With an appropriation of $2 million expected through Congressman Bill Johnson’s office, members of the Port Authority’s board of directors took it upon themselves to provide a recommendation for the development of the site.
The 45-acre parcel in the western part of the DO Hall business center is owned by the Community Industrial Association (CIA), which will have the final decision on how to develop the site into one large or several smaller yards.
The grants, however, will flow through the Port Authority, which will partner with the CIA to accomplish the creation of one or more ready-made building blocks.
Small plots would be less expensive because they would eliminate the need to disturb a creek and wetlands that impact the 45 acres. However, with JobsOhio tracks often exceeding 50 acres or more, a large 45-acre building lot might be the best bet.
However, this comes with an additional cost of around $750,000 to mitigate the impact of the flow. The total cost of these site improvements will approach $4 million, so additional federal funds are essential.
Port Authority Director Norm Blanchard credited Dr. Glenda Bumgarner, President of the Appalachian Partnership, for presenting Guernsey County as the ideal site in the Appalachian region to promote the posting. In addition, Hannah Stillions, community development specialist at OMEGA, worked with the Port Authority to develop the application documents needed to access the various sources of funding.
The council explored options for the possible use of brownfields revitalization money, which has been made available to each county to clean up environmentally affected areas.
The deadline for applying for funding has been extended to May 30. A $1 million grant was given to each county. Sites are being evaluated for the expenses of these grant opportunities. Old gas stations, demolished construction areas or old landfills could be considered.
Spectrum provides the office with weekly updates on its progress in building fiber optic cables to the most remote areas of the county, although parts of Guernsey are still without high-speed fiber internet.
Area coverage is determined in part by customer demand, which exists in a specific area.
The Port Authority’s bond attorney is continuing efforts to work with the Ohio Bridge Bank subsidiary to determine the best options for financing the company’s expansion plan.
Ohio Bridge is working on an ambitious development plan, which will allow the company to have a more efficient production operation and remain competitive in the bridge construction industry.
The family business has a long history in Cambridge, and expanding its production capabilities will ensure an ever brighter future.
Finally, board treasurer Ed Wright said all but one of the loans issued through the Port Authority’s revolving loan fund are ongoing. The fund offers low-cost loans to start-up or expanding small businesses.
Currently, nine active loans have created nearly 20 local jobs. Inquiries about loan opportunities can be made by contacting the Port Authority office at 740-432-1881.