Let’s welcome the new year

By the time you are settling in to read this, the new year will have started.

Like every year, 2018 brings with it a sense of hope, a feeling that the future ahead of us is at least a little brighter than the past that is behind us.

Look for good things to happen across our region in the coming year. The Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, under the direction of Executive Director Pat Ford, expects to see continued growth in the region in the coming year at sites in many places in Hancock and Brooke counties.

Some of that growth will come because of the decision of Pietro Fiorentini to locate its first permanent manufacturing facility in the United States in Weirton.

The project in the Three Springs Business Park represents a $9 million investment by the Italian manufacturer of pressure regulators and valves, as well as pressure reducing and metering systems for use in the natural gas industry.

Meanwhile, the Jefferson County Port Authority, led by Executive Director Evan Scurti, is continuing to work at attracting new companies to the Ohio side of the Ohio River.

Expect new businesses to continue to appear throughout the region, as the area continues to move beyond the steel industry and land is repurposed — an example of which is the new Pilot-Flying J complex that has opened on property that once served as the entrance to the Steubenville facility of the Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp.

We’ll also notice political change, especially in Steubenville, where Jerry Barilla has become the new mayor, replacing Domenick Mucci, who held the post for the past 25 years.

And, the anticipation is that the Nutcracker Village and Advent Market will be even larger when it returns in November, and will help to attract even more thousands to Steubenville.

Our crystal ball has been dysfunctional in the past, which means we won’t make any more predictions about what the year will bring. That said, we are confident there will be twists and turns that residents of our region will be discussing for a long time.

Everything points to 2018 as being an interesting year.

We hope it’s a good one for all of us.