The primary goal of economic development is to improve the fiscal well-being and quality of life for the community by creating and retaining jobs as well as supporting or growing incomes. Gallia County’s economic development role has been to help businesses succeed in Gallia County, either by expanding, relocating, or starting up, and by being there to provide assistance. In an effort to ease the difficult nature of finding businesses, the state has formed a certification program.
SiteOhio is a program offered by JobsOhio to assist companies in finding the best location in Ohio. As a site authentification program, SiteOhio goes far beyond the normal certification process, putting properties through a comprehensive review. This certification program was formed to help communities minimize risk to be competitive in the site selection process. These efforts hope to drive job creation and new Ohio investments.
Ohio’s Electric Cooperative (OEC), Buckeye Rural’s statewide trade organization, created a grant program to help local communities served by electric cooperatives to reduce some of the unknown factors of their economic development sites. In addition to the electric infrastructure, engineering, and expansion investments from local cooperatives, OEC, in cooperation with Buckeye Rural, has been able to provide $15,000 grants to sites throughout the state. In 2016, a $15,000 grant was provided to Jackson County Economic Development for the Wellston Industrial Park, allowing them to complete their required studies to market their site. This year, one of those sites chosen to receive funding is the Dan Evans Industrial Park in Gallia County.
The Dan Evans Industrial Park – Phase II Site is made up of 77 acres, located one mine north of U.S. 35 and the SR 850 interchange, between Rio Grande and Gallipolis. Gallia County has submitted this site for consideration to the 2017 JobsOhio Site Program with the goal of becoming a certified site for the state of Ohio. Owned by the Gallia County Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), the property is served by Buckeye Rural. The Gallia County Economic Development Office, guided by Director Melissa Clark, is working toward increasing the site’s readiness for development to attract industrial progress and jobs to the county.
With this grant, they will be able to ensure that the site, no matter the outcome of the JobsOhio decision, will be prepped for prospective growth. The site requires several tasks to be completed in order to improve its competitiveness and preparedness for development. The OEC grant funding will allow for the Phase I archaeological review, geotechnical study, threatened and endangered species review, and the wetlands studies. All said studies must be completed prior to certification.
The CIC also purchased 190 acres of undeveloped land in 2015 along U.S. Route 35 within one mile of the Dan Evans Industrial Park (also in Buckeye Rural’s service territory). These sites in Gallia County have great potential to bring economic growth to the area and will continue to build on the path of investing for the future.
Director Clark stated, “We welcome any opportunity to work with Buckeye Rural Electric toward achieving our economic devleopment priorities and securing new investment and jobs in Gallia County.”
Article featured in Ohio Cooperative Living magazine, September 2017 edition.