STEUBENVILLE - If site location specialists view Brooke, Hancock and Jefferson counties as a single urban area, local development groups figure there's no reason they shouldn't do the same.
"We need to look at the Ohio River as an asset rather than a barrier between two states," Jefferson County Regional Planning Director Domenick Mucci Jr. said at Tuesday's Progress Alliance partners meeting.
Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, and BDC Chairman Bill D'Alesio, at the meeting at the invitation of Progress Alliance Executive Director Ed Looman, minutes earlier had pointed out what's important to Jefferson County residents is going to be just as important to people on the West Virginia side of the river.
COOPERATION — Jefferson County Metropolitan Planning Commission Director and Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci Jr., standing, discussed cooperative efforts within his organization as well as regionally at Tuesday’s Progress Alliance partners meeting. Participating in the discussion were, seated from left, BDC Chairman Bill D’Alesio; and Pat Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle.
-- Linda Harris
"We're all trying to make our valley vital for our children and grandchildren," D'Alesio said.
"We're doing all we can do to bring everything back, and the cooperation we have between the two states is so important.
"We don't think there's a difference between Ohio and West Virginia, we're all (in this) together. We're all trying to make things (better)."
Ford pointed out that outsiders more often than not lump the Tri-State Area together in development conversations.
"Communication is critical," he said. "Transparency between the two of us and our organizations is critical. At the end of the day, anything that happens over here is going to benefit us on that side of river. We would rather have them building and bringing their business in the Ohio River valley as opposed to going to the Carolinas or the Southwest or South America. We would like to continue working on these opportunities, and we've talked about funding opportunities for some multi-jurisdictional marketing opportunities that might occur in the future."
Mucci, who hosted Tuesday's meeting, also pointed out the efforts that have been made over the last four years within Jefferson Regional Planning Commission to "build a consensus for regional growth" between its member cities, townships and villages.
"Regional planning (deserves credit for) what they do for economic development, cleaning up sites and helping businesses," said Jefferson County Commissioner Thomas Graham. "Also, look at what they did for the residents of Pottery Addition, for instance. They were able to save a lot of people a lot of money. Low- to moderate-income families just couldn't afford" tap-in fees.
"Mucci saved them a lot of money," he said. "It's an example of government at its best, I think."
(Harris can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)