STEUBENVILLE - With all the interest development prospects are showing the Jefferson County Industrial Park, members of the Community Improvement Corp. say getting a second access road done has to be a priority.
"The second road needs to get done," Progress Alliance Executive Director Ed Looman told members at Tuesday's meeting. Progress Alliance is in charge of marketing the industrial park.
"We've got 26.5 acres (there) that we can develop. We have several prospects interested," he said.
PLANS DISCUSSED? — Community Improvement Corp. board member Jim Emmerling, center, discussed the group’s new marketing plan during Tuesday’s meeting held at the YMCA Wellness Center at St. John Arena. The CIC signed off on a new campaign touting Jefferson County’s appeal to oil and gas-related companies, as well as testimonials from existing businesses. - Linda Harris
Looman has said several oil and gas-related companies have expressed interest in locating in the park and have even considered building the road themselves.
The price tag for the second access road could easily be in the million dollar range, however.
"(And) we're getting close to running out of room," Looman added. "We'll probably need to look at creating another (industrial park) in the not-too-distant future."
Looman said they also need to find a way to get high-speed Internet to the industrial park, which would help existing businesses while boosting the industrial park's appeal to potential prospects.
"There's a lot of interest to the point where we have needs," he added, reminding members that, "four years ago, literally, we couldn't give (spots) away."
Last week, bids were opened for construction of a building expected to house Riley Petroleum's new headquarters. Looman and county Commissioners Tom Gentile and Tom Graham pointed out there is nothing speculative about the project.
"We have a prospective tenant," Looman added. "We're not just building something with no tenant in mind."
In other matters, the CIC accepted the resignation of Ed Florak as treasurer and member of the board.
Florak recently was appointed to the fledgling Jefferson County Port Authority and said he was tendering his resignation to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest. Replacing him as treasurer is past-president Ken Perkins; filling the open spot on the CIC board will be Dave D'Anniballe.
Members also signed off on a 3 percent pay raise for the Progress Alliance staff as well as a new marketing campaign
YMCA Wellness Center Executive Director Rob O'Hara, host of Tuesday's meeting, said they've marked the two-year anniversary of the facility in Jefferson County, telling the group that operations have grown significantly in that time. He said they currently have about 5,000 members, adding that new, Olympic-style flooring in the main gymnasium has opened up new, family-oriented programming opportunities.
"There's a huge change in the dynamics of the facility," he added, crediting their collaboration with Trinity Health System and a "shared vision of community wellness" with driving the project.
Trinity President and CEO Fred Brower, meanwhile, told CIC members the hospital was "very happy to be one of the local sponsors bringing the East Liverpool YMCA" to Steubenville, saying its success is the result of "significant effort by a lot of people."
Brower also said the recent acquisition of Twin City Hospital in Dennison by Sylvania Franciscan Health is an opportunity to "expand our footprint" in Eastern Ohio. Trinity Health System also is part of Sylvania Franciscan Health.
The new Trinity Hospital Twin City is a not-for-profit 25-bed, critical access hospital offering a full range of acute care services. It's equipped with state-of-the-art health care technology to meet patient needs and, with a staff of 210, hospital officials already have begun restoring services that had been cut in 2010 when the hospital's finances were slipping.
Sylvania Franciscan was able to acquire the bankrupt hospital for $4.85 million.
Brower said the Sylvania Franciscan network "could become larger and larger, with facilities in outlying areas" over the next year or two.
He also applauded the success of Trinity's Urgent Care facility in Wintersville and said an 8,000-square-foot office complex is being developed near the Kmart Plaza. Several physicians will be relocating their offices to the new building, he said, making it "more convenient for the community to access and utilize" their services.