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The Point could hit 500-job mark

Jan. 30, 2013 @ 12:32 AM

SOUTH POINT, Ohio — The number of jobs at The Point industrial park is expected to reach more than 500 by summer, an indication of the growth of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce.

Assets for the chamber and its economic development arm grew by about 20 percent in 2012 to $31 million, officials were told Tuesday morning during the semi-annual meeting of the development corporation in South Point.
When the chamber was formed 30 years ago, it had only a few thousand dollars and a dream for economic recovery in Lawrence County. Three decades later, the agency is on firm financial ground and continuing to grow, said Bill Dingus, executive director for the chamber and the development corporation.

There have been some missteps like Chatham Steel, a company which lasted about a year at its building in the industrial park before closing its doors because of a downturn in the mining business, putting some 18 to 20 people out of work this month.

“It gives us another building to market,” Dingus said. “We’ll work aggressively to fill that building.”

The development corporation already has had interest in the 55,600-square-foot building in the industrial park, he said. The building has a 10-ton and a 15-ton crane as well as 5,600 square feet of office space.

Another firm building at the industrial park is expected to bring 112 jobs to the park when it begins operations in April, said Jeremy Clay, director of the industrial park. Two other firms could bring in  100 more jobs, he said.

One of those firms, Intermountain Electronics, is expected to bring 35 jobs to a 60,000-square-foot building early this year, he said.

Work on establishing a sheet-pile dock to transfer materials to and from Ohio River barges is under way, a $4.25 million, nine-month construction project, Clay said.

“We’ve completed the transfer to allow for the transfer of materials to and from railroad cars,” he said.

The park also has developed a foreign trade zone, he said.

 “We’re trying to look ahead and work regionally,” Dingus said.

Currently between 350 and 400 people work at employers in the industrial park, he said.

“We want to be Ohio’s Southern port,” Clay said.

Meanwhile, the chamber could name a replacement for Bob Smith as chamber director at its meeting Friday, said Ted Edwards, chamber president.

Several dozen people attended the meeting Tuesday morning at the chamber offices in South Point.

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