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Steel project to strengthen region’s future

It may have taken longer than anticipated, but the Chatham Steel project could still be vital to our region.

Last week, county commissioners, in conjunction with state approval, signed off on an extension for Community Development Block Grant funding that is designed to facilitate economic development.

This was an easy decision that simply makes sense and takes into account the difficult economic times over the past year and a half that stifled much growth across the nation.

Projected to be located on approximately 12 acres along County Road 1A in Hamilton Township near Rumpke recycling and Duke Energy, this would be a perfect fit with other companies located along this industrial corridor.

In addition to the 50 quality jobs that would pay a respectable living wage, a prosperous steel plant could also create a variety of spinoff industries and inject money into the local economy.

If all goes well, rail and road design work should be completed this summer and put to bid this fall.

Projects like this won’t happen overnight and often look like they have fallen by the wayside. Then, all the permitting and financing eventually falls in place.

But it takes perseverance and community support. Residents have to understand that industries look at regions that offer great quality of life and a positive environment.

Lawrence County can be that place. It won’t be easy and it won’t change immediately.

But, if we are all on the proverbial bus, going the same direction, the destination will be one of which we can all be proud.