Portsmouth receives honor for corporate investment

Published 11:12 am Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Portsmouth, Ohio, and Scioto County received tenth place nationally in Site Selection magazine’s annual ranking of Top Micropolitans with six total projects. Micropolitans are described as cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people that cover at least one county.

Site Selection’s Projects Database focuses on new corporate facility projects that are expected to have a “significant impact.” This includes projects like corporate headquarters, manufacturing plants, research and development operations and logistics sites. Retail and government projects, like schools or hospitals, are not included in the ranking.

New facilities and expansions must meet at least one of three criteria to be included in the analyses. They must involve a capital investment of at least $1,000,000, must create at least 20 new jobs, or add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor area.

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“The Governor’s Cup is the most important ranking in the economic development field,” Southern Ohio Port Authority Executive Director, Jason Kester said. “This award would not be possible without the support of the Scioto County Commissioners, the City of Portsmouth, Village of New Boston, the Chamber of Commerce, Main Street, Visitor’s Bureau and all of our corporate partners. We had nine major projects in 2016, all of which received some form of assistance from JobsOhio, the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth, the Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Fund, American Electric Power, or Fluor-BWXT. Without their support and the commitment to our community by our local businesses, we would not appear in these rankings. We’re extremely proud of our community’s accomplishments.”

Though Kester noted that SOPA actually had nine projects in the last year, he explained that Site Selection only selected six of them as meeting their criteria. Kester was not aware of which six were chosen, or why.

“It’s totally random,” Kester told The Tribune.

The City of Portsmouth also commended Kester and SOPA on the recognition of their efforts in promoting economic development in the area.

“The leadership exhibited by the port authority staff and the collaborative partnership of the various local governmental bodies has made this ranking possible,” added Portsmouth City Manager Derek Allen

“Being recognized in this way shows that our local/regional economic development model works,” explained Bryan Davis, chairman of the Scioto County Commissioners. “Through collaboration with the Southern Ohio Port Authority, our local workforce development organizations, and our local, regional, state and national economic development and government officials, our area has made great strides in attracting business in a relatively short period of time. We want the world to know southern Ohio is open for business!”

In addition to placing high in the traditional rankings, Ohio’s 515 projects gave it a third-place finish in the per capita race, behind Nebraska and Texas.

Site Selection magazine has awarded the Governor’s Cup annually since 1988. Rankings are based on new and expanded corporate facilities as tracked by the proprietary Conway Projects Database.

SOPA’s nine projects in 2016 included the Altivia Chemicals project in Haverhill, which retained 75 jobs, a Columbia Gas Regional Headquarters project, which retained 26 jobs, the expansion of facilities for Wiseman Brothers, which created 12 new jobs and retained eight, the expansion of a Big Sandy Distribution center, which retained 160 jobs and created 10 new jobs, an expansion for Appalachian Wood Floors that created 20 new jobs, dock and rail improvements for Altivia that created 28 new jobs and retained another six, a Mako expansion that created five new jobs and retained another five, a Yost Engineering investment that created 27 new jobs and retained 14, and an expansion at Taylor Lumber to add a new hardwood floor line, creating 31 new jobs while retaining 172.