PDT Staff Writer
Local developer Jeff Albrecht says the announcement that Ohio Governor John Kasich has designated the Norfolk Southern property at Franklin Furnace as the No. 1 potential marketable site along the Ohio River comes and no surprise to him.
“The last time we met with the governor, we discussed that site down there, and it’s on the state’s website now,” Albrecht said. “It finally was put on the state website just last week. There was a lot of information required before it could even go up, and we just finally got all of that together. I think it’s a great opportunity for our area.”
Albrecht said there is a real enthusiasm for that property coming out of the Governor’s office.
“He’s (Kasich) real excited about our area,” Albrecht said. “Between the river and the two railroads - you’ve got the C&O on one side of the river, Norfolk Southern on our side of the river - He’s just real excited about this area, thinks it’s a great opportunity to find something to come here. I think it’s great news.”
That property has been the center of attention for another potential industry over the last several years, and Albrecht is quick to add, those plans are still potentially able to come to fruition.
“That doesn’t mean that New Steel is dead,” Albrecht said. “We’re still working on that and there’s other opportunities for New Steel, or, if the deal from New Steel comes through before the governor would get something concrete, then that would come first.”
In recent months the area has been exploring industrial possibilities based on the area’s intermodal strengths. In August of 2012, Shawnee State University hosted an Intermodal Conference which produced a plan to map sites for potential growth.
“Through this plan we want to make sure we are following up with some of the actions we had at the conference,” then Assistant to the President of SSU, now, Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, John Carey said. “One of the action items was meeting with the commissioners and the mayor about mapping industrial sites throughout the region.”
“We have available land, railroads, docks, good access right on the river, it’s really perfect,” Albrecht said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.