ODD grant to help attract Engines, Inc.

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 31, 2004

One more critical piece is in place.

That's how local development leaders describe a $300,000 grant approved Monday to help woo a West Virginia-based company's plans to expand into South Point.

Ohio Department of Development director Bruce Johnson announced Monday that Lawrence County will receive a $300,000 grant to help Engines Inc., an Ona, W.V.a., railcar components manufacturer.

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"I think the project is moving forward," said Ralph Kline, assistant executive director of development and planning with the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization. "That's one key piece that's needed to put it together."

The CAO helped the county write the grant application for the Community Development Block Grant.

"With that and upon environmental release, that should allow the deal to be closed and go forward," Kline said. "I'm not sure if they've gotten the lease language signed off on it or not. I know certain commitments have been made in this application process."

Lawrence County issued a notice in late July of intent to request approximately $1.38 million in federal funds for a project for Engines Inc., with $300,000 from CDBG funds.

The funds would be used to construct a rail spur, upgrade gas and electrical utilities, make parking improvements, make building improvements and additional needs at an as yet undisclosed portion of The Point.

Engines Inc., incorporated in 1987, manufactures structural steel freight rail car components. A move into Lawrence County would be an expansion of the company's business and bring approximately 50 new jobs to the area.

While Kline said although the leases are not yet signed, he feels good about the project's success.

"Until you get it signed and committed and in concrete, there's always the 'what ifs,'" he said. "But it's unlikely (that it won't happen).