Pointing toward prosperity

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 29, 2004

SOUTH POINT - The building may look empty, but it holds a lot of promise. Just ask the couple hundred people who gathered outside of it in the rain Wednesday to celebrate its completion and the acres of rolling land around it.

State, local and federal government and business leaders converged on The Point industrial park for a "ready-to-use" party. On display were the 42,000-spec building and the new roadway, part of a $2.36 million project that installed water, sewer, storm drains and roads to open up approximately 200 acres of the industrial park.

In his remarks, U.S. Sen. George Voinovich paid tribute to the partnership between state, federal and local governments and the private sector, that worked together to secure the funding needed to rehabilitate the old Allied Chemical and South Point Ethanol site.

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"There is always some good that comes from an ill wind," Voinovich said. "We are recycling this facility.

… and this is something that ought to be done all across the United States of America."

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

Ohio University Southern plans to build its Center for Leadership and Training on a five-acre plot of land adjacent to U.S. 52. That facility will house

the university's leadership institute and training center.

Wednesday's ready to use party brought another bit of good news: Microsoft is donating $1 million to Appalachian states for computer software.

Edward Ingle, senior director of legislative affairs for Microsoft, said $100,000 is being allocated the Ohio's 14 Appalachian counties. Ohio University Southern will share in that money.

Tom Suter, director of

the Ohio Community Computing Network on the OUS campus, said the Microsoft gift will allow people who may not be able to afford a computer to learn to use one, and to have access to computers and software. He cited as one example an elderly woman on a fixed income who uses the center at OUS. The computing center allowed her the opportunity for both education, and high technology to communicate with family and friend.

"She told me yesterday if not for our help, she could not have done this," Suter said. We not only offer classes at the center but equipment: laptop computers, cameras."

The Point has received funding from a variety of state, local and federal sources including the U.S. Economic Development Authority, the Ohio Department of Development, the Governor's Office of Appalachia, the Ohio Tobacco Settlement, Huntington-Ironton Empowerment Zone. Voinovich called the partnership "the largest combined community effort in Lawrence County history"- an effort that allowed a former E.P.A. superfund site to be rehabilitated and turned into a useable site for business and industry.