Haverhill steel plant offers unique opportunity

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 21, 2012

This past Tuesday evening, the Ironton Port Authority sponsored the project team for IPS LLC, the folks proposing to build an integrated Iron, Power and Steel facility in Haverhill to present a briefing to local leaders and potential investors.

The briefing was the same one given to Scioto Countians the week before in Portsmouth. Despite all the competing things going on at that time, the meeting was well attended.

The briefing was thorough and all questions were answered.

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As you may recall from a recent Tribune article, the group is offering $10,000 preferred shares with a 20 percent per annum dividend rate to raise money to complete work necessary to obtain the money to build the mill, starting in the middle of next year.

The construction would mean 1,500 construction jobs for four to seven years and the mill would eventually employ 1,000 employees making high quality steel, which cannot be made in this country at this time or for the foreseeable future.

Needless to say, it would be the best thing that has happened in this area since WWII swelled employment. Since the 1950s, we have seen nothing but shutdowns and departures with the associated population decline and deterioration of our quality of life.

The mill would create not only jobs at the plant but also at the associated companies which would support the mill and those who could use their products — maybe another 30,000 to 70,000 jobs here in southern Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

That would create an industrial infrastructure that would be attractive to other industry that could locate here. Our children and grandchildren wouldn’t need to move away to find work. We would have local stores to shop in rather than traipsing off to Kentucky or West Virginia to buy a pair of underwear as it is now.

I’m convinced we have enough folks with sufficient assets to sell enough of the preferred shares to facilitate this project moving forward — and to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Is there risk? Yes, but I think it’s manageable and it’s likely to be the only chance we’ll have for another 60 years!

My Mom used to say, “the turtle never got anywhere until he stuck his neck out!”

Here’s hoping Tigertown will step up and take a shot. Me? I’m in!

Paul Woods