ATHENS, Ohio — JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) and the Athens County Port Authority has announced in a joint press release that site development at the Bill Theisen Industrial Park in Athens County will be supported with a $2.9 million JobsOhio Grant.
The grant will support site preparation for building construction by business occupants. Work will include site grading, upgrades to gas, water and sewer lines, environmental and surface water mitigation and geotechnical construction to address soil conditions.
Officials said the Port Authority intends to develop two speculative buildings on the site to attract and house local expanding companies and new employers to the county.
“This assistance is the result of several years of collaboration with our partners in Southeast Ohio,” J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO, said in the release. “Site development at Bill Theisen Industrial Park will provide a destination in Athens County for job creators looking to invest quickly and with confidence.”
Nauseef said funding to improve these sites was made available through the JobsOhio/OhioSE Site Initiative, a program that started in 2018 with a goal to assist distressed southern Ohio counties by creating competitive sites capable of winning new business investments.
The sites in the program were selected with the assistance of a group of southern Ohio CEOs who advised JobsOhio and OhioSE, Nauseef added.
“Our region needs ready sites and buildings to be competitive in economic development,” OhioSE president Mike Jacoby said in the release. “Our team was very pleased to assist the Athens County Port Authority access these funds from JobsOhio. This grant should help the port foster additional job creation in Athens County. I applaud JobsOhio for recognizing the special challenges in our region and allocating funds to help us.”
The Athens County Port Authority and Athens County Economic Development Council have been working to redevelop this brownfield property for more that 10 years, according to Sara Marrs-Maxfield, executive director of the Athens County EDC and Athens County Port Authority.
“There have been many great partners in this effort including the U.S. EPA, Ohio DSA and local authorities,” Marrs-Maxfield said. “OhioSE and JobsOhio have recognized our commitment to redeveloping this site for the advancement of our goals of quality jobs and economic progress through diversification of our regional economy. JobsOhio’s significant commitment to southeast Ohio is reflected in this huge investment that will attract the needed additional capital to bring this project over the finish line. We are so thankful and excited to continue our longstanding partnership with JobsOhio and OhioSE.”
The industrial park on Poston Station Road is owned by the Port Authority and is the former location of a Columbus & Southern Ohio Electric coal fired power plant. The power plant was closed and removed and the property sold to the Port Authority in 1993 for use in economic development.
The industrial park is currently occupied by Global Cooling, QuickLoadz, Le-Ax Water and the Athens-Hocking Recycling Center. With the planned site preparation and the completed due diligence studies the site will be totally ready for the development of buildings in 2021.
Several other sites in southern Ohio are wrapping up due diligence reviews through this initiative, according to the release.
“These due diligence reviews include a title review, environmental assessment, wetlands delineations, threatened and endangered species study, cultural resources report, geotechnical report, utility assessment, grading plan, and engineer’s development cost estimate,” the release said. “Other sites in the program are currently under review and additional awards may be coming in the future for the strongest sites.”