Looking back and looking forward

When you sit down and read the first installment of this year’s Progress Edition, you’ll come across some interesting comments about how our Tri-State Area is poised for continued economic growth.

The words are offered by Marvin Six, the interim director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, and Evan Scurti, the incentives manager of the Jefferson County Port Authority, and they speak volumes about the strategic spot our portion of the Tri-State Area holds in the oil and gas industry.

“Brooke and Hancock counties are positioned in such a way that site developers see this as a market for their clients,” Six said.

“We’re at the center of future site selection processes,” Scurti added.

At the heart of the conversation are two ethane cracker plants — the facility Royal Dutch Shell is building just north of here in Monaca, and the proposed facility that PTT/Daelim is expected to officially announce later this year for Dilles Bottom, just south of here.

Steubenville and Weirton sit almost halfway between the sites, which development specialists agree puts our communities in an ideal spot for firms involved in businesses that are tied to the plants.

You’ll find an in-depth look at what that means for the region in the first installment of Progress 2020: Pride. Purpose. Prosperity, which will be included in Sunday’s edition.

This year’s annual comprehensive examination of the Tri-State Area will be delivered in five installments. Sunday’s edition will focus on energy and the economic outlook. On Feb. 9, the focus will shift to community, retail and financial services. Feb. 16 features an examination of tourism and lifestyles and Feb. 23 will include a look at health care and education. The month concludes on Feb. 28, with a look at business, industry and transportation.

You’ll also find profiles of the family-owned businesses that make our communities strong and provide goods and services with a local touch.

There’s reason for optimism about the future, as you will find by reading the stories in any one of the five sections. But when you look at the complete work, you’ll have an even clearer picture that our region remains a strong, vibrant place in which to live, work, do business and raise families.

The stories carry a positive message, one that speaks well about the future and one we are happy to share.