Contract signed for The Point Infrastructure project

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 31, 2004

More than two years in the works, the I's have been dotted, the T's crossed and the contract signed to allow the infrastructure construction within The Point industrial park to begin.

The Lawrence Economic Development Corporation, Bill Enyart & Sons Contracting Inc. and other principal parties signed a $2.36 million contract Tuesday for the project that will construct water, sewer, roads and storm drains.

"This is a very big time for the Economic Development Corporation. This has been a part of the project for the last two and a half years," said Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the LEDC and the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce. "To see it all come together is amazing. The work will start very soon."

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An official ground breaking is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. April 16 inside the park. Work on the 180-day project is anticipated to be completed in September.

Expected to actually begin within the next 10 to 15 days, Enyart & Sons,

a South Point-based construction company, will install an eight-inch water main, 10-inch sewer lines and build more than two miles of two-lane blacktopped, 24-foot wide roads allowing for access to approximately 180 to 200 acres of the 500 acre park.

Commerce Drive will connect County Road 1 with Collins Avenue. Other roads that will open up the park are Technology Drive, Pointer Drive, Valley Drive and Industrial Drive.

"It is real exciting to work with local people, people you know. Plus, this is right here in our our backyard," Bill Enyart said. "It is great to see some growth here."

The infrastructure project is funded with $1.55 million from the U.S. Economic Development Authority, $300,000 from the Ohio Department of Development and additional monies from the Governor's Office of Appalachia, the Ohio Tobacco Settlement and Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone. It was originally expected to cost nearly $3 million but several cosmetic changes were made to scale the project back.

The Village of South Point will take over the management of the roads, sewer and water once the project is completed. It will go hand in hand with a $4 million project that the village has already begun that will double the capabilities of its water and sewer plants.

Still in the early stages, Phase 2 would open up The Point, primarily the riverfront. Phase 3 would construct more roads and open additional acreage, said Ralph Kline, executive director of development for the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization.

The Point has four tenants already in structures - Total Safety Inc., M & M Services Inc., Mid-Valley Supply and Calgon Inc. Superior Marine Inc., Marathon Ashland Petroleum and RDI Construction use and work within the park but do not have buildings.

Ohio University Southern plans to build it Leadership and Training Center on a five-acre plot of land adjacent to U.S. 52. Work should begin this summer and take 9 to 12 months to complete.

Also, Portsmouth-based company Portco Inc. have begun construction of a 42,000 square-foot steel shell building that should be ready to be occupied by the end of May once a tenant is identified.

"There is some real interest in the park. It is a premier industrial place so it has generated a lot of interest," Dingus said. "The whole goal of this property is that we want jobs that pay $10 to $12 per hour, with benefits. Benefits are the key."

The Point's transportation access, 7 miles of rail and 3,300 foot of riverfront property makes it "one of the best opportunities in the Tri-State," Dingus said.

Kline agreed that the Point will make a huge difference in the county's ability to market itself.

"In the past, it was very difficult to work with industry expansion because the lack of a building and a location …" Kline said. "This is one of the first time we have an actual site. Now, we are starting to have the tools in our tool chest."