SCIOTO — Among the 19 items on its Thursday agenda, the Scioto County Commissioners passed a resolution that holds significance to the S.O.A.R. Business Park located next to Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport.
As a result of the resolution, a maximum principal bond issuance of $6.2 million would go toward the construction of the 45,000 square foot spec building and the Barklow Road extension.
Scioto County Economic Development Director Robert Horton, visiting the meeting, said the goal of the park is to add jobs and to create economic growth. Current layout could lead to an addition of more than 1,200 jobs he said.
“We worked diligently on getting this park in place to the point it is today,” he said, with SCED for the past 4 1/2 years. “But self-investment is huge and it has created the state’s interest and the feds’ interest…it’s just amazing what happens when you invest in yourself.”
Commissioner Scottie Powell called that earlier investment a “leap of faith” and thanked Horton and Scioto County Sanitary Engineer J.P. Pickelsimer for the work put into the park. Without the leap, he does not believe the level of commercial interest would be nearly as high.
“People don’t want to move into a field, they want to move into a building,” he said. “They want to move where infrastructure is and that’s all rounding out now.”
Commissioner Bryan Davis added that there is a sense of excitement surrounding the park in terms of interested companies before the concrete has been laid. The future is promising as well, he said, as the park is owned by the county.
It will get at a larger goal of building more sites, rather than sights in the area.
“This really speaks to how far we’ve come with the business park,” said Davis. “It started with a vision, with a dream really, to try to make it happen and we now have closed the loop on all utilities.”
“The benefit to this county will continue long after myself and this board exist,” added Commissioner Cathy Coleman, who tuned in to the meeting through speakerphone. “I’m really proud to be a part of it and want to tell Robert (Horton) well done and thank him for the dedication to this project and all of his projects.”
Of those mentioned utilities, Horton said conversations with a gas company took place who want to provide gas lines to the park and all the businesses that set up there.
This was not the case for the first three years, where offers were continuously turned down but changed in the past year.
“In the last year, we have really invested and we’ve put effort- big-time effort- in it and all of the sudden it’s real,” he said.
Davis feels this push needs to be continued to other parts of the county, taking advantage of the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway and the Ohio River, through private and public investment. The highway has increased the flow of traffic, avoiding bottlenecks and the four lanes allow for higher speed limits.
Site work and infrastructure preparations are ongoing as the steel is expected to hit the ground in mid-to-late August. Horton hopes to have the building ready in early spring 2022.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter. © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.