Authority moving forward on sale of property

STEUBENVILLE – The Jefferson County Port Authority’s board of directors agreed Tuesday to allow the two staff members to proceed with negotiations with an oil and gas-related company interested in buying property in the county’s industrial park.

“We hope to reach an agreement with this company on a letter of intent to present to the Jefferson County commissioners this month. This company will be a nice addition to the industrial park and will mean the creation of new jobs,” explained port authority Chairman Jay Zatta.

Zatta said the port authority is handling the property sale negotiations in the same way the Community Improvement Corp. used to negotiate for property sales in the industrial park.

“Once we have a letter of intent, we will approach the county commissioners and ask for final approval,” Zatta explained.

The authority met in executive session for approximately 50 minutes Tuesday morning with county Commissioner David Maple, who later said the unidentified company, “is very excited about coming to our county.”

“The company is a well-recognized company in the oil and gas industry and is a major player in their piece of the industry. We anticipate at least 50 new jobs will be created by the company,” Maple said.

Maple said he is hoping for an announcement within the next two to three weeks.

The authority’s directors also learned smaller support businesses are expressing an interest in Jefferson County.

Kim Cline-DeLuca said she has been talking to, “two possible hotels and a fitness center interested in the area.”

“The hotel representatives have said they believe there is a market here with the oil and gas industry and also cited the Franciscan University of Steubenville also creates a demand for hotel rooms,” Cline-DeLuca said.

“We are also working with five local companies who have plans for expansion. And, we have had two pipeline companies contact us looking for space in the county. The nice thing about those companies is after they are finished they will restore the property to its original condition or even better shape,” Cline-DeLuca explained.

Cline-DeLuca also said Spectra Energy, a pipeline company, has opened offices at the Gem City Plaza in Toronto.

“They are buying supplies from local vendors and plan to hire employees for the installation of the gas and oil industry pipeline. Spectra Energy is planning a public forum about their project Tuesday at Eastern Gateway Community College,” Cline-DeLuca added.

Cline-DeLuca and Donna Hrezo said they have the new port authorities offices now set up and running at the Jefferson County Airpark facility.

“That is very good to hear. We are moving forward getting at the real essence of what we are supposed to be doing,” noted Zatta.

In other business Board member Mark Teramana reported a meeting with the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission, “went very well.”

“We hope to get some good leads for future projects from the members of the regional planning commission,” said Teramana.

Board member Debbie Venci said she is preparing a letter seeking financial support to be sent to all former Progress Alliance supporters, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce members and Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission members.

“We are now at the point where we can solicit funds with confidence. We will also hold an open house at our offices here in the near future. This is a chance to put our best foot forward,” said Zatta.

The board also discussed the establishment of an industrial park committee.

“The committee will review new development plans as well as maintenance and improvement issues in the park,” said Hrezo.

The directors met in executive session for seven minutes to discuss personnel.