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Chamber lets guests see potential of industrial park

SOUTH POINT – Guests of the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce got to "The Point" Friday.

Sunday, July 22, 2001

SOUTH POINT – Guests of the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce got to "The Point" Friday.

The chamber threw out the welcome mat to 101 people for a picnic and a tour of The Point, the 504-acre industrial park county business leaders hope develops into thousands of jobs in the not-so-distant future.

In welcoming the guests, Carl Darling, chamber president, called The Point "an ideal place" for industry to locate. Those in attendance then filled a bus and vans for a first-hand look at The Point.

"We want the people of the community to know what’s going on here," Roger Haley, park manager said as the vehicles were loading. "We want to be open about what we are doing here and we want the people to see it. Hopefully they will see the potential we have here."

Though mostly land, the Point, located on the former South Point Ethanol plant site, does have a few existing structures. Some of these structures will be demolished while others will be leased, Roger Haley, park manager said. One building is currently being leased by Calgon.

Perhaps the most lucrative feature of the park is existing and potential intermodal transportation facilities. The Point has 3,370 feet of river frontage on the Ohio River and a Norfolk Southern rail line runs through the park. Also, it has available access to U.S. Route 52 and is located within 16 miles from the Tri-State Airport, giving The Point transportation options of all types for interested businesses.

The riverfront property is being leased to Superior Marine. Dale Manns, the company’s president, said his company is currently developing the site, which includes existing dock facilities and bulk liquid facilities with two 1-million-gallon storage tanks.

Haley said the river port would be "the heart and soul" of the park, adding there are "no good public ports on the Ohio River from Steubenville to Cincinnati." This feature, he said, makes the project very intriguing to the state.

Plans are in the work for adding rail spurs to help in transporting goods from the river to tenants of the park. In addition, through the help of Rep. John Carey, The Point was able to secure a $100,000 grant for the development of a road leading to the riverfront. Access to the waterfront is currently available on the other side of County Road 1, but it’s a gravel road with a steep hill that intersects a railroad – making it impossible for large trucks to pass.

The new road would be paved with two lanes and six-foot berms on each side, graded to take out the hill and straightened to line up with the access on the other side of County Road 1.

Haley said another positive of the park is utilities – including electric, natural gas, water, telephone and Internet access – are already in place. The Point is also part of the Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone and may be able to offer incentives to tenants through the Ohio Enterprise Zone and the Port Authority of Lawrence County. There are also plans in the works to make the park part of a foreign trade zone.

As far as the development of The Point, Haley said he is more concerned with the number of jobs than how many tenants occupy the park. The goal is for the park to create 3,000 jobs. Ultimately, he said he would like to see one good "anchor tenant" accompanied by several smaller businesses.

"We have been too dependent on large employers," Haley said. "When the company goes, the jobs go."

Pat Clonch, executive director of the chamber, said she was happy with what she saw Friday.

"I’m really pleased with the turnout," she said. "We were well represented by the county and state. A lot of people are interested in the potential of this project and this gave them the opportunity to witness that potential."