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Lawrence County moving forward in 2010, LEDC board hears

SOUTH POINT — The continued progress at The Point industrial park is moving the county closer to becoming a premier transportation resource facility.

That was the report Dr. Bill Dingus, director of the Lawrence Economic Development Corp., gave to the LEDC’s board of trustees at its annual meeting Tuesday morning at the Chamber’s South Point headquarters.

“I see 2010 moving into logistics,” Dingus said. “By 2011 Lawrence County will be the premier logistics site for the state, without question, with rail, water and roadway access. 2010 will be the year for logistic development. The infrastructure is developing to look to the future. It has been a year of partnerships. It has been a good year.”

Among the accomplishments cited are the upcoming creation of a rail pad that will allow for the loading and unloading of cargo at The Point and the completion of a third spec building.

Along with finishing up the spec structure will come a new tenant to The Point, whose identity will be announced in the next two weeks, Point director Jeremy Clay said.

At the first of next month bids will be taken for a fourth spec building, at a cost of either $40,000, $60,000 or $100,000, depending on the depth of investment the LEDC wants to make.

The LEDC also teamed up in 2009 with the Lawrence County and Ironton port authorities and the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization to form a limited liability corporation to buy the properties around Ninth and Vernon streets in Ironton to make it ready for development. The area is expected to be around six acres.

“The key challenge was how to assemble these properties and make them marketable,” said Ralph Kline, representing the county’s port authority at the meeting. “This is a good example of organizations working together.”

Kline also discussed the status of the Ironton Medical Campus to go up near the State Route 141 and U.S. 52 exit. About a year ago, Lawrence County Healthcare Futures, LLC, a consortium that includes the St. Mary’s Medical Center, the LEDC, ClearPoint Companies and the county port authority, announced plans for an $18 million health care facility.

Right now all structures on the 20-acre site have been acquired and razed except for Cooke’s Farm Center that is in the process of relocating to a new building on South Third Street in Ironton.

“Our goal is to have it ready for next construction season,” Kline said. “We are working diligently on design and permitting.”

In other business the board:

Heard about initial plans to provide broadband service to parts of Lawrence County in a loop around State Routes 141, 243 and 93.

Heard that the Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce exceeded its membership goal of 50 new members by 14 additional ones.

Authorized the LEDC to apply for a $30,000 or $35,000 grant from the tobacco foundation for extension of a roadway in The Point, if necessary.