Career and Technical aviation maintenance program, students are going to be able to be prepared for in-demand jobs with this new addition. That could coincide with the Lieutenant Governor’s effort as the newly appointed Director of Workforce. Partnerships such as this one with AEP and Flour-BWXT are what it takes to turn around the economy for southeast Ohio and move it to a bright future.”
Finally, Davis introduced Robert Horton Director, and Mark Ward Assistant Director from Scioto County Economic Development to give a presentation for SOAR. Horton began by mentioning how important Flour-BWXT is to them, “What Flour does is for all four counties in the region. You are going to see that vision of what this airport can be with the schools(SCCTC) help, can be powerful.” He continued speaking about how that if all the groups continued to work together that people will see this vision come into fruition.
Ward then began the slideshow presentation. “This has been a tremendous opportunity, we’ve utilized all of our resources from every entity both local and on the national level.” The presentation began with the vision statement as we began, ‘vision without action is merely a dream action without vision just passes time, vision with action, can change the world.’
The presentation had a list of things that we can do here. Ward spoke on and said, “With the Ohio River, the opening of SR 823, connecting to US 23 you can see a crossroad, where these things come together.” He continued to mention the opportunities and the changes that have taken place in downtown Portsmouth how things use to be and the changes that have been made, and the new bridge. He also spoke about SOMC being the largest employer in Scioto County. He spoke of how Casey Neal of Minford Telephone has been instrumental in the groundwork that has already been laid there in Minford. There has been a lot of teamwork and partnership that have gone together to set things up to start moving forward for SOAR.Through the entire slideshow, Ward would point out things like manufacturing and the jobs this could bring, the businesses that it could bring and the overall future this project could have on Scioto County. Ward concluded with, “Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Southern Ohio Aeronautical Regional Business Park.”
Davis ended the meeting with thoughts, “We’re going to do our part to bring this to fruition to bring prosperity to our area again.” Project SOAR seemed to give those in attendance a vision and hope for the future of Southern Ohio especially Scioto County.
State Representative, Brian Baldridge, who was in attendance, said of the project, “This is great, I’m excited, as a past county commissioner, the most exciting projects come from the vision of development and growth from the people in the local area.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928