Harrison works to improved roads, create jobs

CADIZ – A collaboration to upgrade county Road 10 in Harrison County will result in improved infrastructure and job creation.

Jason Wilson, director of the Governor’s Office of Appalachia, along with Lloyd MacAdam, district deputy director of the Ohio Department of Transportation, met with Robert Sterling, Harrison County engineer, and the Harrison County commissioners on Wednesday to recognize the project’s completion and the success of the partnership.

“Upgrading county Road 10 has increased access for a local business and will create jobs. This project would not have been possible without the partnership among the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association, the county and our office. It is a great example of what can happen when we work together toward a common goal,” said Wilson.

“How do we create public-private partnerships, how do we say look, if the public can’t do it and the private can’t do it, maybe we (can) work together on how can we do it.” Wilson addressed the board. “Today is one of those days, a perfect example of how things work.”

“How do we make it safe, how do we make it affordable, how do we make it work so we can create these jobs,” Wilson continued.

“We have 45 people working, potential for more people working,” Wilson stated. “Every time we dig a shovel full of coal out of the ground there is a few dollars that get left here in the county. Every time one of those trucks moves it needs maintenance, it needs fuel, and every time they move, somebody is in it, they need lunch or dinner or something.

“But these are the ways we build an economy. This is how we build Harrison County – we do it one job at a time, one opportunity as a time,” he said.

Wilson presented a symbolic check for $107,000, representing a grant from the State Appalachian Development Program.

“Partnering with communities to meet the transportation needs of growing businesses is extremely important to ODOT,” said MacAdam.

“This project would not be a reality if it were not for Rob’s (Sterling) vision,” MacAdam said as he presented a check for $175,000 from ODOT. The funds, in addition to a $175,000 Roadway 629 grant, funded the project.

“Improvements to county Road 10 allow Rosebud Mining Co. to safely transport coal from the new Vail Mine to the preparation plant in Tuscarawas County over a safe transportation route,” MacAdam said. “From that coal washing facility it will be loaded on trains right there in Dennison. So this is putting people to work not only in Harrison County but all over the state of Ohio.”

The State Appalachian Development Grants are designated for projects that will increase job opportunities for residents in the Appalachian region as well as improve the community infrastructure to encourage economic development activities.

MacAdam also related his office is receiving calls from Harrison County talking about the mud on the roads.

“I think it is a good thing because mud on the roads means progress. Things are happening. Harrison County is right in the heart of the shale play,” MacAdam stated.

“This project is a classic example of the success that is possible when we work together to utilize grant programs to facilitate true economic development and job creation,” said Greg DiDonato, executive director of the Ohio Mid-Eastern Governments Association.

DiDonato was involved in the East Ohio Panhandle Rail Line Anti-Privatization Project, which saved the rail line that now transports the coal from the Vail mine. He will be working with Wilson on the next phase of the transportation upgrade for the county.

The project coordinates with Genesee & Wyoming Inc. announcement that its wholly owned subsidiary, the Columbus & Ohio River Rail Road Co., has signed a long-term agreement to haul natural gas liquids from a new fractionation hub in Harrison County. The rail agreement was signed with Utica East Ohio Midstream.

Utica East Midstream is building a fractionation plant to separate natural gas liquids in Scio. The railroad will construct a new 1-mile rail siding and rehabilitate a 3-mile storage track. Plans call for shipping 10,000 carloads of natural gas liquids.

In other business:

Scott Blackburn, director of the county Job and Family Services, notified commissioners the county received an additional $4,400 in funds from the National Emergency Grant. He said 20 employees are working under the grant funding.