Port authority seeks park land

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 17, 2005

Ironton's Port Authority has a pretty simple message: Give it the tools and it will help build the future.

In this case the tools are property and the future is jobs.

Member of the port authority board, the volunteer-driven entity of five community leaders created by the city to focus on economic development, met with city leaders Thursday to ask for two more acres in the South Ironton Industrial Park but found out the city may be willing to hand over the remaining 30 acres of the park if it means more jobs. The port authority just recently finalized a deal to bring Aluminastic to the park, a deal that is expected to create. Now more plans are in the works.

Email newsletter signup

"We are in the process of negotiating with a manufacturing and distribution company that would like to come to Ironton," said IPA member Mike Haas.

The 5-year-old company would create a minimum of 60 jobs but could reach 100, most of which would pay an average of $15 per hour. Within 3 years, the company could have a $2 million annual payroll, Haas said.

The port authority would lease the property to the company but the job creation would serve as rent. If all the job incentives were met, the port authority would deed the property over after three years.

While Haas and port authority chairman Bill Dickens agreed that some operating money for the non-funded entity would be great, the job creation is worth far more when looking at the big picture.

"Jobs are the most important thing," Haas said.

In addition, Dickens said that there are two other companies that hope to locate near the prospective tenant.

Ironton Industrial and Commercial Development Committee made the recommendation that the city give the port authority the entire property to continue to market it.

Mayor John Elam indicated that two state agencies are still considering the industrial park as a potential site. The port authority also has several other deals in the works and having property at their immediate disposal would expedite the process.

"It would be very beneficial if the Ironton Port Authority had the entire park," Haas said. "It really puts a cloud over the negotiations because we can never say whether we can do something or not without coming to council."

But the economic development gurus are not just focused on the park.

Earlier this week, IPA representatives and Elam met with an out-of-state delivery service company that is looking at another site within the city. This company would create 70 to 100 jobs.

Discussions are also underway on two separate deals that would bring two other distribution companies to the city.