The Point building nearly finished

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 30, 2004

SOUTH POINT - A key part of the industrial park that many hope will be the foundation for Lawrence County's future was delayed so the building will have a more solid foundation of its own.

Construction of the 42,000 square-foot, steel shell building on the County Road 1 side of The Point, a 504-acre industrial park in South Point between the Ohio River and U.S. 52, is nearing completion. But the project has been pushed back from this week until Oct. 15 so that 12-inch concrete floors can be poured instead of the 6-inch floors that are common.

"We thought if we were going to do something, let's do something unique," said Dr. Bill Dingus, executive director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation that owns the property that was formerly home to Allied Chemical and South Point Ethanol. "It is an excellent building. It has amenities second to none. … We will have one of the most capable buildings around."

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Portsmouth-based contractors Portco Inc. is wrapping up construction on the $1.3 million project. By mid-October the exterior will be completed but interior design will be left up to the ultimate tenants. Dingus hopes to have someone committed to locate there by the end of the year and he remains optimistic that this will be possible.

"Marketing is in motion. We have two or three people that have expressed interest," Dingus said. "It is available and we are letting the world know. It is a great opportunity and something good will happen."

In recent years, long-time South Point resident Cecil Daniels has driven by the park that he once worked in for more than 30 years. Daniels said he likes what he is seeing.

"It makes me feel real good knowing that one of these days someone will get some employment there," he said. "That is what the ground is for as far as I am concerned."

Currently, The Point has four actual tenants - Total Safety Inc., M&M Services Inc., Calgon Inc. and Mid-Valley Supply. Superior Marine Inc. and Marathon Ashland Petroleum have a presence within the park but do not operate out of physical buildings.

Like many others within the community, Daniels remains optimistic that several smaller businesses will help fill the void left after South Point Ethanol finally closed down.

"Those plants put a lot of bread on a lot of tables and a lot of milk on a lot of tables," Daniels said. "A lot of families were raised by (that property)."

South Point-based company Bill Enyart & Sons Contracting Inc. continues to plow through on the $2.36 million road, sewer and water construction project that will open up approximately 180 to 200 additional acres of the park for development.

Heavy rains have put the project behind schedule. Still, Dingus said he expects blacktop to go down soon and that the park will be ready for a public celebration in late October.

Ohio University Southern still plans to build its Center for Leadership and Training on the U.S. 52 side of the park. Cost overruns have delayed that project from taking off.