State funding to help develop site

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 22, 2000

Ironton officials are planning to move forward with plans to purchase and develop the Honeywell property – meaning more Liebert Inc.

Friday, December 22, 2000

Ironton officials are planning to move forward with plans to purchase and develop the Honeywell property – meaning more Liebert Inc. expansion – after receiving the approval of two state grants.

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"There is some indirect expansion involved with the acquisition of Honeywell," Lawrence Economic Development Corporation executive director Pat Clonch said.

ODOT has the site directly behind Liebert, which LEDC wants to acquire for a Liebert expansion that will provide 200 more jobs, Mrs. Clonch said.

The acquisition of Honeywell will help the city move ODOT to a site there, she said.

The project is expected to start early next year.

The city will receive $225,000 in state funds to help purchase the former Allied Signal site, Gov. Bob Taft announced Thursday.

Members of city council, Ironton Mayor Bob Cleary, the Lawrence County Commission and officials from the LEDC have been working to complete an undisclosed city-county economic development project since March.

"The commitment to revitalize the Ironton area is a high priority for the state," Gov. Taft said. "The Honeywell site acquisition and other successful projects such as Liebert Corporation’s presence and expanded job creation efforts have rejuvenated the Ironton and Lawrence County economies."

Gov. Taft said future help to boost the economy in Lawrence County will take the forefront of his agenda.

"I look forward to future state and local partnerships that are specifically targeted to increase economic growth and cultivate new business opportunities in southern Ohio," he said.

The grants will provide the needed monies to acquire and redevelop the former Allied Signal (Honeywell) property in south Ironton, Cleary said.

"The city is essentially buying 39.5 acres from Honeywell to facilitate the idea of the South Ironton Industrial Park – for $375,000," he said. "I have worked very closely with city council and Ralph Kline to make this project reality. We feel like this whole thing is a good deal. The bottom line on all of this is to create more jobs."

Through the Governor’s Office of Appalachia and the Ohio Department of Development’s Business Development grant, the state contribution requires the city to provide $151,000 in matching funds.

"I talked with the governor early in the summer about our economic problems and he assured me he would give us all the support he could," Cleary said. "We’ve worked hard on this project and the Governor has kept his word. Now, we’re hoping to borrow the matching funds from a local bank with the intention that the first sells of the property will give us enough to pay off that loan."

Council chairman Jim Tordiff said the action is part of the many executive sessions that have been held.

"This is part of the plan we’ve been trying to put together," he said. "It’s not all of the plan, but hopefully we’ll be able to share it with the citizens in the near future."

Mrs. Clonch said the generosity of Honeywell will certainly mean more jobs for the Ironton area.

"The City of Ironton certainly needs to create jobs," she said. "The whole purpose of this is to bring in jobs quality jobs. This site is ready to use and I think we are moving in the right direction."