SP industrial park gets manager

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 31, 2000

County economic developers will have a new ally next week – a manager for the South Point industrial park.

Friday, March 31, 2000

County economic developers will have a new ally next week – a manager for the South Point industrial park.

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The Lawrence Economic Development Corporation has hired former Allied Chemical plant manager Roger Haley to oversee industrial park efforts.

"Our focus will be on attracting business that will provide the maximum number of jobs for this area," Haley said.

Haley, who retired from Allied two years ago after more than two decades managing that plant, foresees a bright future when considering the South Point site’s existing attractions.

The quasi-public LEDC owns part of the 504-acre park near the defunct South Point ethanol plant and is seeking the remainder from Ashland Inc.

It contains 10 miles of existing railroad lines, acres upon acres of flat land, pre-existing buildings and pipes capable of pumping to and from the river.

The property fronts U.S. 52 for more than a mile and includes 4,700 feet of riverfront.

The park also offers new industries several tax incentive packages.

"From an industrial perspective, it really offers a lot," Haley said.

An option of moving products by rail, road or river can be enticing to many industries, although it varies depending on the type of industry, he said.

The industrial park has already drawn interest from several prospective tenants, Haley added.

"It’s not like they will move in next month, but there has been interest without really going out and marketing (the site)," he said.

Haley’s first step will be joining forces with the LEDC in developing a master plan for the park, he said.

Officials need to determine how much usable land exists and make it more attractive to prospective tenants, he said.

"Basically, we’ll be getting the property ready to lease out," Haley said.

Part of the master plan also might deal with how to divide land to take maximum advantage of existing rail lines, for example, he added.

As part of his managerial role, Haley also will work with the industrial park’s Empowerment Zone designation.

The park became part of the $100-million, tax-incentive packed zone last year when Congress approved a Huntington, W.Va.,-Ironton-LEDC grant partnership to develop infrastructure and create more jobs during the next 10 years.

Local officials plan to use some of the grant’s $100 million to repair rail lines and utilities, develop a master plan and market the South Point industrial area.

LEDC officials have said that experts estimate a site of such size and access could attract industries that will create as many as 7,200 jobs.

The industrial site is in its early stage of development but the potential is great, Haley said.

And the potential of thousands of jobs in coming years means hope for the Ironton area, which has lost 1,000 jobs within the last year, former Cabletron workers said this week.

Precision air conditioning and power systems manufacturer Liebert Corp. announced Monday that it would move into the former Cabletron plant in Ironton.

Workers who received their last paychecks there last March view the expected 150 jobs as a blessing but have cautioned county officials to be careful.

Now it’s time to double up the effort of attracting new industry while things are changing for the better, they said.

Haley’s employment will become effective Saturday. He will work out of the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce’s South Point office beginning Monday.