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Editorial: Lawrence industrial park continues growth pattern

Feb. 01, 2013 @ 11:55 PM

At its peak years ago, the Allied Chemical plant near South Point, Ohio, employed about 1,400 workers, and the nearby South Point Ethanol had about 400.

As those plants shut down in the 1990s, it appeared those 2,000 jobs might never be replaced.

But over the past 10 years, development efforts on the site of those old plants have been steadily chipping away at the deficit.

This summer officials at The Point Industrial Park hope to see employment there top 500 workers.

Currently there are more than 350 people working at the 500-acre park, members of the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation were told earlier this week. A building that is under construction for an undisclosed tenant is expected to bring 112 jobs in April, and Intermountain Electronics plans 35 new jobs this spring. Officials are also hopeful that another 65-job project might be announced soon.

That success did not come without some setbacks. Chatham Steel, which opened at The Point last year, announced recently that it would close because of a downturn in the mining business, putting 18 to 20 people out of work this month.

But the net gain remains impressive and encouraging.

The redevelopment of The Point began in earnest in 2004, and today there are nine different employers on the site with more new projects under way, including operations to transfer materials from truck to rail and also to Ohio River barges.

That growth potential is good news for Lawrence County and the Tri-State as a region.

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