Leaders say 2019 poised to be positive growth year in Lawrence County
SOUTH POINT, Ohio - The Lawrence Economic Development Corp. has seen its assets grow from $20 million to more than $60 million over the past decade, according to a report from the agency’s annual meeting Friday.
The agency is overseeing development of The Point, a South Point industrial park, and the redevelopment of the former Dow Chemical plant off County Road 1A west of Hanging Rock.
Based on a recap of 2018, the agency had $61,424,524 in assets, $12,075,690 in liabilities and an equity of nearly $50 million.
“Things are really happening,” Bill Dingus, executive director of the agency and the Greater Lawrence County Area Chamber of Commerce, said Friday. “The county is doing well. This is a great year forthcoming.”
“Lawrence County is only one of three counties in Ohio where the poverty rate went down” last year, Dingus said. While the unemployment rate was nearing 5.3 percent, the average income of county residents is nearing $50,000, he said.
This year will be a year devoted to developing five- and 10-year-long plans, he said.
“We will move into a year of real intense planning,” Dingus said. “You have to plan ahead. We have to lay out a plan for the next decade.”
The board also heard reports that construction on a new Marriott hotel in Ironton is scheduled to start in April, work is continuing on redevelopment of the Brumberg building in downtown Ironton, development of a new strip mall near the chamber offices on Collins Street is continuing and Bellacino’s in the mall is set to open in February.
The agency also is planning to build a new spec building in the industrial park and, with state help, another in Ironton, according to Jeremy Clay, director of The Point.
Lawrence County also is in the best position politically it has been in in some time, he said. One answer is to seek to have all of the county in one state representative seat.
County Auditor Jason Stephens, chairman of the county’s Republican Executive Committee, agreed. The 2020 census will lead to redistricting in Ohio in 2022, he said. Lawrence County has been split in two different state representative seats and two separate state Senate districts since 1992, he said.
“The last time we had a state representative was 1994,” Stephens said.