Carlyle project worth cash if it creates jobs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2005

The aging structure sits silently, only a shadow of Carlyle Tile's former self. What was once a bustling part of the economy has become an eyesore that greets visitors when they enter Lawrence County from Ashland, Ky.

It has been more than 25 years since the doors were closed for good and the building has not been used for much since. All that could change soon if the Village of Coal Grove and owners McGinnis Inc. have their way.

The village has applied for a $1.76 million Clean Ohio Revitalization Grant that would be used to demolish the structures and clean the property of some contaminants.

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As proposed, the grant money would be used to clean the property but then McGinnis, a company that provides marine and transportation services from five locations and owns and operates river barges, tugboats, and docks along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, would revitalize the property with hopes of restoring it to some level of its past glory.

The fact that a private company would ultimately make a profit from something that was paid for with taxpayer dollars is a little concerning but you have to look deeper and consider several stipulations in the grant application.

Once the property has been "cleaned," McGinnis hopes to create a minimum of 50 new jobs at a facility that would focus on providing intermodal freight services - rail, barge, trucking.

Everyone knows the old saying that, "you have to spend money to make money." We believe that philosophy applies here. The investment by the state could be quickly repaid by the economic development that would be generated by a growing freight service and the creation of some high-paying, quality jobs.

We hope state officials deem this project worthy and give their stamp of approval so it can move forward. But we also urge those same leaders, as well as the local officials who have unanimously voice support for the project, to stay the course and make sure that McGinnis does, in fact, create the jobs.

If spending a little money can clean up the county and put some of our hard-working citizens back into the labor pool, well, that is money well spent.