The Point to get EZ funds

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 12, 2002

HUNTINGTON, W.VA.-- The Point industrial park is getting $850,000 from the regional Empowerment Zone to fund several

improvements at the site and for its application to join a foreign trade zone.

The board of directors of the Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone met Tuesday in Huntington to appropriate money for its year-four budget. Tuesday's appropriations totaled $1.05 million. To date, the board has allotted $1.25 million of its $3 million total budget to various projects in its two-state zone.

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"It's a little less

money than we had asked for, but everyone goes in asking for more than they want. We're pleased with what we got," The Point Park Manager Roger Haley said. "I can't say enough about what the Empowerment Zone has done for us."

Empowerment Zone Executive Director Kathy Burns said The Point will get $300,000 to build a spec building at the site. This money will be added to $1 million in state funding to construct a 40,000 square-foot shell building. When it is completed, the spec facility will be used to lure prospective tenants to locate in the park.

In addition, $280,000 was allotted to improve a road going to the Ohio River.

"Right now, all we have is a gravel road, and it has such a steep incline that big trucks can't get in and out," Haley said.

The incline will be corrected, the road will be paved and improvements will be made to the railroad crossing that intersects with the roadway.

The Empowerment Zone board also allocated $200,000 to upgrade the South Point village water system that will serve the industrial park tenants. New tenants will increase water use, thereby requiring more storage tanks, Haley said.

Burns said The Point is also getting $20,000 to be used as an application fee for its request to join a foreign trade zone with the Rickenbacker Airport in Columbus. Under that plan, 99 acres of the 504-acre industrial park will be set aside as a free trade area in hopes of luring large-scale business and industry that do extensive international business, such as pharmaceuticals, textiles and wood industries.

The Empowerment Zone board also allotted $200,00 to Huntington's new industrial park, Kinetic Park. These funds will be used to pay closing costs for new tenants and to survey the parcels of land as they are subdivided.

The board also reaffirmed its intention to allocate $500,000 from its year three funding for the proposed Pullman Square development in downtown Huntington. That money will be given to the Huntington Urban Renewal Authority to purchase the ChiChi's property.

Burns said the money was allocated a year ago, but the board requested more firm plans about the project before granting the money. Now that more specific plans have been completed, the board reaffirmed its allocation to the Pullman Square idea.