Interim manager of The Point named

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2003

SOUTH POINT - For Billy D. Price, accepting the position of interim park manager of The Point industrial park is "like being back home again."

The 70-year-old Kenova, W.Va., resident will take the position for a 90-day period beginning June 15 to make sure that it is a good fit for everyone involved, he said.

"It is very important to me to try and help the economy," Price said. "We need to make jobs and make opportunities for our young people. Too many people leave this area."

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Although he was born in Kenova, Price spent a lot of his childhood in South Point.

"You used to be able to ride a train back and forth for 10 cents," he said.

Before retiring in 1994, Price worked construction all of his career, including positions as general manager for Union Boiler Company of Nitro, W.Va.

and general manager of Cardinal Construction Company of Catlettsburg, Ky.

"I just wanted to get active again," he said of coming out of retirement. "After more than 50 years of it, it is hard to back off."

Pat Clonch, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce, said Price was "the ideal candidate."

"His experience, expertise and interest were big factors," Clonch said. "He has been over here many times with no thought for a job. He has already used his connections to show the park to two potential tenants."

Clonch spent the last month reviewing applications and interviewed five candidates after Roger Haley resigned April 15 because of what he termed philosophical differences between himself and Clonch. However, both said the parting was just the right time and on good terms.

Although Clonch had hoped to hire someone by May 1, the search took a little longer than anticipated because finding the right person was more important, she said.

Even before he goes on the payroll in June, Price will work on a voluntary basis to help projects at the park move forward.

Phase 1 of developing The Point is a $3.25 million project that will focus on building roads and making water, sewer, electric and natural gas services available throughout the park.

The engineering and design work to develop the roads and utilities for 179 acres of the 504-acre site should be completed in three weeks. Actual construction could begin in August, although that may be optimistic, Clonch said.

Another focus will be the construction of a 40,000 square foot spec building on the five-acre lot where the South Point Ethanol offices were located. Having a building improves the chances of attracting potential tenants, Clonch said.

The LEDC continues to wait for the closure letter from the Environmental Protection Agency so the U.S. Economic Development Administration can release $1.5 million in funds, she said.

As soon as this is completed, Ohio University Southern will begin construction on its training center that will work with area businesses to train those already in the work world to meet businesses' specific needs, moving its Center For Development from its Ironton offices.

The $800,000 project will construct a 6,500 square-foot building with classrooms and labs that could accommodate up to 100 people in training at a time.

At this time, The Point has five committed tenants who are already in the park or plan to locate there, including Total Safety, Inc., Mid-Valley Supply, Calgon Inc., Superior Marine Inc. and Ohio University's Center for Development.

Clonch said Price's extensive experience is invaluable, and she truly believes he will be successful.

"I have no doubt in my mind that what he does will be beneficial to Lawrence County," she said. "My expectations are that he will perform above and beyond anything we hoped for."